Portfolio guidelines

Accessory design 


Portfolios should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the design process through conceptual research, technical sketches, renderings and boards. Applicants should present computer-aided design portfolio work. Applicants should show competency in the ability to design for 3-D products with special attention given to both internal and external components creating innovative, whole products. Work should be submitted in digital format.

Advertising

Portfolios should emphasize the applicant's ability to develop original advertising ideas, demonstrate the ability to carry a design through multiple pieces (campaign) and represent the applicant's proficiency with design software. Examples of work should show sensible use of composition, typography and coordination of words and images. Examples may be augmented by other relevant work that reflects the applicant's interests and abilities such as graphic design, photography and illustration.

Animation

Portfolios should demonstrate accomplished art and design skill, including life drawing and evidential understanding of composition, line, weight and balance. Portfolios should evidence effective use of software and tools to support aesthetic choices. Mature artistic or commercial direction should be evident in work that corresponds to the applicant's academic goals.

Architectural history

A university-level research paper with a minimum of 10 pages that demonstrates critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills. The paper should include illustrations, if appropriate.

Architecture

Portfolios should include examples of work completed in architectural and other creative studios, independently, or in a professional office. A brief description of design intent should be submitted with each project, clearly indicating when and in what studio the project was completed and the applicant's role. Portfolios should demonstrate creative abilities and development of a personal architectural and design language, application of concepts to architectonic solutions, and free-hand, analog and digital drawing and graphics abilities.

Art History

A university-level research paper with a minimum of 10 pages that demonstrates critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills. The paper should include illustrations, if appropriate.

Arts administration

Portfolio should include writing samples with at least one sample of university-level research writing of a minimum of 10 pages and may include professional writing demonstrating critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills. Other writing samples may include business documents, essays, grant proposals, promotional writing, press releases, planning documents and journalistic work. Students whose academic or professional background is in business or another field may choose to submit GMAT or GRE scores in lieu of a portfolio.

Cinema studies


Portfolios should include a university-level research paper or professional writing samples demonstrating critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills. Additional writing samples related to cinema studies also may be submitted for consideration.

Design management

Portfolios should include academic and/or professional projects that clearly present purpose, scope of work, research methodology and accomplishments. A strong portfolio will reveal confidence and experience in innovation, working with uncertainties and loosely defined problems, and show a high level of creativity through the discovery, re-contextualization and exploration processes. Accordingly, the portfolio should emphasize the importance of images demonstrating how the candidate defines and thinks through problems using sketches, plans, or diagrams in either formal documents or informal journal notes, In addition, project summaries such as business plans, proposals, project briefs or presentations would be considered suitable portfolio material. 

Students whose academic or professional background is in business or another field may choose to submit GMAT or GRE scores in lieu of a portfolio. Students admitted on the basis of test scores will be assigned graduate intensive course work during the admission review process. Students wishing to be exempted from assigned intensive course work may submit portfolio materials prior to enrollment to be considered for a waiver of those courses.

Design for sustainability

Portfolios should include academic and/or professional projects that clearly present purpose, scope of work, research methodology and accomplishments.  The portfolio should demonstrate the ability to define and process problems demonstrating conceptual thinking skills, reveal interest or experience in sustainability, and should demonstrate a high level of creativity, and attention to detail. It should consist of five to eight samples of work, including short narratives of design processes and project development, and may contain written material in addition to a strong visual or graphic elements.

Dramatic writing

Portfolios should include at least five individual writing samples, preferably screenplays or stage plays. Short stories and essays are acceptable. All narrative samples should demonstrate a basic understanding of dramatic structure. Work should be submitted in research paper/writing format.

Fashion


Portfolios should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the design process through mood boards, fashion illustrations, flats and sewn garments from two-three collections. Applicants should show competency in the use of various industrial machinery and sewing techniques, and should submit 2D documentation of full-scale patterns, drapes and original sewn garments. The portfolio should demonstrate a high level of technical and conceptual ability, as well as creative research, investigation, problem-solving and an awareness of material processes. Applicants also should demonstrate a well-developed personal and aesthetic/design direction in the ability to develop work around a theme or concept as evidenced by a series of related works.


