Portfolio Guidelines 2019

Information and guidelines to help you prepare your portfolio for entry September 2019

PORTFOLIO INFORMATION SESSIONS

NCAD staff will host Information Sessions for applicants preparing a Portfolio for entry to Year 1 in September 2019.  Prospective students can view successful portfolios from previous applications and visit the studio areas.  This is also an opportunity to address any questions around portfolio preparation and presentation to NCAD staff.  

**FOCUS ON DESIGN  - If you are interested in Product Design, Interaction Design, Graphic Design, Moving Image Design or Illustration there will be individual sessions to focus on each of these areas on Tues 6th November. When booking please select the specific area you are interested in.

SPECIAL NOTE: 

Year 1 applicants to both BA Product Design (AD212) and BA Interaction Design (AD222) will meet at 5.30pm on Tuesday the 6th of November in the Product + Interaction Design Studio, Lower Ground Floor, School of Design for Industry, NCAD.

Year 1 applicants to Graphic Design & Moving Image Design (AD102) and Illustration (AD217) will meet at 5.30pm on Tuesday the 6th of November in the Dept. Communication Design, First Floor, School of Design for Industry, NCAD. 

THERE IS NO CHARGE TO ATTEND THESE EVENTS BUT BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL. BOOK HERE!

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NCAD PORTFOLIO GUIDELINES 
AN INTRODUCTION FOR ART AND DESIGN TEACHERS AND PORTFOLIO PREPARATION TUTORS 

The introduction of an open Portfolio Guidelines in 2018 brought a change to our previous portfolio brief and was intended to create the opportunity for a wider range of responses.  We are continuing with this approach for entry 2019. 

With the introduction of new degree options and the opening up of entry routes that enable direct application to specific fields, it is important that the guide provides for this breadth of entry portfolios. We want to encourage those who have both defined interests and those who have yet to define their interests to apply to NCAD.  With this open guideline it is easy for individuals with differing aptitudes and orientations to put together portfolios that can more closely represent their own strengths and interests.  
 
This year our guide is even more simplified to encourage an even greater possibility for a diverse individual response. If applicants or tutors require any further supports on putting together a portfolio they can visit our website where we have further portfolio support information  www.ncad.ie/study-at-ncad
 
What remains constant in terms of how to approach the building of a portfolio?

We still emphasise and encourage a series of steps in our guide, which can help to orientate the applicant with a suggested approach. Most of the elements in this structure are recognisable and continue to have similar common elements that existed in our previous briefs.  This way it is possible for art and design teachers and tutors to continue to emphasize the processes that they have always emphasized but also begin to evolve ways of encouraging divergences or simply helping the individual student to follow a more personally oriented path in their work.  

There was a great response this year to our changed entry routes with a much increased application making for a more competitive process than in recent years. We hope that this increased opportunity for individual orientation will make the process of building a portfolio more enjoyable for our applicants. 

Mary Avril Gillan 
Head of First Year Art and Design Studies, NCAD   

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Portfolio Guide for Applicants to all Pathways 2019 - PDF Print Download

NCAD CAO Application Entry Routes 2019

 AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry) - leading to degree options in all areas:

Design: Fashion Design / Graphic Design / Illustration / Jewellery & Objects/ Moving Image Design / Textile & Surface Design

Fine Art: Print / Media / Painting / Sculpture/ Textile Art & Artefact / Ceramics & Glass 
AD102 Graphic Design and  Moving Image Design  - degree options in Graphic Design or Moving Image Design
AD103 Textile & Surface Design and Jewellery & Objects – degree options in Textile & Surface Design or Jewellery & Objects
AD202 Education & Design or Fine Art (Second Level Teaching) – degree options: Joint Honours in Education & Design / Joint Honours in Education & Fine Art
AD204 Fine Art – with pathways in Print / Media / Painting / Sculpture / Textile Art & Artefact / Ceramics & Glass
AD211 Fashion Design
AD212 Product Design – designing and making new physical objects and experiences
AD215 Visual Culture – history and theory of contemporary art & design (portfolio not required)
AD217 Illustration - drawing image making and animation
AD222 Interaction Design – designing digital interactions for apps, web sites, products, services and user experience 

Information on the application procedures and course offers can be found at Study-at-NCAD.

There are two parts to the application process for NCAD.

1) CAO Application
All applications for full-time first year undergraduate study must be made through the CAO (Central Applications Office)  www.cao.ie
The deadline for CAO Applications is Friday 1st February 2019.

2) Portfolio Submission
A portfolio submission is required as part of the application process for all studio degrees at NCAD. See the list of pathways below. 
The deadline for portfolio submission is 4.30 Friday 8th February 2019. 

