University Application Portfolio

Hi guys,

I’m Isaac, a grade 12 student in Toronto applying for ID at Carleton. Here’s my application portfolio so far - any comments and criticism would be appreciated. From Carleton’s website, here’s what they’re looking for:

Your portfolio should include:

curriculum vitae (academics, work experience, interests, and other);
statement of interest with reasons for wanting to study industrial design; and
diverse selection of creative work (15-20 pieces) with explanatory notes.
(Creative work may include freehand and computer generated drawings, technical drawings, paintings, graphics and photographs, and images of 3-dimensional work such as sculptures, models, renovations, furniture, fashion items, and other.)
Above all, your portfolio should show your ability to think and work creatively in both 2 and 3 dimensions, and to communicate this effectively. Show your interest in products, your analytical capability, creativity, and any skills you have developed. It is useful to show both the process and final work.


Here’s an updated copy of my portfolio. I’ll be printing it in a couple days, once I’ve got the final pieces completed, so I’d really appreciate some feedback before then.



Probably would’ve helper if I included the link…

Hi Isaac,

Overall, content looks pretty good for an application portfolio. Lots of diversity and breadth of skills and interests.

Some thoughts-

  1. image on the front page doesn’t look that interesting. I’m assuming it was one of your photos, but maybe something more product related or unique.
  2. Resume/statement of interest. Fix the hyphenation on LEGO store entry and the “ADD SOMETHING HERE!!!” on the statement of interest.
  3. Fire Truck. Very impressive, but might want to make it more clear it’s not a kit. Maybe title it CUSTOM FIRE TRUCK. Do you have (or can make after the fact) any sketches, dimensioned drawings, other photos of analysis of the real truck with different views, etc. to communicate this? Detail views are nice. Maybe more of these.
  4. Shelf rail holder is a very interesting project (and one I can see actually being commercialized!). Maybe you can strengthen the Problem aspect you solved with a more clear Problem statement in large bold, and/or showing the visuals that go along with it (high shelves, ladders, lots of small shelf supports). Do you have any other versions of prototypes? Always nice to see the progression in solution if there was one.
  5. Rendering page. Some nice skills. I don’t think you need much text, maybe more samples of different sketches, rendering techniques if you have.
  6. Phone concept. I think kinda weak. Maybe not include. Sketches and concept not that developed.
  7. CADdrawings. nothing showing on this page.
  8. Photos. OK.
  9. LEGO album covers. Interesting. Would like to see more/larger pics, less text. Let the pics tell the story for you instead of words. Again, make it clear it’s CUSTOM album covers.
  10. Die. nice.
  11. Tea unit. OK, maybe switch the rendering and sketches since sketches are a bit sketchy.
  12. Camera strap. Looks like an interesting project, but I don’t really understand it. Maybe need to tell/show the story with more pics and less text.
  13. Unfinished idea. not the strongest page. Maybe replace with just a page of random sketches, with no text.

Best of luck. Sure you will do fine in the application.


Thanks for the thorough feedback, Richard! I’ll be sure to implement as much of your advice as I can before I get it printed.

I came across this doing research for my portfolio for this program and I was just wondering if you ended up being accepted? If you don’t mind me asking…

Hi Isaac, I’m currently in 3rd year at Carleton so I’ve been through the same process as you a few years back (although for the life of me I can’t remember where I put my application portfolio).

Anyways, I like your updated portfolio. I think for Carleton specifically, it’s a great portfolio because their main focus is process so you’ve shown quite a few sketches and thinking behind your projects which is key. If you could overall I’d include less text and more photos; the more you can use images (or drawings) to describe your intent, the better. If you did also any research or testing prior to any of these projects I’d also try and include it. Like the camera strap project is really good in my opinion because there’s probably been some user testing involved in there and Carleton is a big fan of that (spent a month on user testing for my 3rd year major).

I also agree with rkuchinsky’s advice about the cover page; make it more striking. While I admit my portfolio’s cover page wasn’t really cool either I know some of my classmates had fabricated cover pages (one made of metal and one of wood) so do try and attract their attention with something that really says “this is me”.

Best of luck with applying and if you have any further questions about Carleton you can message me and I can try and help!

Hey Chris,

I’m actually in 1st year at Carleton - this was posted last year. :wink: Thanks for the feedback, though. I’ll probably see you around next year when we’re in the same building…