NCAD Portfolio Submission Brief

and portfolio
brief for entry
into NCAD
September, 2016.
Extract from an interview with Aine Coleman,
Third Year, Product Design, April 2014.
“What we are being taught is how to observe and how to look at the world around us in
a different way, in a different light. We are
looking in-between things and sometimes when we look in-between we go ‘Wouldn’t it
be interesting if I put that in there?’ ”
Brief One:
AD101 First Year Art & Design
(Common Entry)
AD202 Design or Fine Art
& Education
AD212 Product Design:
Brief Two:
AD212 Product Design:
Undergraduate application
and portfolio submission
brief for entry into NCAD
September, 2016.
This booklet gives you the information you need
to prepare your portfolio, make an application
and become a student at NCAD.
We hope you enjoy the challenge of putting together
your portfolio submission and we look forward to
welcoming you as a student to NCAD in September
NCAD is a community of 1,500 students studying
Fine Art, Design, Education and Visual Culture
based on Thomas Street in Dublin city centre.
Brief One: AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry) / AD202 Design or Fine Art & Education
Brief One starts here –
Section A
Mind mapping /
Your first task is
about thinking and
making mind-maps.
Minimum requirements
for Section A:
1 sheet for each chosen mind-map
Total: 2 Sheets (minimum)
Choose two themes from the following six:
Mind-maps are a vital research component in the portfolio brief as they help
you to demonstrate your capacity for finding and connecting ideas in a lively
and inventive manner. This is an essential attribute of all artists/designers.
The mind-maps should show evidence of your sources and starting points.
Mind-maps are a way to show in visual form the relationships between different
ideas. Mind-maps are your opportunity to totally personalise your response to
the next set of tasks contained in the portfolio brief.
Do this
Make 2 mind-maps, one for each of your chosen themes.
Identify as many unusual and interesting examples as you can think of
(e.g. Is a radio an artefact? Could a ship be an island?).
The majority of each of your two mind-maps should be made of drawn images.
One entire mind map should be totally image based with no words used.
Make your mind maps as visually interesting as possible. They should be
carefully considered, inventive, and thorough. They can be multi-layered;
may take any shape or form and use any media.
The individual components of your mind-maps are called items in the rest
of the brief.
The items in the mind-maps are also the ones you will use again in section
B and section C of the Brief as your source material. In this way they inform
and should make the next sections of the brief totally individual.
Brief One: AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry) / AD202 Design or Fine Art & Education
Brief One continues –
Section B
Observation /
Your second task is
about observing real
items and recording
in a context.
Minimum requirements
for Section B:
2 sheets for each dismantled item
Total: 4 Sheets (minimum)
We want you to show us how much you enjoy observing and inventively
recording the world of objects that surround us.
Choose two items from your mind-maps and get a physical example of
each of them.
These should be items that you can actually dismantle and re-arranged in
some inventive way, then make a record of the results of this process.
This task is about being inventive, and showing the value of making careful
direct observational studies. Use a variety of media, beginning with a drawing
process that pays particular attention to line, tone, colour and surface.
Do this
Take apart or carefully dismantle your two chosen items.
Visually record (through any medium of your choice) all of the pieces arranged
in 2 new ways for each item, such as stacked, pushed in a corner, hung, floating
– or according to a consistent criteria: material, colour, size, weight etc.
Consider the possibilities of also using alternative media such as needle and
thread, collage, clay, moving image, stop frame digital. These are intended to
supplement the careful drawing and colour studies process.
Still photography and moving images can also be used to describe, explain,
record and invent within this task.
Any 3D work should be photographed, with prints included on sheets related
to the task. If you include moving images, please note that work on disc
should be referenced on relevant worksheets and the total viewing time must
not exceed 2 minutes.
Brief One: AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry) / AD202 Design or Fine Art & Education
Brief One continues –
Section C
Creative /
Your third task is
about generating and
recording a range
of ideas through a
creative process.
