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Portfolio Review (NA)

The Portfolio Review is no longer a requirement in the Communication Design major.


This is mandatory for all Communication Design students who entered Buffalo State Fall 2013 or earlier without the Art Test option AND took DES270 Visual Communications 1 in the Spring of 2015 or were deferred in the Portfolio Review, Spring 2015.

Students who entered the Communication Design program in the Fall of 2013 semester had two options.
All students entering the Communication Design program after that date must submit the Art Test for entry into the major.

Option 1: The student may stay in the current program and take the Portfolio Review the semester following DES270 Visual Communications - as is presently the case. The student must maintain a GPA of 2.75 or greater in the major.
Option 2: The student may submit the Art Test, available from Buffalo State admissions or here. If the student passes the Art Test they are exempt from the Portfolio Review. The student must maintain a GPA of 2.75 or greater in the major. The Art Test . If the student does not pass the Art Test, then they default back to Option 1 FOR THIS TRANSITIONAL SEMESTER ONLY.

The Portfolio Review is scheduled every semester just before registration for the next semester. Notices are posted in the Communication Design wing on the ground floor of Upton Hall. Be on time; there will be a short presentation and paperwork that you must fill out.

Passing the portfolio review is a prerequisite for being formally admitted into the major. The portfolio review provides faculty in the Communication Design program an opportunity to critically evaluate your work.

When must I take the review?

You must take the review the semester after completing DES270:Visual Communications I.

When is the portfolio review given?

The portfolio review is given each semester around midterm, a few weeks before pre-registration for the following semester. The review is always on a Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in room UH215. You must show up for the review on time. You will be filling out some paperwork and leaving your portfolio. Portfolios need to be picked up Monday morning at 8:30 A.M. Your results will be available in the Design Office. The department secretary will have an envelope for you with your name on it.

What happens if I pass the review?

You will be formally admitted into the major (B.F.A.). The paperwork takes about three weeks to process.

What happens if I do not pass the review?

You cannot take additional coursework in the major. If this is your first time taking the review, you have till the next review to re-work your portfolio.

If I do not pass the review, can I get input from a faculty member(s)?

Yes. Ask them to schedule a meeting with you to review your work. Make your appointment ASAP. Do not wait till the week before the next review to meet with faculty members.

What happens if I do not take the review when I am supposed to?

You will automatically be deferred and cannot take additional coursework in the major.

What happens if I do not pass the review and do not take the review again the next semester?

You can no longer take the review and will need to consider another course of study.

Do I need to have completed all of my coursework in the foundation sequence before taking the review?

No. Some students may get closed out of one or two classes and are advised to take DES270: Visual Communications I. You must take the review.

Will this count against me if I do not show work from courses that I was unable to take?

No. We will see that on the paperwork you will be filling out. Put additional samples of work from courses that you have completed, especially DES270: Visual Communications I.

What should go into my portfolio?

Three to four assignments (select your best work) from the following foundation courses:

DES101 Intro to 2D1
DES102 Intro to 2D2
DES103 Intro to 3D1
DES277 Computer Graphics I
Include at least 4 assignments from DES270: Visual Communications I.

Note:All two-dimensional work should be originals.

Students who have taken additional design and/or fine arts courses (DES271: Lettering and Typography, DES380: Illustration, DES307: Color Theory, FAR220: Photography, etc.) should include at least 4 samples from each of these courses.

If I am a transfer student should I be submitting work from comparable courses?


How should I present my work?

You can have loose samples of your work in a portfolio case or large portfolio envelope. A binder is not required. The samples should be neatly presented. It is a good idea to flap you work with black cover stock and/or tracing paper to protect it.

Should I label my pieces?

It is not necessary to label your pieces, but you can do so if you like. We have seen many portfolios and can recognize individual class assignments.

What about 3D work from DES103?

If the work is too large or fragile to bring in, submit 5x7 photo prints or 35mm slides in a plastic sheet.

Should I include freelance work?

No, as most freelance work is directed by another individual or agency.

Should I include samples that I have worked on outside of class assignments?

Yes. Label any samples that you have worked on independently "self generated assignment."

What criteria is the faculty using to evaluate my portfolio?

Student work is evaluated on the basis of its conceptual, aesthetic, and technical qualities. The faculty will be evaluating:

  • Application of principles discussed in each course to the design problem.
  • Aesthetics/quality of formal aspects of design
  • Innovation/strength and uniqueness of concepts and ideas
  • Experimentation/depth of exploration
  • Craft/aesthetics of the presentation

If you have any additional questions you may contact the Design Department or one of your Communication Design Instructors.

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Buffalo State •  1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Upton Hall 402
Buffalo, NY 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-6032 •  Fax: (716) 878-4231