Fibers

Portfolios should demonstrate a well-developed personal aesthetic vision and the ability to develop work around a theme or concept as evidenced by one or more series of related works accompanied by an artist/designer statement. A minimum of 20 pieces should be submitted. Applicants also are encouraged to submit a selection of sketchbook/process/research work.

Film and television


Portfolios should show knowledge of film and television media and exhibit advanced conceptual awareness and experimentation with the chosen medium.  Work should not exceed 10 minutes and a statement detailing the applicant's role in the production should be included.

Furniture design

Portfolios should include six to 10 distinct design projects and show competency in the full breadth of the design process, including research, inspiration or motivation that informed the work. Additionally, examples of visual creative thinking, informative sketching, 3-D visualization/problem-solving such as models, studies or mock ups, as well as digital visual communication, including technical drawing, modeling and presentation, should be included. Work may originate from a range of design disciplines and does not need to be limited to furniture design.

Graphic design

Portfolios should present graphic design as a problem-solving methodology.

  • Work Presented for consideration should rely less on visual craft and page decoration and more on how the aesthetic decisions/techniques employed apply to the intended concept.  Although this can be evidenced in the final outcomes, applicants may choose to submit design process strategies and/or a written narrative that addresses the context and the intended target audience of the designed outcome to aid the review committee.
  • Work presented for consideration must include typography executed across multiple pages and/or multiple media options under the same topic and/or aesthetic. Although single component projects are acceptable, they must not make up the bulk of the body of work presented for admittance.

  • Work presented for consideration must include typographic execution in large quantities. "Large quantities" may be defined as 500 words or greater (including headlines, subheads and body copy).

  • Typography samples must include words and letters used as an expressive tool aligned with the intended conceptual direction.
  • Work presented for consideration must include aesthetic execution of visual storytelling across multiple media outcomes. This can include but is not limited to print, mobile media, e-publications, responsive Web media, and alternative, guerilla-style media.

  • Work presented for consideration must demonstrate a high level of craft in all media. This includes related software execution and "comping" techniques. The method of documentation of the work presented for admittance will also be reviewed for craft, including but not limited to photographic documentation.
  • The applicant's portfolio must display a diverse use of media, including but not limited to print, Web, mobile and packaging solutions.

Historic preservation

Portfolios should include a research paper of 10-15 pages demonstrating critical and analytical thinking as well as advanced research and writing skills.  Preferably, the topic would relate to preservation, heritage conservation or history; however, other topics are acceptable. The portfolio should ideally include examples of work that communicate the applicant's artistic, graphic and digital abilities, such as photographs, sketches, perspectives, CAD and/or other technical drawings. Work should be submitted in research paper/writing format and digital format.

Illustration


A portfolio of 12-16 pieces must demonstrate a proficiency in a range of mediums. It must be composed of 6-8 finished pieces (full color and black-and-white), which demonstrate an interest in, and a commitment to, illustrative problem-solving; these finished pieces must reflect real industry assignments. In addition to the finished pieces, the portfolio must include 3-4 pieces of illustration process work (preliminary work, such as conceptual/formal studies, which resulted in the final work in the portfolio). The portfolio must include 3-4 drawings from life-drawing classes and/or direct observation, as well as work from a personal sketchbook or journal. Work should be submitted in digital format (PowerPoint, PDF or PS Web gallery preferred), preferably using SlideRoom.

Illustration design

The portfolio must be composed of a total 12-16 pieces. It must demonstrate an interest in, and a commitment to, illustrative and graphic design solutions for visual problems by way of 6-8 finished illustration/design solutions that respond to a range of industry assignments (full color and black-and-white); these pieces must demonstrate solid skills in Adobe Creative Suite Applications, especially Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. The portfolio must include 3-4 graphic design process samples (e.g., storyboard and/or preliminary work for graphic design finishes), and, in order to demonstrate good drawing and visualization skills, the portfolio must include 3-4 drawings from life drawing classes and/or direct observation. Work should be submitted in digital format (PowerPoint, PDF or PS Web gallery preferred), preferably using SlideRoom.

