Portfolio Advice

Some courses require you to submit a portfolio with your application. Here's what you need to know.

What is a digital portfolio?

A digital portfolio is a digital file containing a collection of your creative work, that you have photographed, scanned or created digitally.  

We ask for your digital portfolio as a PDF document with a file size no bigger than 99MB.  You can easily download and save powerpoints, slideshows and other documents as a PDF. Further guidance is available on the Adobe website.

If you wish to include video or animation – these can be either embedded into the PDF or viewed via a HTML link included in the PDF (if these files are large consider uploading the videos or animations to a publicly accessible site such as YouTube).

How many pieces should your portfolio contain?

We expect portfolios to be around 15 to 20 pages/images of creative work. You don't need to include all of your work; part of the portfolio process is the ability to edit. Remember you are not submitting everything you have done, but what you consider to be your strongest work that shows your future potential.

Should you include sketchbook work?

Yes - images (scans or photographs) of sketchbook pages, ideas sheets and samples should be included to show how your ideas developed from initial research into final pieces. 

What about three dimensional objects?

If you have three dimensional garments, sculptures, installations or other objects they should be displayed in your portfolio photographically.

What else should you include in a digital portfolio?

The content of your digital portfolio depends on the course you're applying for.

We're looking for a good range of work that demonstrates the subject area. Don't worry if you don't have projects in all of the areas described; choose and select your best work that represents you and what you are most proud of.

Further information and specific advice for each course is availble below.

Bath School of Art

Your portfolio should evidence a curiosity and energy for your intended undergraduate programme in the School of Art . This will demonstrate your emerging research interests, your most resolved outcomes and current works in progress. This might include examples of the following:

  • Sketchbooks
  • Research
  • Drawings
  • Paintings
  • Photographic Practice
  • Sculpture
  • Ceramics
  • Film/Animation
  • Graphic Design
  • Performance/Installation/Interactive
  • Textiles
  • Prints/Mixed Media/Collage
  • Digital/Virtual
  • Self-initiated work/other work

Please select your course below for specific advice around what staff will be looking for. For the Integrated Foundation Year in Art and Design (Year 0), please see the relevant guidance related to your chosen undergraduate programme.

BA (Hons) Creative Arts Practice

We like to see how your work is informed by thorough research. We are interested to know why you’ve made something, not just how.

Your supporting material should demonstrate a range of possible directions explored in the production of work. This should include the work of artists/designers that have informed your practice.

We're interested in your engagement with contemporary art/design and culture in general. What recent exhibitions have you attended? What are you currently reading? What are you interested in?

BA (Hons) Fine Art

As we consider your portfolio, we'll be looking for evidence of:

  • Editing. Remember quality over quantity!
  • A sense of who you are. We want to get an idea of your interests, not just see a college/school project.
  • Experiments. Remember it's not always the most complete or resolved work that tells the best story; often things that are being tested out or things that have failed say much more.
  • Details. Think about how you document a work; you might need more than one image. Including a detail might be important so we can see what it is made from.

BA (Hons) Photography

We want to see evidence of your engagement and interest in your work as a maker of photographic images and a critically reflective thinker. We'll look at supporting work to discover how you have resolved any problems you've encountered whilst making your images.

We'll look for examples of research into contemporary photographers and artists - this might be short excerpts from articles or essays, records of gallery visits or images of photographers' or artists' work that inspires you.

We want your portfolio to convey a sense of who you are - what are your wider interests? What are you passionate about?

BA (Hons) Fashion Photography

We're looking for a portfolio that demonstrates your passion for fashion photography. Provide a carefully edited selection of photographic work that best reflects your enthusiasms; this may include experiments and work in progress.

We are very interested in how you make photographic work, but equally keen to learn why you want to be a fashion photographer - what motivates you? This should be demonstrated in supporting research examples and may include reflections on gallery visits and sources of inspiration.

Bath School of Design

BA (Hons) Digital Animation

What should your portfolio contain? 

