Digital portfolios for art college – Portfolio Oomph’s top 10 tips

From the blog – online hub covering all aspects of applying to art college.

Are your students applying for art college this year? Not all colleges interview every student anymore as the time, costs and organisation involved in this process is immense. Digital portfolios are the way to go!

Some of the colleges now require that you submit an digital portfolio or e-folio that is a representation of your work that is uploaded to their server. This is so that they can make an initial selection of students to interview, therefore if you pass through this selection process then you will be invited for interview. Edinburgh College of Art and Glasgow School of Art both have this method in place as they struggle to cope with the large number of applicants all coming for interview now that you can make 5 choices of college on your UCAS application.

As we’ve been working with one of our mentoring students last week in finalising his digital portfolio for application to Glasgow School of Art we thought we’d share our top 10 tips for this part of the application.

1. Read the literature from each college on what they need to see for your digital portfolio  in terms of number of images, file size (memory kb etc.) and image size (pixels) – all will be different so you might not be able to use the same images for all the colleges you’re applying to.

2. Check that you’ve got enough work that sits in each category if they specify how many of each they want to see – for example in research, development, final images, time based work.

3. Check to see how they want to see time based work in your digital portfolio (video, film, animation), do they want stills or can you upload a link to Youtube, Vimeo or similar?

4. Take good photos or scans of your work, use lights or photograph outside it it’s light enough! Don’t use a flash if it makes a glare on your work. Focus, focus, focus!

5. If you can make a compilation of images then do so to enable you to include as much as possible in this digital portfolio. You might need to use an image manipulation programme such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements here to get a professional look.

6. If you can upload a piece of text that goes with each image in your digital portfolio to explain it a little do so. Don’t just describe what it is, talk about your ideas, the project and how it fulfills the brief.

7. Don’t upload images that are too small so that when they are viewed they need to be magnified. This will result in pixelisation and really poor quality images. This won’t do your work any justice at all.

8. Seek help of your teachers, technicians or parents, friends etc. who have some digital skills to help you make the very best job of this. If you mess up on this digital portfolio you won’t get a chance to demonstrate face to face why they should be taking you on the course.

9. Don’t leave it to the last minute to upload your digital portfolio as there might be technical issues outwith your control that leave you unable to submit your images to the colleges for their deadline.

10. Final review, does your digital portfolio do your work justice – honestly? If not, re-photograph your work until it does.

Good luck in this first part of your application. Anyone reading who’s already done it? Please give us some feedback on how it’s gone for you!

Visit for more information and resources on applying to art college.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.