Minimum requirements
for Section C:
2 sheets for each crossover
Total: 4 Sheets (minimum)
Look again at the themes in section A of the brief, and the mind-maps you’ve
made. Think about the possibilities if any two of your items (chosen from
different mind-maps) were to cross-over, interact, borrow from, or influence
each other.
For example: what is the visual or physical result of a Cooking item becoming
a Connector item? Could a weather item become a Toy item? How?
There are no ‘correct’ answers or expected responses. We want to see what
you come up with.
We would like you to deliver your ideas through what we call ‘Ideas Worksheets’.
Ideas Worksheets are a way of visually ‘thinking out loud’. On a worksheet,
we would like you to use drawings, diagrams and where necessary, short notes to
explain your ideas visually.
Do this
Make two crossovers between two different items taken
from any two of the mind-map themes.
These are only examples – you should come up with your own ideas.
Cooking (e.g. spaghetti) Required: 2 worksheets
(e.g. pylon)
Toy (e.g. camera) Required: 2 worksheets
(e.g. sandal)
So what happens if a camera took on some of the characteristics or qualities
of a sandal and vice versa?
Remember the arrows can work in both directions (a toy item becoming a
weather item can be different to a weather item becoming a toy item!)
Brief One: AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry) / AD202 Design or Fine Art & Education
Brief One continues –
Section D
Invention /
Your fourth task
is about solving a
variety of visual
Do this
Minimum requirements
for Section D:
2 sheets for each task
Total: 4 Sheets (minimum)
Some of these are based on direct observational tasks; others require you
to come up with inventive solutions to a variety of problems.
Your work can be carried out in two or three dimensions, or it can be a
combination of 2D and 3D processes and / or moving images. A degree
of planning and research into the task is required and presenting this is
as important as your actual solutions.
Invent/record/make at least two of the following:
Draw/paint/record 4 different places where 3 colours meet
Invent/make/record 4 different ways to make half legible words
Draw/paint/record 4 examples of kitchen chaos
Draw/paint/record/create the opposite of part of yourself
Invent/make/record a wearable sound
Draw/paint/record 4 different items half unwrapped
Make 20 drawings of 20 different tiny balls of crumpled paper
Draw/paint/record/make 4 different street lines
Subtract 50% of the colour from a meal
Design the packaging for a new type of smell
Produce at least two worksheets for each task.
Again, if you do include moving images on disc, please note that the
total viewing time must not exceed 2 minutes and must be clearly labeled
and referenced within the portfolio (see notes for formatting of
digital media).
Brief One: AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry) / AD202 Design or Fine Art & Education
Brief One continues –
Section E
Minimum requirements
for Section E:
At least one notebook
Total: 1 Notebook (minimum)
This task is about
creating and
maintaining a
In addition to completing the work of other sections you must maintain a
visual notebook, which should underpin your ideas as they develop. The
notebook should be essentially visual but can contain written elements where
necessary as explanations. The notebook should record your incidental ideas/
thoughts / notions which arise during the period of time working on the brief.
Your notebook can also show how you might expand ideas that you don’t have
time to develop fully elsewhere in your portfolio. Any small drawings, diagrams
or studies that help communicate your observations, thoughts and ideas are
welcome. These can be from all sections of the brief including the mind-maps.
Do this
Obtain or create, then fill at least one visual notebook.
Your notebook(s) are a great way of showing us how you think, and react to a
variety of circumstances. The notebook should not be something you create as
an afterthought. It should be an integral and active component of your work on
an ongoing basis.
The notebook itself can be something you create. There can be different types
of notebooks, ranging from something small that you bring with you everywhere
in your pocket, or a set of cards you carry around, then combine together for
This could then be supplemented by a studio based notebook which contains
larger images/print-outs etc. In other words, your notebook is an additional
opportunity for you to show how engaged and excited by your work you are,
and to provide some insight into your thinking process. We see this as important
as your finished pieces of work.
Brief One ends here.
