14 Jan 2013
art college digital portfolio
Digital portfolios – top 10 tips

Applying for art college this year? Generally not all colleges interview every student anymore as the time, costs and organisation involved in this process is immense. However, art college digital portfolios are the way to go!

Some of the colleges now require that you submit an art college digital portfolio, mini-folio or e-folio. This is a representation of your real portfolio work that is uploaded to their server, usually. Thereby making an initial selection of students to interview in addition to viewing their folio. Therefore if you pass through this selection process then you will be invited for interview. Edinburgh College of Art coupled with Glasgow School of Art both have this selection method in place. Hence, both colleges struggle to cope with the large number of applicants for interview. This is as a result of being able to make 5 choices of institution on your UCAS  application.

Above all, if you're looking for help we now have a new digital portfolio eBook (below). In brief, our eBook is designed to take you through the steps required to produce your digital portfolio. Furthermore, we even have video instructions to guide you further.

Art college digital portfolio - mini portfolio 

Earlier today we were working with one of our mentoring students finalising his digital portfolio for Glasgow School of Art. Therefore, we thought we'd share our top 10 tips for this part of your application.



1. To begin with read the literature from each college on what they need to see for your digital portfolio. Subsequently, look carefully at number of images, file size (memory kb etc.) and image size (pixels). All will be different. Therefore you might not be able to use the same images for all the colleges you're applying to.

2. Check that you've got enough work that sits in each category if they specify how many of each they want to see. So for example in research, development, final images and lastly time based work.

3. Likewise, check to see how they want to see time based work in your digital portfolio (video, film, animation). For example do they want stills or can you upload a link to Youtube, Vimeo or similar?

4. So then take good photos or scans of your work, use lights or photograph outside if it's light enough! Generally, don't use a flash if it makes a glare on your work. In summary, focus, focus, focus!

5. If you can make a compilation of images then do so. Including as much as possible in your digital portfolio is good however go easy – don't overdo it! Ordinarily you'll need to use an image manipulation programme such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements here to get a professional look.

6. If you can upload a piece of text that goes with each image in your digital portfolio by the way of explaining it a little, do so. As a rule, don't just describe what it is. Talk about your ideas, the project and how it fulfils the brief.

7. Don't upload images that are too small so that when they are viewed they need to be magnified. As a result, your image will be pixelised and really poor quality. This won't do your work any justice at all.

8. Seek help of your teachers, technicians or parents, friends etc. who have some digital skills to help you make the very best job of this. If you mess up on this digital portfolio you won't get a chance to demonstrate face to face, why they should be taking you on the course.

9. Above all, don't leave it to the last minute to upload your art college digital portfolio. Incidentally there might be technical issues outwith your control that leave you unable to submit your images to the colleges for their deadline.

10. Final review, does your art college digital portfolio do your work justice – honestly? If not, usually re-photographing your work until it does is advised.

Have you found this blog post useful?

In conclusion, please take a look at our 2 eBooks that can help you with mounting your work and your interview. In addition to these 2 titles, we have many more, available from our eBooks section.

 How to mount and prepare your work for your art portfolio How to blow them away at interview (for art college)

Finally, good luck in this first part of your application. Incidentally, is anyone reading who's already done it? Please give us some feedback on how it's gone for you!


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