Graphic Design Portfolio Course

The objective of the Graphic Design Portfolio Course is to provide students with a solid foundation in graphic design or to develop established skills. It is expected that the majority of students will use the course to apply to BA of MA courses by building an original and effective graphic design portfolio. This is not a computer software course but rather reflects the studio-based and idea generation nature of graphic design. It is highly international and sympathetic to the need of international students.

View photos of the latest course workshops and activities on Instagram.

GDPC Video by Sokfok Studio. Music Credits: The Third Option by Alas

Book covers reviewed by guest lecturer and CSM alumni, Jamie Hearn (Pentagram, Johnson Banks) Image © Bobby Gunthorpe
Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Book covers reviewed by guest lecturer and CSM alumni, Jamie Hearn (Pentagram, Johnson Banks)

Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Image © Bobby Gunthorpe
Image © Bobby Gunthorpe
Image © Bobby Gunthorpe
Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Introduction to the Portfolio Preperation Courses

Image © Bobby Gunthorpe
Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Image © Bobby Gunthorpe
Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Image © Bobby Gunthorpe

Facts

Course Leader

Jamie Hearn

Course Location

Richbell Place and Kings Cross

Study LevelFoundation
Study ModeFull time
Course LengthBetween 1 and 3 terms depending on past experience. Each term is 10 weeks - Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30 - 17.30.
Home/EU Fee

£3,795 per term or stage

International Fee

£3,795 per term or stage

Start DateStage 1 (Apr-Jul), Stage 2 (Oct-Dec) or Stage 3 (Jan-Mar) depending on past experience
Autumn Term DatesStage 2: 27 September - 1 December 2016, 10 weeks, Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30 - 17.30.
Spring Term DatesStage 3: 10 January - 16 March 2017, 10 weeks, Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30 - 17.30.
Summer Term DatesStage 1: 12 April - 16 June 2016, 10 weeks, Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30 - 17.30. Dates and prices for 2017 will be announced in October.
Application Route

Application by Portfolio. For further information see the 'apply' section below.

Content and structure

Aims of the course
The Graphic Design Portfolio Course will introduce you to the subject of graphic design from an informed beginners perspective, through the development of professional processes and skills, to the building of an original and effective graphic design portfolio. This is not a computer software course but rather reflects the studio-based and idea generation nature of graphic design. It is highly international and is sympathetic to the needs of international students.

View photographs of the latest course workshops and activites on instagram.

The course aims to serve the needs and ambitions of three main student groups:

  • Those seeking to build a portfolio for application to BA Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins or elsewhere. 
  • Those seeking to build a portfolio for application to MA Communication Design at Central Saint Martins or elsewhere. 
  • Professionals seeking to renew their creativity through personal projects, new processes and produce a fresh portfolio with a creative London edge. 

The course assists you in realising your goals through common creative exercises, lectures, workshops, demonstrations, visits and individual tuition. It will make full use of the cultural aspects of London and there may be the opportunity to get involved in ‘live’ briefs from industry (which will give you a further taste of the BA and MA courses at Central Saint Martins).

"We are always impressed by the level of work achieved by the Graphic Design Portfolio Course students. The range of subjects they have tackled, the free thinking approach and the individual attention from the tutors allows students to create portfolios which are mature, well considered and contain the individuality that HE colleges will demand. Since 1996 this course has been a great springboard into study at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and on to successful and rewarding careers."
Jonathan Barratt
Dean of the School of Graphics and Industrial Design, Central Saint Martins

The course is comprised of two days tuition per week over three terms known as Stage 1(Apr-Jul), Stage 2 (Sept-Dec) and Stage 3 (Jan-Mar). The courses are taught on a progressive basis providing the opportunity to study for up to one year. It is possible to take each course separately. The Graphic Design Portfolio Course is an international course and is sympathetic to the needs of overseas students.

Structure
Graphic Design Portfolio Course comprises two days tuition per week in three 11 week stages. The stages of the course are taught on a progressive basis providing the opportunity to study for up to one year. It is also possible to take each stage separately.

  • Some students, particularly those who are beginners, take all three stages: Stage 1(Apr-Jul), Stage 2 (Sept-Dec) and Stage 3 (Jan-Mar). 
  • Some students, such as those with some previous experience, become successful BA applicants after taking two stages: Stage 2 (Sept-Dec) and Stage 3 (Jan-Mar). 
  • Most MA applicants usually take just one stage: Stage 2 (Sept-Dec) or Stage 3 (Jan-Mar)
  • Professionals will benefit from any stage. 

Any and all of the three stages are suitable for all three of the expected groups, however each term has its own unique opportunities and focus:

Stage 1 (Apr-Jul): Back To Basics 
This stage is primarily aimed at students for whom London and/or graphic design is a new experience. It is also geared towards those who feel the need to revisit the basics. The fundamental elements of graphic design are explored and creative processes and approaches are developed. The pace of this stage is quite relaxed. Being held during early summer allows the course to get out of the classroom to see more of London, the summer Graphics BA and MA shows, studios and galleries. During this stage there are a number of guest lectures and workshops delivered by CSM Graphics alumni and professionals, giving a broad overview of the subject. You will produce a range of work for your portfolio.

Areas of Study

  • History of Graphic Design
  • Typography Basics
  • Basic Creative Thinking Techniques and Processes in Graphic Design
  • Narrative Environments (Exterior Space)
  • Life Drawing (Colour & Movement)
  • Printmaking (Silkscreen)
  • Digital Design (Flash: Website Design)
  • Photography
  • Live Projects
  • Specialist creative workshops with London-based designers, college staff and alumni


Stage 2 (Sept-Dec): Principles And Processes 
This stage builds on ideas introduced in Stage 1 (Apr-Jul). Creative exercises lead to projects, projects lead to processes and processes lead to a more professional looking portfolio. More studio-focussed than Stage 1 (Apr-Jul), the pace increases with a large part of successful BA folios being put together in this term. Projects and workshops focus on broadening the range of work in your portfolio.