Brief Two: AD212 Product Design
Brief Two starts here –
Do you like making? Are you interested in how things work
and why things look the way that they do? Do you still secretly play with Lego? Are you doing Design and Communication
Graphics (DCG) for your Leaving Certificate? If your answer
is yes to any of the above then we think you should apply to
Product Design!
You have two options when applying to Product Design.
Option One:
Send in work you
already have.
Do this
Yes - simple as that! Often the best applicants are already doing things that could
make them great Product Design students. This could be through practical
hobbies, arts, crafts or work experience. Whether it’s modifying your bicycle,
sketching ideas for a new product, taking your smartphone apart or making a
piece of furniture for your room - these are all things that we like to see.
Does this sound like you? Then simply document your work and send it in.
Please also include relevant work from your current studies including DCG /
Leaving Cert Art / A level Art / BTEC / FETAC. Any 3D work should be presented
through photographs.
If you have completed the NCAD Portfolio Brief One for Common Entry/
Education and have included Product Design as one of your choices on the
CAO then we will assess your portfolio for entry to Product Design you don’t
need to do any thing else.
Brief Two: AD212 Product Design
Brief Two continues –
Option Two:
Follow this simple
design brief.
Do this
If you feel you don’t have the material for Option 1 or perhaps you want to take
on a new design challenge then this is the route for you.
The brief Design something that improves your journey to school. Whether it’s confusing
bus timetables, bicycle helmet hair, tangled headphone cables or uncomfortable
schoolbags - we want to hear about your design ideas for everyday problems
like these.
Step 1:
Do some research (3 x A3 worksheets)
Find out what the main problems are on the school journey. Ask your friends,
document your own journey or find examples of good and bad products. How
have other designers tackled these issues? Identify the problem that you are
going to try and solve or the opportunity you have uncovered.
Step 2:
Brainstorm! (4 x A3 worksheets)
Use your research to generate lots of ideas. Draw these in a sketchbook or make
simple models to develop your thoughts. Think about how your idea might
work, who would use it and what it would look like. Look at www.sketch-a-day.
com for inspiration on drawing technique.
Step 3:
Present your Design (2 x A3 worksheets
This is where you present your finished idea. Show us what’s great about your
design - how does it solve the problem you identified? This is also your opportunity to show what your design looks like, how and where it should be used and
how it’s made. You can use drawings, physical models or even a computer model
to show your idea.
Step 4:
Show us who or what inspires you (1 x A3 worksheet)
Present a range of images of designs or designers that inspire you. These can be
drawn, scanned images or online prints. Explain why each image means something to you. Check out for examples of some great product
design work.
Have a look online to see an example of a successful Product Design brief at:
Brief Two ends here.
Study at NCAD
What can I study at NCAD?
NCAD has a wide range of
undergraduate honours degrees
in Fine Art, Design, Education
and Visual Culture:
AD101 – First Year Art &
Design (Common Entry)
With degree options in:
Fashion Design, Jewellery &
Metalwork, Textile Surface
Design, Visual Communication.
Fine Art
Fine Print, Media, Painting,
Sculpture, Ceramics & Glass,
Textile Art & Artefact.
Design or Fine Art &
Visual Culture
A BA degree with one of the
degree options in either Design
or Fine Art and Visual Culture.
AD202 – Design or Fine Art
& Education (Second Level
A Joint honours degree in
Education and one of the
degree options in either
Design or Fine Art, leading
to a qualification to teach art
or design at second level.
AD212 – Product Design
Product Design at NCAD is
a studio based degree that
addresses all the stages and
activities involved in the creation
of a new product – from concept
AD215 – Visual Culture
design to manufacture, to
The BA Visual Culture at NCAD
prototyping and marketing.
is the study of the history and
theory of art and design in a
creative art school setting.
This course offers a route that
is not studio based for students
who aspire to careers in the
numerous professional sectors
which reside around the arts
and design, including arts
management, critical and
popular writing and interactive
and digital curation. There is
a work placement in Year 3.
