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graphic design portfolio query

I'm hoping to study graphic design at Bristol UWE and am unsure on what is expected of me in regards to my portfolio. Do I need to buy adobe creative cloud? Build a website to display my portfolio? I'm very passionate about graphic design however I don't have a subscription to any of the adobe apps and am asking if it's necessary/advised before making the purchase to end up not actually needing it (it's so expensive!)
Original post by oliverlees
I'm hoping to study graphic design at Bristol UWE and am unsure on what is expected of me in regards to my portfolio. Do I need to buy adobe creative cloud? Build a website to display my portfolio? I'm very passionate about graphic design however I don't have a subscription to any of the adobe apps and am asking if it's necessary/advised before making the purchase to end up not actually needing it (it's so expensive!)


Hi- I don’t know what the Adobe platforms are like however I believe it is just up to what you like the look of the best? I simply used drop box which was required from Kingston Art foundation diploma.

To compose my pages I used a mixture of powerpoint ( for title pages with text only) and PhotoPea for creating pages with pictures, you can add text and so on… It’s essentially a free Photoshop. Using these got me an unconditional offer!

It really is just up to you but I would recommend using PhotoPea!
Reply 2
Original post by carlabailey


Hi- I don’t know what the Adobe platforms are like however I believe it is just up to what you like the look of the best? I simply used drop box which was required from Kingston Art foundation diploma.

To compose my pages I used a mixture of powerpoint ( for title pages with text only) and PhotoPea for creating pages with pictures, you can add text and so on… It’s essentially a free Photoshop. Using these got me an unconditional offer!

It really is just up to you but I would recommend using PhotoPea!


Thank you!
Hey @oliverlees!

Most graphic design courses won't expect you to purchase Adobe Creative Cloud just to apply - using more accessible resources such as Canva, PowerPoint and PhotoPea is absolutely fine. After all, you're applying to the course to learn, so your portfolio should more be about demonstrating your thinking processes and interests rather than showing off what software you can already use.

Long-term (and hopefully once you get an offer!), Adobe Creative Cloud is a great resource for graphic designers: but as you said, it is expensive, and I would make sure to read up on what applications Bristol UWE offers to graphic design students before committing. I know a few universities (such as Kingston) give their students free access to Adobe Creative Cloud once they're enrolled, so it could be a waste of money to invest in an app only to have the option of getting it for free a few months down the line.

Best of luck with your application! 🙂

Eve (Kingston Rep).
(edited 1 month ago)
What have you been creating graphic design on up until now? It's fine to create pieces of work without Adobe software, but if you want to get into UWE (which is relatively selective because it's in a cool/popular city) you'd stand a higher chance if you did have some basic skills in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Creating a portfolio in Powerpoint, or website template system like Wix is absolutely fine.

If you have been using Adobe software at school/college, why would you need to buy it yourself? Just carry on using it there. As someone else said, Unis offer students full access to students - either to install on their own machines (much better!) or to use on campus.
hi, don’t worry you definitely don’t need it! most unis just want to see how you use the resources you have available to you to create work. as for portfolio submissions, all of them are done either on a slideshow you put together yourself, or through the unis own website. i’m not sure about bristol but they’ll be similar
Reply 6
Original post by insidedesigner
What have you been creating graphic design on up until now? It's fine to create pieces of work without Adobe software, but if you want to get into UWE (which is relatively selective because it's in a cool/popular city) you'd stand a higher chance if you did have some basic skills in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Creating a portfolio in Powerpoint, or website template system like Wix is absolutely fine.

If you have been using Adobe software at school/college, why would you need to buy it yourself? Just carry on using it there. As someone else said, Unis offer students full access to students - either to install on their own machines (much better!) or to use on campus.


I actually had never done graphic design before around a month ago but I had procreate on my phone to do similar things with, which is stressing me out a bit as I’m having to learn it all new haha, enjoying the process though!
Unless they're desperate for students, you're unlikely to get a place at UWE if you only started doing graphic design recently. Typically, students being offered places will have studied graphic design at college (A Level or BTEC) and quite possibly will have studied a foundation year too. There's more info about those in the thread pinned to the top of this section.

If you're convinced you want to study at UWE, then definitely research local foundation courses to you. However, once you've done a foundation year, you might well find that UWE isn't the right course for you. Don't rush into accepting a place at a Uni this year, take your time and you're more likely to find the right degree course.

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