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Graphics Folio

Start date
Stage 1: October / Stage 2: January
Course length
10 weeks per stage

We are now accepting applications for Stage 1

Over two stages the Graphic Design Portfolio Course provides 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 a BA or MA course 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 needs of international students.

Each stage is taught on a progressive basis; you are recommended to take both stages, but other entry points are available providing your work, ability and experience is at the appropriate level for entry.

  • Stage 1: for students developing/revisiting/finalising their portfolios (open to all)
  • Stage 2: for students finalising/refining their portfolios (open to all)
  • The course aims to serve the needs and ambitions of three main student groups:

Pathways and routes:

  • 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

View the information leaflet for Full Time Portfolio Courses at Central Saint Martins (PDF 1.7MB)

2020 / 2021

Stage 1: 29 September 2020 – 3 December 2020
Tuesday and Thursday, 9.30 AM – 5.30 PM

Stage 2: 5 January 2021 – 11 March 2021
Tuesday and Thursday, 9.30 AM – 5.30 PM

Course overview

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 also be the opportunity to get involved in live briefs from the industry, offering you a further taste of the BA and MA courses at Central Saint Martins.

Student Story: Interview and video of Graphics Folio graduate Ana Rita Otsuka on the Central Saint Martins short course blog.

Course units

Over the two stages the course covers...

Back to basics (covered in stage 1), areas of study include:

  • History of graphic design
  • Visual language and literacy
  • Typography basics
  • Basic creative thinking techniques and processes in graphic design
  • Introduction to narrative in design
  • Life drawing
  • Printmaking (monoprinting with woodblock, wood block type and lino-cut)
  • Digital design (Adobe Photoshop)
  • Live projects
  • Specialist creative workshops with London based designers, college staff and alumni

Principles and processes (covered over stages 1 and 2), areas of study include:

  • Creative thinking techniques and processes in graphic design
  • Wit and humour in visual communications
  • Typography and layout (rules, grids, composition and information hierarchies)
  • Sequential art and storytelling
  • Printmaking
  • Life drawing (form and tone)
  • Digital design (Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator)
  • Photography
  • Live Projects

Professional preparations (covered in stage 2), areas of study include:

  • Portfolio review by BA and MA course directors
  • Portfolio surgery (intense preparation for BA, MA or professional review)
  • Advertising / Design for persuasion
  • Narrative environments (public space)
  • Printmaking
  • Life drawing (space and depth)
  • Digital design (Adobe InDesign)
  • Photography
  • Personal projects and research
  • Live projects

As a graphic designer and communications professional Rachel Kirk brings a wide range of skills and experience to her teaching. She has been living, studying and working in London for over 20 years. She was awarded a First Class BA in Graphic Design from Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture & Design (London Metropolitan University). Following her BA she was selected to take part in the national Design Factory Symposium at The Design Museum and exhibited at The Design Junction during The London Design Festival 2012. After working as a marketing manager, communications consultant and freelance designer for a number of years Rachel returned to education, undertaking an MA in Graphic Communications Design at Central Saint Martins. In 2017 Rachel was selected as one of ten designers and visual artists from CSM to collaborate with musicians from The Guildhall School of Music & Drama to produce an audio visual event for The Barbican’s Curious Festival. Today Rachel works as a communications consultant, freelance designer and teaches at CSM.

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

Making your application

To apply for this course please click on the “Apply” button located at the top of this page, you will be redirect to a course application form which you will need to complete.

We will only review completed applications, which must include:

  • A completed application form
  • A short statement (no more the 350 words)
  • Students applying for an MA course must include a draft of their MA project proposal
  • 15-20 high resolution images of your work

All international students from outside the European Union will need a Short-term Study Visa (STS) in order to attend one of our portfolio courses.  To find out more please visit UAL's Immigration guidance for short course students.

After you apply

We will review your application.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£3,995 per stage

International fee

£3,995 per stage

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials, for more details please visit the UAL’s Additional Costs webpage.


Please visit the Accommodation webpage to see the options available to you and to find out how much they will cost.

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