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Graphics Folio Online Short Course

Course description

Want to apply for a BA or MA programme, or develop your design skills and folio? The Graphics Folio Course will guide you through several design briefs and allow you to create a quality portfolio that stands out from the crowd.

If you're intending to apply for either a BA or MA in Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins, this course is designed to allow you to submit your application and portfolio.

After an introduction to graphic design practice, history and principles, students will embark on a series of design briefs that have been created 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.

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 dont 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.

Who should attend?

This course is designed to support students planning to apply for a place on either a BA or MA in Graphic Communication Design or Visual Communication

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

Students must complete an application before booking onto the course. For details please read the 'Making your application' section below.

Course outcomes

At the end of the course students will have gained a solid foundation in graphic communication design practice, developed their skills and built a knock-out portfolio. Each student will also be offered a portfolio review, whether applying for a BA, MA or pursuing professional employment opportunities.

All our online short courses include:

  • Live online lessons with the same tutors
  • Lesson recordings, for review, so you never have to miss a class
  • Access to the virtual learning environment with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 2 weeks online access to the recordings of the live classroom session

Activities will be scheduled between the hours of 09:00 – 13:30 (UK Time), 3 days a week and will include a mixture of live classes, one to one tutorials, crits, peer learning and independent study.

Entry requirements

  • This course is open to students aged 18 years and older

Making your application

To apply for this course please check that you meet the entry requirements and then click here to complete the application form.

All applications will be reviewed in 7 – 14 days. An email will be sent to notify you of the outcome along with information about the next steps.


Available dates

If no dates are showing then please sign up to our mailing list to find out about upcoming dates and new course developments.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the term dates?

Term 1 - 11 October - 17 December
Term 2 - 17 January - 11 February

How much time should I commit to the course?

Online contact time with tutors will be scheduled across 3 days of the week, between the hours of 09:00 – 13:30 (UK Time) and will include a mixture of live classes, one to one tutorials, crits, peer learning and independent study.

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.

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.

MA applicants should apply for a place on the Graphic Communication Design programme before the deadline in May. Portfolio course students will have the opportunity to meet the MA Course Leader in February and get valuable feedback ahead of formally submitting their application folio.

Applicants to the BA Graphic Communication Design programme at CSM will need to formally apply through UCAS before the deadline in January. However, they will not need to submit their portfolio. In February, all prospective BA applicants will benefit from a formal portfolio review with the BA tutors at Central Saint Martins, after which they will be given a decision on their application.

Professional portfolio students will be invited to take part in a portfolio review with an industry professional, towards the end of the course.

Useful links:

UCAS site

BA programme page

MA programme page

Do I need to provide proof of my English Language?

No, we do not need you to provide proof to study Graphics Folio. However; as a guideline, non-native English speakers should be at IELTS level 6.0.

If you are progressing to a full time course at UAL after completing your programme, you are still required to meet these conditions. These will be listed on the relevant course page. For more information you can check the UAL English Language requirements webpage.


In order to get the most out of this course you should bring the following materials to your first session:

  • 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

Suggested non-essential materials:

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.

The tech requirements:

  • A recent computer with a recent operating system
  • An up-to-date web browser (it would be advisable to ensure you have access yo two separate web browsers, we recommend Safari and Google Chrome)
  • A headset with microphone / headphones is recommended
  • Webcam

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

Meet the Tutor:

This 14-week portfolio course provides students with a solid foundation in graphic communication design practice and allows them to build on existing skills through several supported design briefs. In the last 4 weeks of the course students will focus on the production and curation of a knock-out portfolio for future academic application or ongoing professional development.

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