The STUDIO is essential to the NCAD learning experience-

                a vibrant HUB where IDEAS are sparked, CURIOSITY is cultivated

and CREATIVITY flourishes…

 

                                                ...Your PLACE is HERE.

What is a Portfolio?                                                                    

Tell us your creative story…
A portfolio is a collection of art and/or design work you have created yourself. It is an opportunity for you to showcase your ideas, your skills and your creativity. We want to see how your imagination can generate a rich and visually interesting body of work. Building a portfolio will demonstrate your commitment to working through a process– from initial ideas and observations right through to thoughtfully researched and developed work.  We want to see more than your finished work…Show your process through notebooks, worksheets, sketch books etc.

What to Include?
Work to your strengths! If you can draw, paint, sew, sculpt, mould, carve, photograph or prefer to experiment with other digital platforms, we are interested! Be creative and show us how you can turn the ordinary into something special.

Include recent or current work. Your portfolio is a reflection of how you think and how you work now. Work completed within the last two years is relevant – whether undertaken independently or as part of projects for school-leaving or further education assessments.

Your Notebooks give us an insight into how you think. It is where you visually record ideas, thoughts and notions that occur when immersed in the creative process. Notebooks are not perfect.  Use them to show us the problems and inventive solutions you encounter along the creative journey.


How is my portfolio assessed?      
*Creative Enquiry and Visual Research – Begin with gatherings. Show us how you observe the world around you. Visually describe, explain, record and invent through real-life observation.

*Idea Development and Material/Technical Exploration –Develop your ideas beyond the known or purely observed. Be playful, imaginative, experimental and inventive. We want to see how your research can produce new creative outcomes.

*Critical Judgement, Selection and Resolution – Identify which ideas have the most potential. Take at least one of your creative proposals and develop it thoroughly to a level of completion. Show how your creative outcomes and solutions have evolved as part of the research process.            

                                                                  
Things to Consider…                                                                        

Use primary sources. Show us you can make direct observations using a variety of media and drawing processes. Experiment with line, tone, colour, form and surface.

Mix things up! Your research should be visually rich, well-considered and show thorough exploration of ideas using a variety of material and processes.

Who or what inspires you? Use your notebooks to show an awareness of developments within the creative industries and well as an interest in individual artists and/or designers.

Think of the narrative of your portfolio and how it is composed. Organise your work sequentially to show the links between your observations, research and creative outcomes.

Be Brave! The portfolio journey can be a lonely one. Seek out a support network and look to family, friends and teachers for suggestions and opinions on your work. 

Let your work speak for itself! Present your portfolio so as your work is visibly accessible - Between 10 and 20 A1/A2 or A3 sheets as well as at least 1 notebook.


And Remember…!

For work completed in 3D, include high quality images and photographs with a note on dimensions and materials used.

If including sound or moving image, ensure all files are playable on Windows Media Player or Apple Quick Time. Total running time not to exceed two minutes.

For the safety of staff handling the portfolio, please keep weight below 10kg and do not include any glass or potentially hazardous materials.

Be sure to put your NAME, CAO NUMBER and ADDRESS on your portfolio cover and label your individual sheets and notebooks.

Your portfolio should be Visual – Keep text to a minimum!

How do I use this Guide?

The guide is designed as a resource to help structure your portfolio for presentation. Use it as a reference to help frame your work in a way that shows your creative thinking.

Looking for inspiration to get started? These suggested Guide Words could help trigger your imagination…

Navigation            Struggle                                Diversion

Monument         Co-Ordination                          Platform

Character         Convergence                           Community

Guide Words can spark ideas, inform research and help to build a theme or narrative around your portfolio.  Keep in mind that your portfolio will be assessed by each department you apply to. Focus your work so as it is relevant to your preferred department(s).

 

NCAD’s Portfolio Guidelines 2019

FIRST YEAR COMMON ENTRY AD101

  • Drawing, Painting, Mark-Making | Direct Observation | Experimentation| Ideas Worksheets |Creative Notebooks | Primary Sources

Common Entry brings together a mix of creative minds. You will learn as much from your peers as from your tutors and lectures. You will broaden your frame of reference, discover new potential and be guided as to which area of art or design fits your specific skillset. 

Your First Year Common Entry portfolio should be inquisitive and deeply explorative. Using primary sources for inspiration, show us your fascination with the world around you. We want to see you combine your curiosity with observational, research and problem-solving skills to re-interpret your surroundings and develop new forms of visual expression.

