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Thread: Non-design backgrounds welcome: design portfolio required

  1. #1
    Feb 2008
    New England

    Non-design backgrounds welcome: design portfolio required

    I've seen something to the effect of "the graduate program accommodates persons with or without a design background and encourages applications from persons with diverse backgrounds" on several MLA admissions pages.

    And then right below that they talk about how a portfolio of visual design is required.

    I understand the significance of design skills to MLA programs, but I'm curious how they expect non-design background applicants to develop a portfolio when they...ya know...don't have a design background.

    Why do they expect that even non-design background people can pull together a portfolio of design work?

    A biographical note: In the name of full disclosure, I don't have a visual design background, but I have an artistic background in music and a conceptual background in philosophy that I'd think would be appropriate beginning points for visual design.

    Moderator note:
    ~Gedunker~ Please use descriptive thread titles in the professional subforums. Thread title edited. Thank you and carry on!
    Last edited by Gedunker; 30 Aug 2008 at 9:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Feb 2008
    Berkeley, CA
    when they say non-design background, they mean non-FORMAL design background (a college major). many/most MLA programs expect you to have taken a class on free-hand drawing or sculpture or something to that effect before you get in, though (and you should, so you can at least have some foundation skills to build on when you actually get in) ... you should include work from that. but even if not, many people without formal design backgrounds are artistic. my friend, who studies math, is an amazing drawer in his free time. i think he would be the poster child of an artistic non-design background person.

    all that being said, they don't expect you to be picasso. what they look for in the portfolio of a non-designer is evidence of creativity and promise for good original work (good taste, an eye for details). so while it's good to have the skills, i think content is more important than form in this case. i've met quite a few people who had great artistic ability but who didn't get into the schools they wanted to because there was a sense of creativity missing from their work (cheesy, unoriginal subjects, etc)

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