(this is an updated version of an earlier post)

Put simply, a Portfolio is a sample of your creative, original art and design work, that shows your skill level and talent. It should be a reflection of who you are as a creative individual and maker of work.

In the art & design world, a portfolio might be used to show to a potential employer to get a job, to get into a school or particular program or to show to a gallery or art dealer. As a creative professional, you should always have an up-to-date portfolio for any opportunities that might arise.

When you apply to art and design school, often a portfolio is required as a part of the admission process. Each school and each program might  have different requirements and rules, so be sure you understand what they want to see in a portfolio.

At OCAD U, we aren’t too picky on how a portfolio looks, or what format you use. You might decide to create a digital portfolio, using Power Point, or create a simple website. You might decide to buy a fancy leather portfolio from an art supply store, and print photographs of your work. You might decide to actually create a book, by hand or using a do-it-yourself publisher. It could be as simple as a stack of original works, or a photo album. It might even be photos of your work on your laptop, or you might decide to submit it digitally online (we use a platform called slideroom!)

We care about the content of your portfolio – about the actual pieces of art and design. It is up to you how you want to present your work – it should of course be professional and high light your work, but the format is your decision. We want to see you are a creative and critical thinker, and what your strongest work says about you. We want to see that you take risks, challenge yourself and try new things. We want to see where your skill level is at. We want to see which topics you like to explore, what inspires you and makes you tick. We want to see you are a good fit for the program you are applying to and that you understand the program you’ve chosen.

You can read our OCAD U portfolio requirements here to find out exactly what we expect for our studio based programs.

Our new Honors BA in Visual and Critical Studies looks at grades and a written piece – your topic will be assigned once you apply. Review those requirements here.

Our Digital Futures program has slightly different expectations for the portfolio, as they accept both visual and non-visual work, and there is additional written component. Be sure to review those requirements here.

It’s our job in the Admissions & Recruitment Office to help you get to OCAD U if this is where you want to be. Reach out, get in touch, we’re here to help! admissions@ocadu.ca