GRAPHIC DESIGN/MOVING IMAGE DESIGN AD102

  •  Communication |Problem Solving | Design Briefs | Drawing & Observation | Typography | Creative Notebooks

Graphic Designers are excellent communicators. Your drawing skills are rich and vibrant, and you like to work from design briefs.

Your Graphic Design portfolio should reflect your interest in communicating through design. Show us your strong drawing and problem-solving skills. Demonstrate how you can combine text and image create an interesting aesthetic that communicates a clear message.

ILLUSTRATION AD217

  •  Imagination | Problem Solving |Visual Language | Creative Thinking | Composition & Narrative | Engaging Aesthetic  

Illustrators have rich and versatile imaginations. You solve complex design problems with seemingly effortless skill. 
Your portfolio should be rich in various styles of illustration. How for example, might you illustrate one of the guide words? If you had a billboard to illustrate an idea, how would it differ from illustrating the same idea on a postage stamp? You should focus on solving design problems.

FASHION DESIGN AD211

  •  Idea Generation |Drawing & Design Skills | Colour, Texture & Line| Creative Notebooks | Body & Environment | Design Samples

Fashion Designers have their finger on the pulse. You know what is in vogue and you are ready for the next trend, before it happens.

Your portfolio should be Fashion-focussed. Think about how a piece of clothing looks on a body? What lines does a moving figure create when wearing a particular garment? From where do you draw your inspiration?

TEXTILE & SURFACE DESIGN  AND JEWELLERY & OBJECTS AD103

  •  Surface Detail | Texture |  Colour | Finish | Assembly

Designers of Textiles, Jewellery and Objects are interested in the finer details -textures, colours and surface quality fascinate and intrigue you.

Your portfolio for Textiles, Jewellery and Objects should show your interest in detail and finish on items. You should explore how objects are put together. 


PRODUCT DESIGN AD212

  •  Problem Solving| Idea Generation | Concept Development | Presentation | Creative Notebooks | Drawing & Model Making

Product Designers are problem solvers for everyday life. You identify design flaws quickly and want to find a solution. You want to help people on a practical level and make the world a better place, one design at a time.
Your Product Design portfolio should look at existing products and think how you could improve on their design. Challenge yourself to create a design solution for an everyday problem. 

INTERACTION DESIGN AD222

  •  Digital Experience | Technology | Engagement | Cutting-Edge Design 

Interaction Designers create intuitive and engaging digital experiences. Exploring the relationship between people and technology, your research will help predict user needs. Your ideas will inform future design-concepts and technological developments that make for easy digital interactions.
Your Interaction Design portfolio should show elements of problem solving, idea generation and a curiosity for how to engage with screen-based designs.

FINE ART AD204

  •  Individual Expression| Visual Awareness | Observation Skills| Subject Engagement | Imagination & Interpretation

Fine Artists are thinkers and observers. You see and interpret the world differently and have a highly individual visual expression. You may find that you work with both traditional and new materials and media.
Your Fine Art portfolio should show an emphasis on visual awareness. You should look at how you express yourself, explore a variety of media and engage with your subject matter.

Submitting your Portfolio
Once you have applied for NCAD through the CAO, and your portfolio is finished, all of your hard work is done, and you just need to submit it.


How Do I Submit my Portfolio?
Either you, or somebody nominated by you needs to physically go to our Thomas Street campus to submit your portfolio. The deadline for portfolio submission is the 9th February at 4pm, no portfolios will be accepted after this date. However you may drop it in any time between now and then. Your portfolio needs to be dropped off at the main reception in NCAD.
When you drop your portfolio off at NCAD, you will be given a Portfolio Collection Form which acts as a receipt for you to collect your portfolio again. Please keep this safe as it will contain all of the relevant information for picking up your portfolio.
NCAD teaching staff will spend two weeks assessing all of the portfolios that were submitted and then your portfolio will be available for collection.

Our Address is: 

NCAD,

100 Thomas Street, 

Dublin 8.


How do I Collect my Portfolio?
Once again, either you or somebody nominated by you must go to the NCAD campus with your Portfolio Collection Form to collect your portfolio. Your portfolio will be handed back to you and your Portfolio Collection Form will be retained by NCAD. The deadline for collecting your portfolio from NCAD is Wednesday the 28th of February, we cannot hold on to Portfolios after this date.


What Happens Next?
NCAD will notify you of the result of your portfolio assessment by the end of March. This notification will tell you if you have achieved the necessary score for a conditional offer. A conditional offer is an offer that is dependent on you meeting the minimum academic entry requirements through your Leaving Certificate, QQI FETAC Award or other. If you do not get a conditional offer we will tell you if you are on a waiting list for an offer. Each year we make a number of offers to applicants from the waiting list.
Offers are made in August through the CAO. All applicants are placed on a ranked list based on portfolio score. Offers are made in descending order from this list to applicants who have met the minimum academic entry requirements.