We're looking to understand who you are as a creator, so we want to see your creative process. It's useful to show examples of your preliminary work – sketch books, concept drawings (digital or hand rendered), prototypes and iterations – as well as your final outcomes and finished work. 

We're interested in seeing photography (colour or black and white), illustration, drawing, painting, typography, 3D work which has been photographed, animated gifs, video or animation.

What will staff be looking for in my portfolio?

We'll be looking for both finished and in-progress work that shows:

  • Drawings, sketchbooks, paintings and storyboards 
  • Works using software (still image, moving image, sound, 3D computer modelling) 
  • Animation and any film clips, as Quicktime files/mp4 or on YouTube/Vimeo
  • Include your planning and research or biogs/journals (links) 
  • Work from non art and design related subjects that might be useful or interesting to talk about and relevant to digital animation
  • Self-initiated work

BA (Hons) Fashion Design

What should your portfolio contain? 

We're looking for a well-presented collection of work that is imaginative and shows your creative process. Include pages that show an understanding of visual research and the design process (the development or ‘working out’ of your ideas), as well as your own individuality.

What will staff be looking for in my portfolio?

We'll be looking for both finished and in-progress work that shows:

  • Craft skills, such as drawing, working with materials, making, photography, composition
  • Artistic scope, for example - ideas, use of colour, form, shape, proportion, fabrication
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Development work - include scans of 3-4 pages from your sketchbooks, notebooks or other examples of development work to demonstrate your working methods and ideas 
  • Engagement with your chosen subject area of Fashion Design
  • Film - if you have any films that you want to include in your portfolio, please add a link
  • Contemporary fashion awareness should be evident throughout

We're looking for students who have flair and understanding of the creative process, and would like to see the progression of your initial ideas into a final design outcome. The process is just as important as the outcome.

Important note: 

If your current course does not have a focus on fashion outcomes, set yourself a mini project so we can see your ideas for fashion/clothes; alternatively you could use existing project work (art, textiles, photography) to respond to and develop into ideas for fashion in the form of sketched ideas for outfits/ garments.

BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design

What should your portfolio contain? 

We're looking to understand who you are as a designer and maker, so we want to see your creative process. Try to show your working process and your developing research interests and influences, including scans of your sketchbook pages, observational, technical drawings and CAD renders.

We're keen to see your engagement with making and how you think three-dimensionally. This may be from any 3D area such as ceramics, wood, product design, sculpture and mixed–media constructions. If you've done 3D models and sculptures, then including photos of these is a great idea.

We're also interested in seeing drawings, jewellery, photography, illustration, textiles, videos or animation.

What will staff be looking for in my portfolio?

We'll be looking for both finished and in-progress work that shows:

  • Three dimensional work. We're keen to see and hear about your engagement with making. This may be from any 3D area such as ceramics, wood, product design, sculpture, mixed–media constructions, constructed textiles, in the form of models, experimentation, prototypes and/or final pieces.
  • Creative ideas and design work in any area. These need not be three dimensional. For instance textiles, graphics, painting, photography print, colour work, CAD.
  • Sketch/ideas books. We are very interested in seeing how you approach a creative brief and in your creative process, as well as resolved and well presented outcomes.
  • Drawing and mark making in any media – we value both digital and analogue drawing.

Please organise your ideas carefully; sometimes showing us your best work first is better than putting it in chronological order.

BA (Hons) Graphic Communication

What should your portfolio contain? 

We're looking to understand who you are as a creator, so we want to see your creative process. Try to show your preliminary work – sketch books, concept drawings (digital or hand rendered), prototypes and iterations - as well as your final outcomes and finished work.

We're interested in seeing photography (colour or black and white), illustration, drawing, painting, typography, 3D work which has been photographed, animated gifs, video or animation.

What will staff be looking for in my portfolio?

