Portfolios for school

Hello everyone I am new to this site and have found it very helpful. I graduated from Indiana University with a BFA in sculpture in 2005. I am now interested in pursuing an MFA in ID. I’ve been looking at a lot of different schools and was wondering if anyone had some advice on what to include in my portfolio. Most of my sculptural work was pretty much design work. Do they want to see you’ve had experience in CAD, is drawing the most important thing? I know this is a broad question but any help is much appreciated. Thanks


(i’m mostly interested in toy and furniture design, some product design)

there are lots of opinions - as you’ve been reading.
For you to get a better response, post up some of your work here with as much development process as will fit.

For one off furniture I would recommend a hands on, specific program, like the grad furniture program at RISD.

Toys are a very different world. Much more sketching based, with lots of though put into play patterns, integrating inventor submissions, retail, and parent needs with styling. Check out one of our moderators in the Toy section below, Optimistic, todd Herlitz, he is one of the best toy designers I know. Ironically he also does furniture on the side…


Thanks for your replies. Much appreciated. I’ll post some images of resent work on here. I have to reshoot a lot of this work so please excuse the not so great quality. Anyway, I did odyssy of the Mind as a kid and basically I’m trying to find a career the most closely resembles that. I enjoyed and still enjoy art, but I miss the problem solving aspect of real world problems and scinareos. So my thinking is that ID combines the two nicely. anyway, thanks again for you help. here is some work.

here’s some more work. Trying to figure out how to upload multiple images.


i did a series of these gummy bear boxes where the in every box the red and white gummy bear couldn’t get to each other

another gummy bear box

This is another Winget. They have to wear these clear ponchos so if it rains or they are doing water travels their moss like skin doesn’t rot.

here’s a momentum mobile. when the winget is at the top, it throws its body weight forward causing the vehicle to keep going.

sorry for all the multiple posts but here are some samples. The gummy bear project has about 17 different boxes, all in plexiglass most with water as water acts as their potential “death.” The other boxes are a little more dinamic and interesting but these were on my computer. I will try to scan more slides later so you can see the larger range of my work. anyway thanks again for your help.

I can see why you are interested in both toys and furniture… what is compelling you away from fine arts?

I’d like to pursue both. I’m not sure if that’s realistic or not, a career in ID I’m guessing takes quite a bit of time and energy, as does fine arts. I would like a career at this point and Fine Arts is such an uncertain pursuit. Sometimes art feels almost too wide open. My thought is that ID brings art and function together. Gives you peramitures and you have to resolve them in the most creative functional way. I like this idea. but part of me is worried that ID becomes another office job where you’re designing shit you totally don’t care about and freedom and interesting projects only hits the top 10 people in the design world after 15 + years of experience. ANyway long winded answer trying to desipher what to pursue at this point. I’m not sure what are excuses yet and if I’m just unrealistic about the ID world, so this website is a big help right now.

Michael, I just looked at your websit and really like your work. I was going to say in my last post that I live in Portland Or. and that’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to pursue only fine arts as the galleries out here aren’t very condusive to my work. anyway it was nice to see you are also in Portland. How is the ID community here?

What did you end up doing for grad school? I too have a BFA in Sculpture and am interested in grad for ID. Just wondering what you decided.

Rachel, you might look at Cranbrook for an MFA in design.

If you need a career to live off of, you might consider a bachelors in ID, look at Kendall’s furniture program.

UC and RISD have lots of toy design connections.