Can I Carry my Portfolio Score Forward to the Next Year?
We recognise that our applicants put a lot of work into the preparation of their admissions portfolios.  If you have passed the portfolio review stage but not received an official offer from the CAO, NCAD will allow you to carry forward your portfolio score to the application process the following year.
Once you have told us you wish to carry forward your portfolio score and you have given us your new CAO number you will be eligible for an offer based on your original portfolio score and subject to the normal entry requirements and any portfolio cut off points in the year that you are now applying into.  An example of where a Portfolio Carry Forward might apply is when an applicant fails to meet the minimum academic entry requirements in the first year of application. 

Do all programmes at NCAD require a portfolio submission?

A portfolio submission is required for all studio degrees at NCAD: 

AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry) - leading to degree options in all areas:
Design: Fashion Design / Graphic Design / Illustration / Jewellery & Objects/ Textile & Surface Design
Fine Art: Print / Media / Painting / Sculpture/ Textile Art & Artefact and Ceramics & Glass)
AD102 Graphic Design and Moving Image Design  – degree options in Graphic Design or Moving Image Design
AD103 Textile & Surface Design and  Jewellery & Objects – degree options in Textile & Surface Design or Jewellery & Objects
AD202  Education & Design or Fine Art (Second Level Teaching) – Joint Honours in Design & Education or Fine Art & Education
AD204 Fine Art – with pathways in Print / Media / Painting / Sculpture / Textile Art & Artefact and Ceramics & Glass
AD211 Fashion Design
AD212 Product Design – designing and making new physical objects and experiences
AD215 Visual Culture – history and theory of contemporary art & design (portfolio not required)
AD217 Illustration - drawing image making and animation
AD222 Interaction Design – designing digital interactions for apps, web sites, products, services and user experience 

What should I include in my portfolio for NCAD?

An entrance portfolio is a collection of visual work that shows your potential to study art and design at third level. The NCAD Portfolio Submission Guidelines are designed help you put your portfolio together whether you are starting from scratch or using work you have developed in another context.  We want to see your Research and Observation your Ideas Development  and your Developed Creative Work.   You should also  include at least one Notebook, remember the best portfolios will show all your processes.  

When should I bring my portfolio to NCAD?

The deadline for submitting your portfolio is 4.30 PM Friday 9th February 2017. We will accept portfolios any time in the two weeks up to that date. If you need to submit your portfolio earlier please contact the Admissions Office: admissions@ncad.ie  Please note it is your responsibility to submit your portfolio on time, we do not send reminders about this date. The address for portfolio submission is:

The Admissions Office,
NCAD, 100 Thomas Street,
Dublin 8, Ireland.

Can I get an extension on the deadline for Portfolio Submission?

It is not possible to get an extension on the submission deadline – all portfolios must be presented by the published closing date.

When can I collect my portfolio?

Portfolios can be collected from NCAD for up to 3 weeks after the end of the portfolio assessment. You will be given information on collection dates and times. If you need to collect your portfolio early please let us know and we will arrange to have your portfolio assessed and ready for collection.

How will my portfolio be assessed?

Details on the assesment criteria for the portfolio submissions can be found in the Portfolio Submission Guidelines.

When will I be told the outcome of my portfolio assessment?

We will write to you by the end of March with the result of your portfolio assessment. This letter will tell you if you have achieved the necessary score for a conditional offer. A conditional offer is an offer that is dependent on you meeting the minimum academic entry requirements through your Leaving Certificate, QQI FE Award or other. If you do not get a conditional offer we will tell you if you are on a waiting list for an offer. Each year we make a number of offers to applicants from the waiting list.

Offers are made in August through the CAO. All applicants are placed on a ranked list based on portfolio score. Offers are made in descending order from this list to applicants who have met the minimum academic entry requirements.

Can I carry my Portfolio Score forward to the next year?

We recognise that our applicants put a lot of work into the preparation of their admissions portfolios.  If you have passed the porftolio review stage but not received an official offer from the CAO, NCAD will allow you to carry forward your portfolio socre  to the application process the following year.

Once you have told us you wish to carry forward your portfolio score and you have given us your new CAO number you will be eligible for an offer based on your original portfolio score and subject to the normal entry requirements and any portfolio cut off points in the year that you are now applying into.  

