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Portfolio & Interview Requirements

Billy Blue College of Design

Putting together a portfolio

If you are applying for any Billy Blue degree or diploma, and did not meet the Academic Entry Requirements you may be asked to submit a design portfolio (Special Entry) of 6-10 pieces of original creative work, at the request of a Billy Blue Course and Career Advisor. This can be work you’ve produced already for school, for prior study, for work, or as a personal creative project. See below for some portfolio guidelines.

guidelines to help you decide what types of work to include:

Suggested portfolio pieces What we expect
Hand drawings
(e.g. pencil, pen, pastel)

All hand drawn submissions should indicate your ability to observe and draw in a range of styles, to convey light and shade, volume, texture and perspective.

Extra information for Digital Media applicants:

  • Drawings that show the development of original characters, objects and/or environments are desirable (but not essential). These can be realistic or stylised.
  • You can include any other examples of drawing to develop/plan/organise ideas, concepts, information or stories are welcome - for example storyboards, flow-boards, diagrams etc.

Extra information for Branded Fashion applicants:

  • Drawings should be at least A4 and should show a variety of subjects such as faces, figures and embellishments such as decorative motifs. They should be very realistic to indicate your ability to observe and draw in a realistic manner. A small descriptive paragraph about each drawing should also be included.
Other artworks
(including but not limited to paintings, collages, sculpture)
All other artwork, paintings, collages, sculptures etc should provide evidence of your creativity and skill in image-making and/or object-making.

Extra information for Branded Fashion applicants:

  • Your artworks can have a narrative or can be abstract to indicate a mood, colour or trend. This is to show your ability to lay out disparate elements into a cohesive narrative story. A small paragraph should also be written explaining the narrative, the mood and/or the process.
Photographs These can be black and white or colour and must show your ability to capture a theme, or mood. The photographs can have a narrative or abstract subject composition however they should have a high level of aesthetics. A small paragraph should be written explaining the narrative, the mood and/or the process. In addition something needs to be said about the framing and the reason for the image.
Digital graphic design work
(including but not limited to posters, flyers, invitations, business cards)
This includes computer-generated graphic design work, with a variety of content, incorporating text/typography along with image elements. Include a small paragraph about the software used in the development of the image and the reasons for your choice of typographic approach, composition/arrangement, choice of images and use of colour.
Any additional material
(including experimental and/or unfinished ‘work-in-progress’)
This includes any other creative work that provides evidence of your creativity and skill. Remember that unfinished work-in-progress can still represent your ability to generate creative ideas – so, while your portfolio should certainly include some finished work, not everything you include has to be finished.

Extra information for Digital Media applicants:

  • Evidence of non-visual creative work is welcome (but not essential), for example music/audio creation or creative writing. Specific examples of digital media design work that relate to the course you are applying for are not required – for example, you do not need to have already created some 3D animation to apply for the 3D Design and Animation degree. If you have, we’d love to see it, but if you haven’t, don’t worry (that’s what you’re coming to learn, after all) just show us other examples of your creativity!

Extra information for Branded Fashion applicants:

  • Please don’t submit clothing pieces - instead show us other examples of your work as mentioned.

How to decide what to include

You don’t need to have absolutely every type of work that we’ve listed represented in your portfolio. But showing a range of styles and skills is good. Whatever you include, be prepared to talk about the thought-process and influences that have played a part in shaping your work, as well as the skills and techniques you used, and what you learnt from the creative process.

And just so you know, here is the specific criteria we consider when we assess your portfolio for entry:

  • Your understanding of, and interest in your chosen field of design
  • Your ability to experiment through media, imagery, concept
  • Your ability to articulate the impetus for/reasoning behind each portfolio work – That is, the verbal (written or spoken) articulation of your ideas, influences and concept
  • Evidence of creative thinking/imagination within the visualisations and/or designs
  • Originality of ideas, concepts, techniques.

What happens if I don’t meet the portfolio criteria, or if I don’t have enough work to submit a portfolio?

If your portfolio is assessed as not meeting the criteria, from our perspective that simply means it’s not there yet. We will advise you on what you can do to improve your portfolio, and once you’ve worked on it, we would encourage you to reapply. We may also recommend that you look at taking the 13 week Certificate III in Design Fundamentals, as this one-trimester course has been designed specifically to help students get their entry portfolio up to scratch. Plus, while you’re working on your portfolio you get a first-hand taste of life as a Billy Blue student.

