skip to main content

Essential coronavirus info
We are continuing to welcome our new and returning students. Your safety is our first priority.


Graphics Folio (Online Course)

Central Saint Martins
Start date
October or January
Course length
10 weeks

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.

Now accepting applications for 2021.

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.


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 supported by group workshops and crits, with 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 will also be opportunities to enter live, global and UK based design competitions.

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

Will I learn design software on this course?

This course reflects the studio based and idea generation nature of graphic communication design. Students are encouraged to avoid design software and apps as much as possible at the start of the course, to ensure they focus on learning the fundamental design principles - which don’t require any digital processes. Adobe CC (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) software workshops will be arranged as the course progresses, depending on the level of student experience.

UAL students can purchase a discounted personal subscription to Adobe CC for through an exclusive deal. Students will receive information about how to access to the Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign at the start of the course.

Online delivery

The course will be delivered online through a platform called Blackboard Collaborate. Blackboard Collaborate® is a licensed 'online classroom' and encompasses web conferencing, mobile collaboration, instant messaging, and additional features relevant to your course. Each session is observed by tech support, who will help if you have any difficulties accessing content. The group will also have a dedicated site called Workflow to access supporting materials. Workflow lets you access course content, view recorded sessions, and upload your assignments. Workflow is an e-portfolio, and it can store vast amounts of content and track your progress to offer you the best learning experience. You will have your own assignments page to upload your work to, so your tutor can give you feedback and you can share content with your class. Please note that all courses are taught in UK time. To check and compare times please click here.

Online learning

  • Interactive classes
  • Live demonstrations
  • Lesson recordings, for review
  • Portfolio space
  • Online handouts and learning materials
  • Personal feedback
  • A virtual learning environment (VLE) with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 3 months online access
  • Certificate upon completion

Activities will be scheduled between the hours of 09:00 – 15:00 (UK Time), 4 days a week and will include a mixture of live classes, one to one tutorials, crits, peer learning and independent study.

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 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.

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: video interview with Graphics Folio graduate Ana Rita Otsuka

Materials list

  • A pad of basic quality white A2 Layout paper
  • A2 black sheet x3
  • Coloured paper (optional)
  • A cutting mat - at least A3 in size
  • A metal / steel ruler
  • A quality scalpel or craft knife (Swan-Morton or similar) - we advise you to take great care and follow instructions carefully for fitting a scalpel blade on your own if you haven't used one before
  • Pencils
  • Black pens / fine-liners
  • A4 or A3 sketchbooks x2
  • At least 1 colour medium - pastels, crayons, water colour paints or decent quality markers (i.e Winsor & Newton Promarkers or similar)
  • An external hard drive or USB drive is highly recommended to backup your work

Students would benefit from access to a scanner on a couple of occasions during the course, in order to create high res image files of analogue and sketchbook work.

For some of the specialist workshops, students will require additional materials, which tutors will advise you of in advance.

Who will teach the course?

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). After working as a marketing manager, communications consultant and freelance designer Rachel returned to education in 2016 to undertake an MA in Graphic Communications Design at Central Saint Martins. Today Rachel works as a communications consultant, freelance designer and design educator.

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 and funding

Home fee


(if you are aged 19 or over on 31 August of the year you start your course)


(if you are under the age of 19 on 31 August of the year you start your course)

These fees are correct for 2020/21 entry and are subject to change for 2021/22 entry.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. Read more advice for EU students.

International fee


This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry.

Students from countries outside of the UK are currently charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. Read more advice for EU students.

Scholarship search