Completely screwed.

OK, so I’m a senior in High School right now. I go to a unique school, in that we can pick majors, and then take classes that are relevant to these majors. The major I chose was Graphic Design. I love GD, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do that for my entire life. That doubt sent me into a giant self-research project which consisted of looking at different colleges and majors, and I came across Industrial Design. I love it. I’m 100% sure that I want to study ID. The only problem I have is getting into college. I have all my applications and essays done, but I need to work on a portfolio.

I know that you’re all probably thinking that I’m an idiot for not having worked on one throughout my high school career, but the truth is, I have been. It just hasn’t been a portfolio for ID. My problem comes with the fact that the colleges I want to apply to, such as ACCD among others, ask for a portfolio tailored to the major you are looking to apply to.

I need all the help I can get with building a good portfolio, and I thought that I might as well try and seek some help here in the forum. First things first:

What makes a good application portfolio for an ID major?

What’s a good book to buy that details some good learning techniques for ID sketches?

Do you have any examples of work that would be included in an application portfolio?

What would YOU do to develop a good beginning portfolio in a limited amount of time?

Thanks for any and all comments, support, etc.

To put it simply:

I need a good portfolio to send to an ID school, but I have no idea what to do. At all.
Like, seriously, no clue.

Well I’ll try and give the briefest answers to your questions as possible:

What makes a good application portfolio for an ID major?

-From what I’ve seen no school expects you to be a designer out of high school. Most schools that require a portfolio are looking for a combo of regular art skills with possibly a drop of design/engineering type of work.

What’s a good book to buy that details some good learning techniques for ID sketches?

What would YOU do to develop a good beginning portfolio in a limited amount of time?

-It’s hard for me to say for certain what colleges expect out of a high school candiate, but if you wanted to try and impress them I would say look around on sites like this and productdesignforums.com and look at some projects people have done. Use that for inspiration to do some simple sketches and development for an idea for something product related.

Every design college is different. Some are much more art focused, but I don’t know if the people who handle the admissions are looking for anything specific, or if it’s just a matter of “these paintings look nice and your SAT scores are high enough to let you in”.

Either way, I wouldn’t beat yourself up over not having a design portfolio before going to design school – at the high school level I would expect it to be more dependant on a combination of your GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and a respectible portfolio that shows you have some artistic talent.

Agreed, schools are not looking for you to be a designer going in… that is what you pay them for! The fact that you went to a high school that had a lot of graphic design courses is going to be a huge advantage. Put together a portfolio that represents your abilities, your interests, and who you are and you should be fine.

Art Center does not accept many students right out of high school. They relay on Pasadena City college as a feeder among other schools. Last time I checked, average freshman age was like 21… so their requirements are a bit different. Research, visit, and apply to multiple schools, 3-5 is usually a good range to apply to (research and visit more)

Oh, well, I’m definitely applying to multiple colleges. I only brought up ACCD because I have a connection to it. I’m also applying to Cornish (This, I admit, is for Visual Communication Design), IUPUI, Otis, Academy of Art U, and even Weber State U for Criminalistics (This is just a fallback. I’m pretty sure I’ll get in for various reasons… don’t want to brag or anything, hehe…).

Now that I mention Otis, however, does anyone have an opinion about their Product Design program?