Attending a Billy Blue interview

If you are asked to attend an interview as part of your application, don’t be worried! We try to meet with everyone who applies for our courses and we simply want to know more about you. Your interview is an opportunity to talk about and explain your portfolio work. Be prepared for questions - but also come along with questions for us! (You can interview us at the same time.) We want to make sure you leave the session with all of your course questions answered, and feeling like you’ve found the right study-fit for your career goals.

What to expect

Just as with the portfolio, we have some specific criteria that we consider when we meet you for an interview. There are no surprises or trick questions! Here is what we are looking for:

You will need to demonstrate most or all of the following criteria in your interview.

Our criteria Signs we look for Examples from you
Preparation Prior educational experience / ability to commit to study
  • Knowledge of course requirements
  • Aware of the workload/time required for study
  • Consideration to current lifestyle
  • Prior achievement to study
  • Attendance at an open day
  • Reference to specific subjects you are interested in
  • Reference to workload management
  • Realistic expectations about time needed for study (whether fulltime or part-time)
  • Demonstrated success in prior study
  • Access to necessary equipment (including internet and computer)
Expectation Relevance of the course to student’s desired outcome or career goal
  • Study goals and personal goals discussed
  • Articulation of motivation to succeed
  • Desire to learn about chosen specialisation
  • Desire to formalise current knowledge/ interest
  • Desire to participate in current industry
Experience Existing knowledge of or interest in the area of study
  • Achievement in related formal or informal studies
  • Exposure to the area e.g. hobby or interest
  • Evidence of knowledge developed through experience
  • Ability to articulate your motivation for choosing a career path in this particular specialist area
  • Previous study or personal endeavours within your chosen specialisation
  • Attendance at related workshops/expos/exhibitions etc
  • Voluntary or paid work in the design or related industries.
Communication Communication skills, including ability to navigate the technical environment
  • Ability to articulate thoughts and relate points logically
  • Interview performance that reveals your capability in interpersonal communication skills in the English language.

What happens if I don’t meet the interview criteria?

After your interview, if we don’t think you’ve provided enough evidence of adequate preparation, experience and communication, we’ll tell you. We might then ask you to provide additional information, and/or maybe to do a little more preparation and then come back for another go. If you’ve got the talent, we’re on your side, and we want to help and guide you towards the best study pathway for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have previously studied or worked in the design industry, you may be eligible to receive a subject exemption that can potentially shorten the length of your Billy Blue degree. Read more about recognition of prior learning.

Billy Blue College of Design has recognised pathways to help you gain entry into our Bachelor Degrees based on the criteria you are able to meet. Explore your pathway options

If you have met the ATAR (or equivalent) entry requirement for the course, you do not need to submit a design portfolio.

If you cannot meet the ATAR requirement and do not have a portfolio, you will then need to show evidence of undertaking prior industry/work experience OR have completed or partially completed study from an accredited institution to gain entry into the course. Please contact one of our Course and Career Advisors for more information on 1300 851 245.

We offer several entrance pathway options for students who have not completed a High School Certificate or equivalent. For some courses entry can be achieved by undertaking a Diploma course first (pathway criteria applies), and on successful completion of the Diploma you can then credit this study towards completion of a degree. For other courses we have created pathways with one of our partners - CATC Design School. CATC is a successful vocational sector design school where students graduate with excellent hands-on, industry relevant skills. Mature aged students (aged 21 or over) are also welcome to apply directly to Billy Blue based on work experience and an existing portfolio. Read more about recognition of prior learning. For more information on the CATC Design School pathway or about applying directly please ask a Course and Careers Adviser.

Visit our Portfolio Requirements section for guidance on what to include in your application portfolio.

If you are an eligible Australian student fee-help is available for all Bachelor Degrees so you can defer your fees and pay later. International students need to pay each trimester in full before it starts. Learn more about fees here. The only course that fee-help is not available for is the Certificate III in Design Fundamentals. Students need to pay for this one-trimester course in full before it starts.

Yes, most definitely! Up to 85% of our graduates end up working in the design and creative industries. While you are studying you will get the chance to gain real work experience, and when you graduate you will have a professional portfolio and be prepared for the workforce. We also have a graduation exhibition that is well attended by top professionals in the design and creative industries. In fact, students have been known to get a call from a prospective employer within weeks of the graduate exhibition.