Portfolio Guidelines

In the Bachelor of Design , you learn a range of skills for 21st-century designers—from the traditional applied artist to the analytical applied social scientist. This range is reflected in your portfolio, which allows you to submit pieces in two categories: Art & Design and People & Technology. 

Admission to the Bachelor of Design is based on past academic performance and your portfolio, which is a collection of your original work. To apply for the Bachelor of Design, you do not need previous experience or training in art, design or the social sciences. 


Online portfolio submission

After you have applied for admission to the program, you can submit your portfolio through SlideRoom, our online submission system, when it opens for the year. It is to your advantage to submit your portfolio as soon as possible after you apply as the program has fewer spots after each review date. Following each review date, the Office of the University Registrar will notify you of the program's recommendation by email (to your MacEwan account) and in the student portal.

important dates and deadlines

 

1. Apply to the Bachelor of Design

Applications are submitted through ApplyAlberta. Check MacEwan's How to Apply page for the steps in the application process.

How to apply

 

2. Create your portfolio and statement of intent

Review the assessment criteria

Your portfolio will be evaluated by an assessment committee, which is responsible for determining your readiness for the Bachelor of Design program. The committee looks for:

  • Neat, well-organized presentation of pieces

  • Creativity, versatility and problem-solving ability in a variety of mediums

  • Quality of work

  • Quality of written descriptions for each work

Your statement of intent is considered an integral part of your portfolio. It will be assessed using these criteria:

  • Your ability to express your ideas in writing

  • No spelling or grammar errors

Create a SlideRoom account for your online portfolio submission

Your portfolio and statement of intent are submitted through an online application called SlideRoom. When you access SlideRoom, you need to create a login ID, password and profile. Please use the same name that you used to apply to MacEwan. Once you've done that, you can start uploading images. You can upload and save your images as many times as you need to before submitting your portfolio, and your portfolio progress will be saved online until you are ready to submit it. Once you have submitted your portfolio, you will no longer be able to make changes to it.

access SlideRoom: online portfolio submission site

Prepare your portfolio pieces

Your portfolio is a collection of your work that shows your creativity and problem-solving ability and reveals your design interests. You do not need to have prior training in art, design or the social sciences. We do not expect technical or artistic proficiency. We are examining your creativity, versatility and problem-solving skills in a variety of mediums or disciplines, your ability to challenge yourself and your attention to detail — the hallmarks of a designer budding with potential.

Number of pieces

Choose 12 to 15 original pieces for your portfolio. Below are suggestions for the kind of work that can be submitted. There is no requirement for the number of pieces per category or subcategory. You may choose to use only submit pieces within one category (Art & Design, People & Technology) but we recommend that you demonstrate a range of capabilities in your portfolio by limiting the number of pieces within a subcategory (i.e., drawing, photography, painting) to three works. Please organize your work by category.

Image size

All images must be approximately 1200 pixels wide. If the image is under 1200 pixels, you’ll need to either find the original hi-res digital image or you’ll need to retake the image using a better camera that has a higher resolution output. Discover how to find the resolution of your digital image.

There are some good tutorials on youTube on how to photograph your artwork for point-and-shoot cameras or for digital SLR cameras. You can also use a flatbed scanner. We recommend that you do not use your cell phone to photograph your work as it will not produce the best results. Please make sure there are no shadows obscuring your artwork and that the image you submit is the best representation of your original artwork as possible. 
 

 

Categorize and label your portfolio pieces

Labels

You need to complete a label for each piece of work that you provide in the portfolio. In the Additional Details area of the label, include a rationale that contains the following information:

  • The purpose of the piece or project (Was it a class project? Was it for a real-world client?)

  • Your role in the creation of the piece/project if multiple people were involved

Categories

There are two main categories of work for your submissions. You can submit work to both or just one of the categories.

  • Art & Design

  • People & Technology

Please use the following category and subcategory titles in the labels for each piece. 

Art & Design

Drawing

  • Show your sensitivity to form and attention to detail

  • Must be from direct observation (i.e., looking at an object and drawing it)

  • Any medium, such as charcoal, ink, pencil, pastel, combined media, digital drawing

  • Subjects may be simple objects, figures, portraits or self-portraits, room interiors, architecture, nature

  • Use a variety of tools and techniques (line, texture, composition, light, perspective)

  • Consider using different surfaces and papers

Painting

  • In any medium, such as acrylic, oil, encaustic, watercolours, canvas or gouache

  • Subjects may be still life, landscapes, figures, portraits or self-portraits, abstracts

  • Digital paintings are acceptable

Photography

  • Show your sense of composition

  • Black and white or colour

  • Concentrate on framing, angle and light

  • Subjects may be simple objects, figures in landscape, architecture, nature

Mixed media/collage

  • Work with a range of materials and ideas (imagery, text, texture, paper, fabrics, etc.)

  • Treat the collage as a design/art piece; not as a journal or scrapbook

Three-dimensional work

  • Work with a range of materials, such as wood, clay, paper, fabric, etc., to show your understanding of three-dimensional form and space

  • Submit good quality photos of these pieces

  • Photograph the piece from several angles/views and put the photos into one document.

Design work

  • Design projects such as posters, brochures, album covers, exhibits, websites, interactive work, animation, videos, etc.

People & Technology

The Bachelor of Design has an emphasis on human-centred design and the interface between people and technology, which requires a strong understanding of human behaviour and how it relates to the built world. The following category has been created to appeal to students that may not have an extensive art or design background.

For any items in this category, you must include a description of how the work addresses the needs of an individual or a community.

People

Research poster, paper or deliverable from a social science-related course (psychology, sociology, human factors, communication, etc.) that focuses on understanding humans (cognition, behaviour, emotion, culture, etc.). It is preferable, but not required, that the work has some relationship to cultural products (such as advertising, marketing, mass media, art and film) or technology.

Technology

Technical solutions (i.e., computer science, programming and engineering) to everyday problems that, ideally, show a connection to addressing human needs. For computing science work in this category, you can provide screenshots of a website or software program you built. For engineering work, you can provide technical drawings and/or photos of the finished object or prototype.

Do not include in your portfolio

In your portfolio, do not include:

  • Fantasy-style imagery — things that do not exist in reality, i.e., dragons, fairies, unicorns, mermaids, animé, etc.; cartoons or comic book illustrations

  • Subject matter that is not suitable for an academic environment

  • Hobbies and crafts, e.g., scrapbooking

  • All pieces using the same technique, e.g., 10 photographs

  • All pieces using the same subject, e.g., a series of drawings and paintings of the same person, still life, etc.

  • Digital work that only adds unmanipulated digital filters to a photograph or is a tracing of a scanned picture. Digital work must adhere to the above categories and demonstrate the principles described within that category.

Prepare your statement of intent

Your statement of intent is an important part of the portfolio package. It tells us about you, your aspirations and goals and your commitment to pursuing a career in design. Clear and engaging written communication is an important tool for a visual communicator.

Answer these questions in your statement of intent, with no more than 150 words per answer:

  • Why do you want to study design at MacEwan University?

  • What personal attributes and interests do you possess that make you a suitable candidate for a career in design?

  • What are your goals after graduation?

  • How did you hear about our program?

 

3. Submit your portfolio

Submit your portfolio after you have applied to the program and after the online submission system opens for the year. Portfolios will not be assessed unless you have officially applied through ApplyAlberta and paid the application for admission fee.

 

Next steps

After discussing and assessing your portfolio and statement of intent, the program will make a recommendation. The Office of the University Registrar will notify you of the program's recommendation by email (to your MacEwan account) and in the student portal.

Learn about admission decisions