Areas of Study

  • Creative Thinking Techniques and Processes in Graphic Design
  • Wit & Humour in Visual Communications
  • Typography (Rules, Grids, Composition and Information Hierarchies)
  • Narrative Environments (Interior Space)
  • Printmaking (Monoprinting & Lino Cut)
  • Life Drawing (Form & Tone)
  • Digital Design (Photoshop)
  • Photography
  • Live Projects

Stage 3 (Jan-Mar): Professional Preparations
The climax to the year, this term builds on ideas introduced in Stage 1 (Apr-Jul) and Stage 2 (Sept-Dec). Challenging projects greatly enhance the emerging folio. This stage is fast paced and highly focussed on students preparing portfolios for BA and MA applications. There is also a more self-determined course of study for professionals. This stage is less suitable for beginners if taken on its own.

Areas of Study

  • Folio Review by BA and MA course directors (crucially, this is ONLY available in this stage)
  • Folio Surgery: intense preparation for BA/MA/Pro review and interviews
  • Advertising
  • Narrative Environments (Public Space)
  • Printmaking (Drypoint)
  • Life Drawing (Space and Depth)
  • Digital Design (InDesign: Yearbook)
  • Photography
  • Personal projects and research
  • Live Projects

Based on this curriculum the entry points are as follows:

Stage 1(Apr-Jul) Individuals of varying ability are accepted at this point with the view that they have the potential to begin a BA graphic design course in October the following year, after completing a full year of the course.

Stage 2 (Sept-Dec): You are accepted if you appear to have the potential to produce a suitable portfolio of work within six months to present at interview.

Stage 3 (Jan-Mar): You are accepted if you have previous experience in the field and have the potential to produce a suitable portfolio of work within three months to present at interview.

Assessment
An assessment of work will take place for those undertaking all three stages of the course and a certificate of completion will be granted to any student who reaches a satisfactory standard.

Staff

Jamie Hearn is an designer, artist and lecturer living and working in London. He began his Foundation Studies at Central Saint Martins, after winning the prestigious Designer of the Future competition run by the Design Museum London. He studied on the BA Graphic Design course at Central Saint Martins, and after graduating became the college’s Artist in Residence in Printmaking. Since graduation he has been a visiting lecturer to the college, teaching a variety of classes and short courses. Jamie has industry knowledge and experience having worked for the design agencies Pentagram, Johnson Banks and Landor Associates. He worked as the in-house designer at Art supplies retailer Cass Art. In addition he has worked for furniture design company LagoStudio in Italy, and also leads his own professional practice as a freelance designer.

Careers

The objective of the Graphic Design Portfolio Course is to introduce students to the subject of graphic design for the first time or to develop established skills. This is not a computer course but rather reflects the studio-based and idea generation nature of graphic design.

The course aims to serve the needs and ambitions of three main student groups:

  • Those seeking to build a portfolio for application to BA Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins or elsewhere.
  • Those seeking to build a portfolio for application to MA Communication Design at Central Saint Martins or elsewhere.
  • Professionals seeking to renew their creativity through personal projects, new processes and produce a fresh portfolio with a creative London edge.

Entry requirements

In order to benefit fully from this course you should be at least 18 years old and have some form of education or work experience related to art and design. You must be proficient in English, both the spoken and written word, to IELTS level 6.0 or equivalent. We aim to take individuals with varied levels of experience and from a wide variety of backgrounds.

How to apply

Download and complete the Portfolio Prep Application Form [PDF, 0.1MB] and the Essential Application Guide GDPC [PDF, 63KB]as this will have useful information on how to submit your application to the Graphic Design Portfolio Course

We will only review completed applications, which must include:

1. A completed application form
2. A short statement (no more the 350 words)
3. An up-to-date CV
4. 10 - 20 images of your work via a flickr account (for portfolio advice please refer to our Portfolio Advice Guide GDPC [PDF, 58KB]
5. Your IELTS certificate (non-native English speakers only) 

*Please note that there is no strict deadline for applications. We take enrolments until each course is fully subscribed and therefore recommend students to apply at least three months prior to the course start date to avoid disappointment. International students will need to apply for the course as early as possible to ensure they leave sufficient time for their visa application if they are accepted to the course.

We look forward to receiving your application.  If you have any queries please use our course enquiry form.  After you have submitted your portfolio, you will receive an email letting you know how long you will need to wait for your result.

Advice for International Students

All international students attending portfolio preparation courses will need a Short-term Study Visa (STS) to attend the course.  Students can find out more about the Short-term Study Visa (STS) from the UK Government’s Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website: https://www.gov.uk/study-visit-visa

It is each student’s responsibility to ensure they have the correct visa to study on a course, and to ensure that they have read through the immigration information on the UKVI website. If a student does not have the correct visa to study on their chosen course they will not be able to join the course.

Short-term Study Visa's allow students to study in the UK for up to 6 months in a year. This means that International students will only be able to take 2 stages of a portfolio preparation courses. We advise that student’s carefully choose which stages of the course they apply to, in consultation with our staff, to ensure they receive the maximum benefit from the course to their portfolio and development.

Students should be aware that all Visas for the UK are issued at UKVI’s discretion, and they reserve the right to refuse entry clearance to any individual.

Any student who is thinking of attending the course on a visa that is not a Short-term Study Visa (STS) should contact the portfolio preparation team immediately at portfolio@csm.arts.ac.uk

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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