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Importance of Portfolio for Admission in Design Courses

Subhashri Roy
Subhashri RoyUpdated On: July 14, 2022 05:51 pm IST

Almost every other design institute in India including the NIDs do a portfolio review to select applicants. Scroll through to learn the importance of portfolios for admission to various undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Portfolio in Design and its Importance in Admission

The importance of a creative portfolio cannot be stressed enough for admission to various design institutes. Design aspirants often look for answers to questions such as “What is the real role of a portfolio for admission to design courses?” or “How would a fresher create a portfolio?” or “Will your admission entirely depend on how creative your portfolio is?“ and so on.

Today, almost every other design institutes in India including the NIDs (National Institutes of Design), Symbiosis Institute of Design (SID), UPES, Dehradun, colleges accepting CEED score ask for a portfolio as a part of their selection process.

While it is all right to feel stuck and find it difficult to come up with out-of-the-box ways to stand out and make sure that you get through, a portfolio review has more to it than meets the eye. What an interviewer looks for in a portfolio is how much thought you have put in while creating it. Simply put, a portfolio should exhibit if you are able to think like a designer. In this article, CollegeDekho describes what a portfolio is, its importance, the list of colleges that do a portfolio review and lastly, a few tips to create a design portfolio.

What is a Portfolio?

A portfolio is nothing but a medium to advertise yourself. It is as much about showcasing your research skills, design approach, methodology and results as it is about the design itself. Your design portfolio opens a window for the jury to have a look at a collection of the best pieces of your work and judge your skills, experience and potential. 

What is the Importance of a Design Portfolio for Admission?

Your design portfolio will be reviewed by a panel of interviewers after you qualify for a design entrance test or a situation test or both. Let us try to understand all the possible angles to define the role and importance of a design portfolio. You may go through the pointers given below to get a clear idea of the same:

  • You will be asked to present a portfolio of your recent and best work not to showcase your drawing skills but to create an impact through the amount of research you have done.

  • Making a portfolio takes time and what the interviewers will further evaluate on the basis of that is the way you present the portfolio. Be it a digital or physical portfolio, few things that you must focus on are things such as typography, image quality and clear separation of content, etc.

  • With many students taking the same courses and applying for the same jobs, it is important to differentiate yourself from the others: Are you a great designer? The portfolio will paint a picture in interviewers' minds of your overall potential.

  • The uniqueness of your portfolio is the only way for you to stand out. Think outside the box and work on something that others might not be doing.

  • Whatever stream or specialisation you may have chosen, your portfolio should be able to show diversity through different types of media such as drawings, sketches, logos, photographs, creatives, etc. This will help the interviewers get an idea of your versatility.

  • As you work on your portfolio, make sure you put your thoughts into words. Here, the main goal is to give an idea of your decision-making approach or who you are as a designer.

  • A good portfolio will sum up your strengths and what kind of understanding you have of design, business communication, concept development and problem-solving.

  • If you are new to design, your portfolio may feel scattered but as you begin to build your portfolio, see to it that it clearly portrays your interests as a designer.

List of Design Institutes that Review Portfolio for Admission

Here is the list of a few colleges/ universities that conduct a portfolio review round to select candidates for admission to design courses.

A number of institutes that accept CEED score also conduct a round of portfolio review or portfolio representation. Some colleges may ask for a portfolio in the personal interview round. To take any admission-related assistance, feel free to reach out to our admission experts by either filling up the Common Application Form or by dialling the helpline number, 1800-572-9877 (toll-free).

Tips to Create a Portfolio for Admission

Some of the tips to create an attractive portfolio for admission to design programmes are given below:

  • Put in a lot of research to come up with designs that you are passionate about. Looking at samples will help you ideate but creating something unique is the key.

  • Focus on adding all the documents and requirements in the portfolio. Avoid going over the top and use as much creativity as you can.

  • Do not make it bulky because portfolio reviews are not about the volume of work but about the quality of work. Keep it neat and minimal.

  • Make sure that you include around 10-15 of your best work. You may include work that flaunts your awareness of various themes, colours and designs.

  • Try putting your best pieces at the beginning. It captivates the mind of the interviewers and has more chances of impressing them.

  • As mentioned above, include a diverse range of media. It is an added advantage if your portfolio projects your comfort with different tools, styles of design and approaches.

  • Take note of the size of the font, the layout and the loose structure of the portfolio. 

  • Many design schools may limit you and ask you to create a portfolio according to certain fixed criteria. All in all, a good portfolio for admission to design institutes is about thorough research, good presentation skills and the uniqueness of your art.

In case you have further queries regarding the selection process, portfolio review or design admissions in India, you may visit the QnA zone and post the same.

All the best and stay connected to CollegeDekho to get the latest updates on design admissions or to read more write-ups like this.


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Dear Student, 

As per NID Ahmedabad eligibility criteria, candidates have to apply for a BDes programme, you must have successfully completed Class 12 in any stream. Applicants must also have been born on or after July 1, 2002 (July 1, 1999 for SC/ST candidates). Selection is done on the basis of DAT Prelims (with a 40% weightage) plus DAT Mains (60 percent weightage).  

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Dear Student,  

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