Modules studied include
Contemporary Theories,
Professional Practice, Digital
Cultures, Curating Art & Design,
Culture and the Market.
This programme does not require
a portfolio submission.
The Application
Do all programmes at
NCAD require a portfolio
You will need to submit a
portfolio as part of the application process for the following
How Do I Apply To NCAD?
There are two parts to the
application process for NCAD.
1. CAO Application
All applications for full-time,
first year undergraduate study
must be made through the CAO
(Central Applications Office, using the NCAD
Course Code (AD). This application should be made by the
normal closing date of 1st
February each year.
2. Portfolio Submission
A portfolio submission is
required for all studio degrees at
NCAD (AD101/AD202/AD212).
The portfolio submission
deadline is the end of the first
week in February.
5.15pm Monday 1st February
4.30pm Friday 5th February
First Year Art & Design
(Common Entry)
Design or Fine Art & Education
(Second Level Teaching)
Can I make a late application
for NCAD?
NCAD Studio based programmes
are restricted, which means it
is not possible to make a late
BA Visual Culture does not
require a portfolio submission
and is not restricted. It is possible
to make a late application for
this programme.
Can I get an Extension on
the deadline for Portfolio
It is not possible to get an extension on the submission deadline
– all portfolios must be presented
by the published closing date.
Product Design
Visual Culture
You do not need to submit a
portfolio as part of the application process for AD215 Visual
Culture. Places in Visual Culture
are offered based on CAO points
calculated from final school
leaving exams (
The minimum points for entry
in 2014 were 355, the median
points were 405.
Important Note: It is important
to include all courses that you
wish to be considered for on your
CAO Application.
The Portfolio
When can I collect my
Portfolios can be collected from
NCAD for up to 3 weeks after the
end of the portfolio assessment.
You will be given information on
collection dates and times. If you
need to collect your portfolio
early please let us know and
we will arrange to have your
portfolio assessed and ready for
What should I include in
my portfolio for NCAD?
An entrance portfolio is a
collection of visual work that
shows your potential to study
art and design at third level.
We have provided guidelines that
set out clearly what is required in
terms of the volume and scope of
the work you should submit as
your portfolio.
The NCAD portfolio requirements are designed to reflect
the kind of projects students are
expected to do in First Year.
When should I bring my
portfolio to NCAD?
The deadline for submitting your
portfolio is 4.30 PM Friday 5th
February 2016. We will accept
portfolios any time in the two
weeks up to that date. If you need
to submit your portfolio earlier
please contact the Admissions
Office: [email protected]
Please note it is your responsibility to submit your portfolio on
time, we do not send reminders
about this date.
The address for portfolio
submission is:
The Admissions Office,
NCAD, 100 Thomas Street,
Dublin 8, Ireland.
How will my portfolio be
Criteria for Assessment for all
portfolio submissions:
Critical observation
You should demonstrate an ability to visually record, describe,
explain and analyse your subject
in response to a range of source
Visual research – Inventiveness and curiosity in research
You should demonstrate an
awareness and curiosity for
visual material that is of interest
to you: finding, collecting and
organising source material. These
can be documented in any visual
Creative Thinking
You should provide evidence of
a creative process in your work.
Where and how you have challenged yourself to look at things
differently? How were decisions
made and why? Your work
should show evidence of a lively
and engaged creative process.
Course Offers
When will I be told the
outcome of my portfolio
We will write to you by the end
of March with the result of your
portfolio assessment. This letter
will tell you if you have achieved
the necessary score for a condiCapacity to sustain work
tional offer. A conditional offer is
an offer that is dependent on you
You should demonstrate ability
meeting the minimum academic
to sustain the development of
entry requirements through
ideas through experimentation / your Leaving Certificate, FETAC
exploration of subject /sources in Award or other. If you do not get
a variety of circumstances.
a conditional offer we will tell
you if you are on a waiting list
In order to achieve a balanced
for an offer. Each year we make
measurement of the your general a number of offers to applicants
overall ability, all sections
from the waiting list.
of the portfolio submission are
assessed under the above criteria.
