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Portfolio advice

Sketchbook with rainbow coloured lines.
Sketchbook with rainbow coloured lines.
Marion Bisserier sketchbook during her internship at Pentagram, 2019, © Alys Tomlinson

Applying to university is an exciting next step and your portfolio is an important part of this process. Discover our tips on how to build a strong portfolio for your university application.

What is a portfolio?

Our definition

A portfolio is a collection of work that showcases your skills, personality and creative potential.

It should narrate your story - from what you've learnt and created so far to what you plan to do next.

With initial sketches, contextual references and finished pieces, it is your chance to show us why you want to study your course at UAL.

6 tips for your portfolio

  1. Show your range. Include pieces that show your ability to work with different materials, themes and techniques.
  2. Process over perfection. Include some unfinished work to show us how you research and develop your ideas.
  3. Create a strong narrative. Building a story with an impactful beginning and end will ensure you leave a lasting impression.
  4. Be decisive. If you can't explain a particular piece, don't include it. How you edit your work shows us your ability to work to a brief - a key skill for all creatives.
  5. Explain your vision. Include labels to guide us through your creative processes and vision.
  6. Take control. Show us what you want us to see, not what you think we want to see. Your personality, individuality and passion are your most powerful tools.

How to build a portfolio

What is a portfolio?

What to include in a portfolio?

How to structure a portfolio?

How to submit your portfolio to UAL

There are 3 different ways to submit your portfolio depending on the course you've applied for and your applicant status.

Online portfolio submission

You may be asked to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online submission tool, PebblePad.

For some courses, you may be offered a place based on your digital portfolio. For others, you may also be invited to an interview where you can talk us through your portfolio. Please note, all interviews are currently held online either by phone or video.

Bring your portfolio to an interview

If you've been invited to an interview, you may also be asked to bring along your portfolio. Please note, all interviews are currently held online either by phone or video.

International applicants

If you have applied through your local official UAL representative, you may be invited to an online interview with one of our academics. If you are unable to attend an interview, a digital portfolio may be accepted.

Need more help?

  • Credit: Spine Photographic Spine Photographic,
    Portfolio preparation courses

    These short courses will help you build a portfolio in preparation to apply to your chosen course at UAL.

  • Students in classroom

    Residential short courses

    These London-based courses give teenagers the opportunity to develop their creative skills and experience student life at UAL.

  • Materials composition by Lucie Hands BA (Hons) Textile Design
    Materials composition by Lucie Hands BA (Hons) Textile Design
    Pre-degree courses

    Our one-year pre-degree courses will enhance your creative knowledge and skills ready for undergraduate study.

  • Student working on a laptop with sketches surrounding them.
    Craig Green, MA Games Design, London College of Communication, 2018, © Alys Tomlinson
    How to submit your portfolio

    Learn how to submit your portfolio to PebblePad, our online submission tool.