Ready to embark on your creative journey? Wondering how to make your design school application stand out?
Starting a path toward a design career is thrilling and exciting. The process begins with a shining application. Whether your aim is to become an automotive designer, graphic designer, UX/UI designer, product designer, or other design professional, the first step is to build a standout application. In our competitive world of admissions, knowing what the right strategy is for designing school applications can make all the difference. Our world today is heavily defined by digital and technological growth, constant evolution, and innovation. Social media has changed the narrative of how we communicate with each other, and the impact of design has become more curial than ever.
Keeping in mind the current time and trends, your design school application needs a modern-day strategy that delves beyond just tailoring your application and showcasing your range of projects. It needs to bring in some digital innovations and modern tools that can highlight your application. Let’s unlock the secrets of a successful design application for our modern times:
In our digital age, applicants need to innovate and reflect their design abilities with an interactive and engaging portfolio. Instead of building a static one, consider an interactive one. Consider building your own website, or a multimedia presentation that allows the viewers to engage with your work. How can you achieve this?
> Example, try to not have summaries or descriptions, but your own voice-over on a video that reflects the journey of your project from ideation to finish. Design schools seek inherent creativity that is subtle yet shines. Build a narrative that takes the admission committee through a journey of your design.
>You can enhance the interaction by showcasing the use case of your design – how it solves a problem for someone in need. If it’s a product design portfolio, build a short video of a person using it and how they feel about the product.
> An engaging portfolio is one that flows seamlessly. Make sure you design your portfolio in a manner that the viewers are easily guided from one point to another.
>Make sure your creative portfolio is accessible on various screens and devices.
Highlight your design thinking
Many applicants are still unaware of the power of articulating their design thinking process. Make sure your personal statement reflects your design thinking.
What does this mean?
This entails a design applicant explaining the various stages they follow from their initial problem identification, and research to prototyping and implementation. When you build this section, highlight your ability to tackle design challenges effectively. Share the innovative solutions you came up with and the impact that had on your design. And let’s keep this interactive. Share diagrams, sketches, and infographics of your journey. Visual storytelling is key to engaging your viewers.
Trick you can apply to engage them further here:
>If you can add a barcode for them to view the journey on their mobile, do add that at the end of your personal statement or in your portfolio.
>Build your own YouTube channel where you can build a video library of your design process that sections ‘Design Thinking’ for your projects.
Many design schools host Open days for applicant’s parents and applicants to visit the campus, meet the dean, and interact with current students. For instance, Strate School of Design is known to host Open Day where both applicants and their parents are invited to meet the dean, faculty, and current students. Applicants can learn more about the design school and campus culture.
This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the design school and meet your potential faculty members. You can learn from them what they expect from the application process and build a personal connection with the faculty. It helps to gain a competitive edge over other applicants.
An additional tip for this: Design schools often host portfolio events where their present batch of student work is on showcase. This is another great way to understand the design school. Learn about its processes, meet your potential seniors to gather tips from their application journey, and build connections with faculty. If you have a social media page for your designs, make sure you share that with the students and faculty and connect with them on their socials.
Social media savvyness
In our digital age, we are living and breathing social media. As a design applicant, you need to share your ability to leverage social media platforms. Your Instagram profile can act as your social creative portfolio space where you let people interact and engage with your designs. Use this as a medium to gain perspective on your work and reflect on your application
A couple of quick tips:
>Share a short story in video format about how your social media engagement helped you accomplish your design project. Be it refining the project details or gaining knowledge from your audience.
>Showcase your ability to collaborate with your peers, and fellow designers and how you have collectively accomplished a design project.
Build your network on LinkedIn, a growing social media application that helps you build a professional network. This will showcase your digital savviness and expand your networking abilities.
Also read: Graphic Design trends dominating 2023 so far
Tech integration, sustainable innovation, and other interests
Our world is moving towards sustainable solutions to solve the world’s problems. Highlighting your eco-conscious design projects will show your dedication towards sustainability.
Have you worked on a concept that incorporated AR/VR or AI? Have you designed for underserved communities or worked with eco-friendly materials? Have you done an internship or worked as a freelancer?
Several schools and organizations are running STEM and STEAM programs for school students. If you have been part of one of these, share your journey and learning. Share about how you learned the art of integrating tech and sustainability into your design solutions and design thinking. How you learned to work with a team in a collaborative manner and how to build prototypes.
Be sure to mention your design-related side work or hobbies. Did you create a draft art for a video game or design a fun card game to play with friends? Are you an illustrator for your own blog or for your friends? These are significant factors for your design school application and reflect genuine passion.
Highlight your distinctive and multi-disciplinary interests. For example, design schools will be eager to learn how you are able to integrate your passion for design with your passion for music, astronomy, or psychology.
Keep in mind building a video process journal and an interactive introduction video. Briefly discuss your participation in the number of design challenges and/or design hackathons.
Embark on your design journey with these modern-day niche tips to enhance your design school application. Goodluck!