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Graphics Folio

Start date
January or October
Course length
10 weeks per stage

Now accepting applications for 2020 and 2021.

The 10-week Graphic Communication Design Portfolio Course provides students with a solid foundation in graphic communication design practice, or to develop established skills, to build a knock-out portfolio.

There are three pathways for students who enrol on this course:

  • Those seeking to produce a portfolio for application to BA Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins and / or other universities
  • Those seeking to produce a portfolio for application to MA Communication Design at Central Saint Martins  and / or other universities
  • Students who are seeking to develop their professional portfolio for gaining employment in the creative sector. These students are usually at the start of their career or are wishing to make a career change

The majority of students plan to apply for a place on either a BA or MA in Graphic Communication Design or Visual Communication.

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


12 October – 18th December (10 weeks)


11 January – 19 March (10 weeks)

Course overview

What will I learn?

After an introduction to graphic design practice, history and principles, students will embark on a series of design briefs that have been designed to become portfolio projects. Everyone embarks on the same briefs and there are group workshops and crits (feedback sessions) throughout. The briefs cover many areas of graphic communication design including; typography, editorial design, branding, illustration, photography, data visualisation, persuasion design, UX (user experience) and more. There are also opportunities to enter live, global and UK based design competitions.

Will I learn design software on this course?

This is not a software or digital design course, it reflects the studio based and idea generation nature of graphic communication design. However there are a few essential training workshops in some Adobe CC software (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) which will be arranged depending on the level of experience students have. Students are encouraged to stay away from design software and apps as much as possible at the start of the course, to get back to basics and learn fundamental design principles - which don’t require any digital processes.

It is advised that students do have access to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

The course is international which brings great value to the learning environment with students freely exchanging different ideas, cultural perspectives and experiences.

How much time should I commit to the course?

Online contact time with tutors will be scheduled across 4 days of the week. To get the most out of the experience it’s highly recommended that students approach this as a full time course. Self-directed practice and research between online contact time is essential.

What if I decide I need longer than 10 weeks to prepare my portfolio?

While the course does not have stages the course runs October to December and again, January to March, across the two sessions a number of different design briefs are worked on. It is therefore possible to enrol on this both sessions, if you feel you would like to continue developing your portfolios, and work on new project briefs.

Will I have a Portfolio Review?

Students will receive ongoing support and advice to curate their portfolios and their work from the lead tutor, however this course also incorporates a more formal portfolio review.

Whether you are enrolled on the October or January 10-week course, all prospective BA students who apply to Central Saint Martins will be invited to take part in a formal portfolio review with BA tutors in early March. Shortly after this review, students are informed if they have been offered a place on the BA Graphic Communication Design course at CSM.

Prospective MA students who apply for a place on the MA Graphic Communication Design at CSM will be invited to take part in an informal review / discussion with an MA admissions tutor, prior to their portfolio submission online.

Professional portfolio students will be invited to take part in a portfolio review with with an industry professional.

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

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.

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