Being able to demonstrate some
ability for observation, research,
ideas development, use of media
and capacity to sustain work
applies to all sections of the
portfolio submission.
How are offers made?
Offers are made in August
through the CAO. All applicants
are placed on a ranked list based
on portfolio score. Offers are
made in descending order from
this list to applicants who have
met the minimum academic
entry requirements.
What are the minimum
academic entry requirements?
Information on minimum entry
requirements can be found at
NCAD reserves the right to call
any applicant to interview.
How can I find out more
about NCAD?
Web Site
Portfolio presentation
guidelines – For all portfolio
Your portfolio should be
presented flat within one
portfolio cover or folder. Items
submitted separately will not
be accepted.
Your portfolio should weigh less
than 10 kilos. (This is to make
handling easier for staff.)
If including sound or moving
images please ensure that all
video or audio files play on
NCAD College open day
Windows Media Player or Apple
Wednesday 25th November 2015
Quick Time Player. It is best to
Portfolio information sessions Your portfolio should be securely check the discs on a computer
November 7th, 10th, 11th
packaged but also easily opened other than the one on which they
were prepared. Digital work must
Further information will be
to be examined.
be submitted on DVD or CD only.
posted on the NCAD web site.
A maximum of two discs can be
Place your name, address and
submitted. Total running time of
Careers fairs /
CAO number on the top left
each digital file must not exceed
Information events
hand corner of your portfolio
two minutes. Digital work must
NCAD Staff attend all the main
cover. You should also label/
be clearly labelled and referenced
national and local careers fairs
mark your individual sheets
and information events that are
and note books in the same way. in the body of the portfolio. Do
not write in pencil or put stickers
held throughout the year.
or labels on discs. Use only
Present your work on A1/A2
permanent marker on the disc
white sheets or similar light
weight material. Avoid using
heavy boards, sugar paper or
mounting work on both sides
Your portfolio should be auof the sheet.
thenticated as your own work
by a third party such as a school
It is not necessary to put your
work in plastic portfolio pockets. principal, art teacher / tutor or
Any 3D work should be carefully another responsible person (not a
relative). Use the form at the back
photographed in a way that
of this booklet and remember to
clearly shows its scale, range of
include it with your portfolio.
materials and making process.
Remember to photograph your
made pieces from a variety of
angles to allow us to fully appreciate your making skills and
use of materials.
Do not include any material
that is framed in glass.
Do not include any material
that could leak, burst open or
be hazardous in any way.
Design by Red&Grey Design
Photography by Matthew Thompson
Check list for
AD101 First Year Art & Design
(Common Entry)
AD202 Design of Fine Art
& Education
AD212 Product Design
Each section of my portfolio
is clearly labelled including
any notebooks
I have included this number
of notebooks informing and
supporting my work on the
portfolio brief.
I have attended one of the
NCAD information evenings
Number of notebooks
I have attended the NCAD
open day
You must complete
this section and attach
it to the inside front
cover of your portfolio.
I have included a computer
Number of discs
Work authenticated by:
I have completed
Brief One AD 101/202
Position (ie principal,
teacher, tutor, other)
Brief Two AD 212
If yes, the disc(s) is for
Mac PC
Do not include any material that
could leak out, burst open or be
hazardous in any way.
Do not include any blades, or
medical items such as syringes,
condoms or tablets.
The college reserves the right to
visually document work from
applicant portfolios.
100 Thomas Street,
Dublin 8,
T: + 353 1 636 4200
F: + 353 1 636 4207
E: [email protected]
Undergraduate application
and portfolio submission
Important dates for entry
September 2016:
CAO Closing date: 5.15pm,
Monday, 1st February 2016
Portfolio submission
deadline: 4.30pm, Friday 5th
February 2016