Portfolio Guidelines

Color and Materials Design Portfolio Submission Guidelines

  • Portfolios should include projects that demonstrate an interest in color, materials and finish design, in conjunction with providing insight into your individual approach to design and creativity. 
  • Your portfolio should include a minimum of three projects including academic, personal and professional work. Your design projects should show all phases of the research and design process (research, initial sketches and development of concepts), with use of effective storytelling,  attention to detail and quality, and a well-developed design aesthetic. 
  • You are encouraged to include pieces that show your ability to work in a multidisciplinary team indicating clearly your role and contribution to the project.
  • The portfolio should reveal a high level of skill in creativity, originality, investigative skills and open mindedness. 
  • Your work should demonstrate your hand skills including drawing, model making, evidence of construction and making. 
  • Experience working with typographic space, layout and attention to detail.
  • Computer proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

**We accept applications  from students with an undergraduate degree in a related discipline, for example Crafts, Textiles, Fashion Design, Industrial or Product Design, Interior Design,Transportation Design and Photography. 

We will also consider applicants with degrees in non related subjects who have an interest in materials and color, and who have the desire to explore this developing  and exciting field.

Interaction Design Portfolio Submission Guidelines

  • The MFA program in Interaction Design seeks students prepared for the maturity and discipline required to succeed in an intensive, multi-year commitment to become prepared for a fulfilling and long career. In general terms, candidate’s submissions will be reviewed for clarity of intent, organization, and process. Required attributes include critical thinking combined with creativity. Point-of-view about interaction design specifically and self-awareness as to career aspirations, which may not be fully formed, are also desirable.
  • Portfolios may display experience from a range of domains, including but not limited to interaction design, product design, industrial design, software design, and graphic design; however, they must reflect one or more of the following:
- design skills: conceptual organization, disciplined process, and strong aesthetics
- systems skills: holistic viewpoints and systemic modeling in order to understand complex situations and needs, and to design for their improvement
- making skills: evidence of craft, whether in physical materials, software interfaces, or human interactions, including iteration, refinement, and convergence toward explicit design goals.
  • Because of the demands of interaction designers in today’s work contexts, added consideration will  be given to applicants who possess one or more of the following optional skills:
- professional experience with design or implementation teams in any of the domains mentioned above
- empathy for social, economic, and global challenges, including but not limited to energy, natural resources, income disparity, and social justice
- implementation of web, app, or other general coding skills for front-end, back-end, platforms, cloud, and APIs
- proficiency in toolsets for 2D, 3D, animation, and prototyping of all kinds.


Integrated Design (formerly Interdisciplinary Design) Portfolio Submission Guidelines:

Applicant with design background:

  • Your portfolio should consist of a minimum of 4-6 projects including academic, personal and professional work.
  • Every project should show all phases of the design process (research, analysis, initial sketches and development), with use of effective storytelling.
  • Include some of the following as related to your specific background in 2D or 3D design:
    • Sketching and freehand drawing ability. Model making ability and an awareness of rapid prototyping technologies. 3D modeling skills package (such as Pro/E, Alias, Catia, I-DEAS or Solidworks, 98, Form  Z, Rhino 3D, 3D Studio Max, etc.), and final renderings.
    • Typography, layout, motion graphic.

●You are encouraged to include pieces that show your ability to work in a multidisciplinary team indicating clearly your role and contribution to the project.


Applicant with no Design background:

Please provide 3 examples of work that demonstrate your ability to:

  1. Be creative - photographs, illustrations, writing samples, movies, etc.
  2. Think critically - examples of quantitative and/or qualitative research where you derived meaningful conclusions and insights from your findings
  3. Synthesize and translate - samples of work that is about finding a solution to a given problem or an opportunity.

Transportation Design Portfolio Guidelines:

  • Your portfolio should include a minimum of 3-4 design projects including academic, personal and professional.
  • All projects must have a clear representation of the phases of the design process - including your project brief, research, target market development, concept ideation, development and final renderings and models - presented in a fluid, clear, systematic manner.
  • Submissions should demonstrate your functional skills including freehand sketching in accurate perspective, use of Photoshop and Alias – or other use of 2D/3D modeling and rendering software.
  • Include a significant amount of original process sketches and/or a separate sketch book as a PDF attachment in SlideRoom, or if necessary, mailed or e-mailed to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • The portfolio should reveal a high level of skill in critical thinking, creative conceptualization and visual communication.


For applicants from related fields interested in pursuing the MFA degree as an entryway into design:

Your portfolio should demonstrate that you can communicate complex ideas in a professional manner and that you have ability to work in one type of design discipline. We are looking for your unique approach to design solutions.

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