We'll be looking for both finished and in-progress work that shows:

  • Drawing - examples of observed drawing in the studio and on location; together with examples of expressive drawing dealing with ideas and interpretation
  • Projects - evidence of project work in the area of creative problem solving and visual communication, together with your roughs and developmental work. A short summary of the brief would be helpful
  • Self-initiated work - exercises or projects you have undertaken for yourself out of personal interest or enthusiasm for a particular subject
  • Research - some examples of work should be accompanied by evidence of any research or investigation that you have undertaken in preparation for the project
  • Materials and media - we are interested to see how you have worked with particular media, for example; photography or printmaking. Your eligibility for the course however will not be disadvantaged if these facilities have not been available to you

BA (Hons) Interior Design

What should your portfolio contain?

We're looking to understand who you are as a designer. Typically, we would expect to see finished projects and work in progress that shows evidence of lively and engaging sketchbooks and working drawings that support the projects you are showing us. Try to show your working process and your developing research interests and influences, including scans of your sketchbook pages, observational drawings, illustrations and digital outputs. 

We're keen to see your engagement with making and how you think three-dimensionally. This may be from any 3D area such as ceramics, wood, product  design, sculpture, mixed–media constructions and constructed textiles. If you've done 3D models and sculptures, then including photos of these is a great idea. 

Depending on your current course structure your portfolio may contain work from other disciplines. We're also interested in seeing drawings, graphics, jewellery, photography, videos or animation.

What will staff be looking for in my portfolio?

We'll be looking for both finished and in-progress work that shows:

  • Drawing and mark making in any media – we value both digital and analogue drawing
  • Sketch/ideas books. We are very interested in seeing how you approach a creative brief, and in your creative process, as well as resolved and well presented outcomes
  • Creative ideas and design work in any area. These need not be Interior Design, for instance textiles, graphics, painting, photography print, colour work, CAD or photoshop
  • Three dimensional work. We are keen to see and hear about your engagement with making. This may be from any 3D area such as ceramics, wood, product design and in the form of models, experimentation, prototypes and/or final pieces

Please organise your ideas carefully, sometimes showing us your best work first is better than putting it in chronological order.

BA (Hons) Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors

What should your portfolio contain? 

Typically, we would expect to see finished projects and work in progress with evidence of lively and engaging sketchbooks and working drawings that support the projects you are showing us.

Try to show your working process and your developing research interests and influences, including scans of your sketchbook pages, observational drawing, painting, collage, evidence of pattern, colour work and consideration of possible design outcomes. If you've made textiles such as knit, embroidery, print, or 3D objects and large pieces, then including photos of these is a great idea.

Depending on your current course structure your portfolio may contain work from other disciplines. We're also interested in seeing drawings, ceramics, jewellery, photography, illustration, videos or animation. Don't worry if you haven't projects in all of these areas, choose and select your best work that represents you and what you are most proud of.

What will staff be looking for in my portfolio?

We'll be looking for both finished and in-progress work that shows:

  • Evidence of sketch and or ideas books
  • Drawings
  • Colour work
  • Painting
  • Any creative ideas, design work in any area
  • Your own photography
  • Self initiated projects

MA Design (all pathways)

What should your portfolio contain?

When looking at your portfolio we're looking to understand your creative process. Try to show your preliminary work – sketch books, concept drawings (digital or hand rendered), prototypes and iterations, as well as final outcomes and finished work. We are interested in seeing photography (colour or black and white), illustration, drawing, painting, typography, 3D work which has been photographed, animated gifs, video or animation.

We don’t expect to see works in all mediums, so choose and select the work that best represents you and what you are most interested in.

What will staff be looking for in my portfolio?

Include a good range of work that demonstrates the subject area. We'll be looking for both finished and work in progress that shows:

  • Drawing - examples of observed drawing in the studio and on location; together with examples of expressive drawing dealing with ideas and interpretation
  • Projects - evidence of project work in the area of creative problem solving and visual communication, together with your roughs and developmental work. A short summary of the brief would be helpful
  • Self-initiated work - exercises or projects you have undertaken for yourself out of personal interest or enthusiasm for a particular subject
  • Research - some examples of work should be accompanied by evidence of any research or investigation that you have undertaken in preparation for the project
  • Materials and media - we are interested to see how you have worked with particular media, for example; photography or printmaking. Your eligibility for the course however will not be disadvantaged if these facilities have not been available to you

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