Industrial design

Portfolios should demonstrate your skill sets, problem-solving abilities and the design process through an array of media to include: research, sketching, CAD renderings and model making. Portfolios may include no more than three writing samples with at least one sample of scholarly writing. Work should be submitted in digital format and writings should follow academic paper format.

Interactive design and game development

Portfolios should demonstrate traditional art and design skills through figure drawings, conceptual illustrations and page layouts, interactive projects, 3-D modeling and/or digital games. A strong portfolio includes effective use of 2-D form and composition and an understanding of additive and subtractive color theory.    Applicants who intend to focus on interactive design should show interactive work, including interactive or physical computing installations, experience designs, websites, software and other user interface designs and showcase ability to apply typographic rules, layout and composition to Web applications. Applicants must show proficiency with Flash, Photoshop and Dreamweaver (or equivalent applications).

Applicants who intend to focus on game art and level design should include concept art, videos of playable game levels, 3-D rendered stills or video flythroughs of detailed environments. Work should show proficiency with Photoshop, Maya, 3DS Max and Mudbox or ZBrush. (Environments should be submitted as walk-through captures as QuickTime accompanied by rendered stills.)

Applicants who intend to focus on game design should show three to five original designs in digital or non-digital format including rule sets (if applicable), samples of design documentation, and supporting critical analysis. The portfolio should include design work samples that demonstrate ability to communicate rules to players, provide appropriate feedback, set a theme, apply effective mechanics to carry out the theme and create the desired level of strategy and player immersion.

Interior design

For applicants to the M.F.A. program, portfolios should include work from all phases of design: conceptual and process drawings, sketches, perspectives and technical drawings. Work should demonstrate proficiency in the technical requirements of interior design projects, including codes, interior building systems and construction, lighting, interior materials and sustainability as fundamental components of the interior built environment. In addition, portfolio work should show proficiency in graphic communication, hand and digital representation skills and techniques utilized within the advanced study of interior design. Drawings should include floor plans, elevations, sections, and lighting/power plans and perspective renderings.

Applicants to the M.A. program must submit a university-level research paper with a minimum of 10 pages. Topics should be contemporary, impacting the future of the interior design profession and demonstrate the applicant's critical thinking, analytical and writing skills.


Jewelry

All applicants must submit a portfolio of work consisting of a maximum of 20 images and a writing sample that addresses a contemporary issue in the field. A strong portfolio demonstrates conceptual ability, strong design methodology and confident handling of diverse materials and processes.

Luxury and fashion management


Portfolios should include a professional development plan. The portfolio should demonstrate the ability to define and process problems and to plan or diagram strategies as well as show a confidence in innovation and an emphasis on a high level of creative problem-solving. Project summaries such as business plans, proposals, project briefs or presentations may be included. The portfolio should include a visual component that demonstrates the applicant's understanding of the power of visual representation of a luxury brand and graphics in fashion. Work should be submitted in digital format or research paper/writing format, as applicable.

Motion media design

Portfolios should include at least three motion pieces, each 30 seconds to two minutes in length, as well as 5 to 10 examples of graphic/visual work accompanied by a concept statement. Portfolios should exhibit a strong understanding of visual problem- solving and process, including evidence and understanding of design, typographic motion and animation skills. In addition, portfolios should show knowledge and effective use of industry software and tools to support the aesthetic. Applicants should also submit a writing sample that addresses the role of motion media design in popular culture.

Painting

Portfolios should include 20 examples of work that demonstrate artistic maturity, as well as the capacity to develop an idea through a series of works. Applicants should include a related series of their most recent work that indicates their current artistic direction and demonstrates a committed studio practice.