An example of where a Portfolio Carry Forward might apply is when an applicant fails to meet  the minimum academic entry requirements in the first year of application.  

More information can be found at Study-at-NCAD.

Starting a portfolio can be a daunting process when you have never compiled one before. However, it doesn’t have to be. Try to view your portfolio like a work in progress, a project that you will always strive to improve upon and refer back to. It does not just hold your finished pieces; it should contain your thoughts, your ideas, your process and of course the work that is created from following your process. While everybody has a different process, we have a few suggestions for those of you who might not have realised your own process yet. A Product Designer’s process will be very different from a Painter’s process. So read through the following, take what you need from it, and begin your exciting and rewarding journey with your portfolio. Below we will show you some examples of our current students’ work from their Entry Portfolios. You will be able to see the variety of styles, processes and work. While this can be a helpful resource to guide you, make sure you think of your own ideas and ways of working through your thought processes. Please remember, that these are guidelines to help you only, it is not a brief you must follow. 

Enjoy working on your portfolio, and engage with it. We look forward to seeing your portfolio here in February! 

How do you begin?

Try working on some mind-maps. This is often a very good place to get your mind thinking creatively. A mind-map is a tool to visually demonstrate the relationships between different ideas. Try to make your mind-maps as visually interesting as possible by integrating a mixture of words and images. Take some or all of the Guide Words from the Portfolio Guidelines and write and draw everything that comes to mind when you consider these words. You may find a path of enquiry that really interests and excites you.

Here are some examples of some mind maps.

  

What next? 

Use your mind maps! Chose some items from your mind maps and find a physical example of them. Then experiment, observe, play, document, deconstruct, reconstruct and learn everything you can about your objects. Below are some ideas to guide you, but we would love to see new and exciting ways with which you interact and observe your objects.  

  • Place each item in an environment that is unusual for them and where you would not normally expect to find them. Make observational studies of these items in these new contexts. See examples below: 

  

 

  • Going back to your mind maps, take another two items and look at their construction. Carefully take them apart and see how they are put together. See if you can re-construct these pieces back together in a new way. Or take two items apart and reconstruct their mixed pieces to create two new items. Or perhaps one big item. See examples below: 

 

 

  • Be inventive and creative. What if these new pieces were submerged in water, would parts from one of your items dissolve, or fill with water? What if these new pieces were planted underground? Would any part of it sprout or rot? Find new ways to think about these items. See examples below: 

   

 

  • Take another (different) mind map item. Exaggerate its surroundings. What if it were out all day on a very hot day? What if it were out all day in freezing cold weather? What would the difference be? Can you squeeze it? Can you throw it? What if you stood on it? Can you shrink part of it and enlarge another part of it at the same time? Think of different situations you could incorporate here.

Make observational studies of the items under these exaggerated conditions using a range of media you would not normally use (e.g. sand sculpture, thread drawings, moving images, fabric, recycled materials etc.) See excamples below: 

 

 

CREATIVE PROCESS

Let’s return to your mind-maps again. Think about two different items from two different mind maps and how they can influence or react with each other.

Navigation                                          Platform

e.g. Telescope                                   Train

What if a telescope developed some of the elements or functions of a train and vice versa? This is just an example, you should think of your own, more imaginative ideas.

INVENTION/SOLUTIONS

Show us what you can really do! But don’t limit yourself to using one medium, or way of creating. You can work in two or three dimensions, and/or moving images or a combination of all. You will need to think, plan ahead and research your work. Presenting your research and preparation is as important as your actual solutions.

Presentation should be in the form of ideas worksheets, showing developments from initial stages. Relevant and informative photographs of any 3d work should be included on the worksheets.

Some examples of worksheets below: 

  

  

  

 

You could try some of the following:

Invent a new way to travel across water.

Draw/paint/record twenty different types of buttons

Make 60 one minute drawings of different types of joints moving

Draw/paint/record the process of a frozen item slowly defrosting over the space of two hours

Invent/make a new bicycle

Draw/paint/observe five indents in different surfaces

Draw/paint/record 5 colourful plants

Invent/make a new lid for a bottle

Draw/paint/record six different seats

Design/paint/invent a new pattern for fabric

Record/observe ten very different textures/surfaces 

What about Notebooks?!

Your notebooks are very important! Regardless of your preferred area of study, you will need to keep a visual notebook of your ideas, thoughts, and developments as they happen. They are a true display of the development and progression of your ideas. They show us how you think, the way you work out complex problems and they also show us ideas that you have that don’t make it out of your notebook, but they are equally as important as the ones that do. So carry your notebook with you and document what you see, how you observe and show us your creative self.

Some examples below: