Getting Your Portfolio Ready for Design/Art Schools Pt. 3

So, you want to submit a portfolio for Art/Architecture/Design school. Don’t freak out. It’s okay. If you like art and design it’s easy and fun to do. There is one thing you should remember though: even if a portfolio is not required, you should submit one. This portfolio is your chance to show this school your personality and the creativity that they would miss out on by not accepting you.

Summer after Junior Year

Get your portfolio stuff together.

You will need to prepare your work to be submitted. Here are tips for different ways you can submit your portfolio.

If you are submitting using Slideroom:

  • Photograph your work with good lighting and a minimal background.
  • Resize the photographs using photo-editing software to fit the exact dimensions of the slides and the correct dpi (dots per inch).
  • Give yourself plenty of time to upload. It is easy to make mistakes when rushing.

If you are submitting a binder:

  • Photograph your work with good lighting and a minimal background.
  • Resize the photographs using photo-editing software to fit the exact dimensions of your prints with a 300 dpi.
  • Skip home printing and work with some professionals. I highly recommend getting your portfolio printed at a FedEx Office or your local print shop (Side note: If you are in the Houston area, use the A&E Graphics Complex on Richmond Ave. They are super duper helpful and they have fresh cookies and sodas available to their customers. By fresh cookies, I mean they bake them there and the whole place smells like cookies.)
  • Give yourself plenty of time to print. You never know when the print shop will be busy, and they may not have time to work with you individually.
  • Put your prints in plastic sleeves to avoid punching holes in your prints.
  • Check every detail of your binder to make sure it is perfect and consistent.
  • Don’t use your abused World Geography, Lisa Frank binder from freshman year. Choose a new black or white binder with a plastic sleeve in front for a cover. The binder should be sized to fit your work and should have a spine that matches the thickness of your portfolio contents.
  • If the college does not specify a binder, I recommend getting your work bound with a black or white wire binding. A glossy or matte clear acetate cover with a black plastic back will also add some nice touches.

If you are submitting originals:

  • Follow the instructions that the college gives you very carefully in regards to size maximums and mailing requirements.
  • Keep in mind that submitting originals may cause them to be damaged or lost. If the school gives you the option of submitting reproductions or originals, submit reproductions.

Some things to remember:

This portfolio is not going to define your career. It will help you get into art/design school and it will be something that you laugh about later with your studio mates. Upon graduation, you will have a completely different portfolio and forget this one every existed. So, relax and have fun with it.

– Lara R.