Performing arts

Applicants should prepare two contrasting monologues or one monologue and one song (must provide sheet music for an in-person audition), four minutes total audition length. Submissions through Slideroom are acceptable. Headshots are accepted but not required.

Photography

Portfolios should include 20 images that demonstrate the applicant's capacity to develop an in-depth and consistent investigation into a particular subject matter with an outcome that shows artistic insight and continuity, as well as technical accomplishment. An image inventory sheet and short artist's statement should accompany the photographs.

Printmaking

Portfolios should demonstrate a mastery of basic printmaking techniques along with a developed body of work that is both conceptually and technically mature; the portfolio should exemplify thematic development, experimentation and sophistication. Work should be submitted in digital format.

Production design

Portfolios should exhibit an advanced understanding of visual problem-solving and process, including evidence and understanding of contextual research, perspective and orthographic sketching, manual or CAD proficiency, rendering in different media (including digital), and model-making principles; and may be augmented by additional work that represents interest and ability in visual and creative professions, with an emphasis on visual problem-solving. Portfolios may include no more than three writing samples. Work should be submitted in digital and research paper/writing format.

Sculpture

Portfolios should include 20 images demonstrate intellectual and artistic maturity, as well as the capacity to develop an idea through a series of works. Applicants are encouraged to include related work that indicates their current artistic direction.

Service design

Portfolios should demonstrate research and creative problem-solving skills applied, but not limited to, brands, services, products, processes, spaces, communications and/or user experiences. Showcase five professional and/or academic projects by providing a visual and verbal explanation of your role in the design process in terms of uncovered insights, framed problems, team-developed ideas and proposed solutions.

Students whose academic or professional background is in business or another field may choose to submit GMAT or GRE scores in lieu of a portfolio. Students admitted on the basis of test scores will be assigned graduate intensive course work during the admission review process. Students wishing to be exempted from assigned intensive course work may submit portfolio materials prior to enrollment to be considered for a waiver of those courses.

Sequential art

Portfolios should show a concentration in visual narrative through sequential art and should demonstrate exceptional skill in both visual and narrative composition, placement of figures within environments, storytelling and figure drawing. A strong personal direction should be evident in the portfolio and substantiated in the written statement of purpose. While digital or traditional coloring is not essential in every piece, the applicant should submit at least three images that demonstrate an ability to work with color. Work should be submitted in digital format.


Sound design

Portfolios should demonstrate ability in one or more of the following: sound design for visual media (film, video, computer animation or games), sound design for theater, production of music recording (but not composition,) or sound art compositions. If possible, film and game sound designers should include screen shots of their work sessions. Work should be submitted as short (two minutes or less) QuickTime files.


Themed entertainment design

Themed entertainment is a multidisciplinary field of study and a wide range of portfolio content will be considered. Portfolios may include writing samples, design work for props, special effects, costumes, scenic paint, lighting, scenic models, graphics, sculpture, storyboard illustrations, technical drawings, thematic and/or architectural renderings, industrial design prototypes, and any work from a field related to themed entertainment, and should exhibit an understanding of environmental storytelling and process.

Urban design

Portfolios should include examples of work in urban design, architecture and/or landscape architecture, but may include work samples from any art or design discipline. A strong portfolio includes projects that demonstrate clear design intentions, graphic accomplishment and sophisticated design inquiry. Work should be submitted in digital format.

Visual effects

Portfolios should include work that demonstrates familiarity with 3-D and 2-D image creation and manipulation techniques, fluency with software and resource collection appropriate to these techniques. Each piece submitted should incorporate before-and-after material. Work demonstrating programming skills should be accompanied by documentation explaining the nature and scope of the applicant's contribution. The portfolio may also include traditional media-drawing and painting, photography, sculpture and design-to indicate creative direction and aesthetic awareness.

Writing

Portfolios should include at least four individual pieces (10 to 30 pages) from a variety of nonfiction genres, such as personal essay, memoir, literary journalism, promotional writing, writing for the Web, business document, proposal or scholarly essay. Fiction is also accepted. Applicants should submit no more than two pieces from one genre.