• CSM BA Graphic Communication Design
  • LCC BA Advertising
  • LCC BA Graphic Branding & Identity
  • LCC BA Graphic Media Design

Portfolio Planning

CSM Open Day


Today we were taken on a tour of the Kings Cross campus of Central Saint Martins. The tour was led by a BA GCD student currently in her second year. We were given the opportunity to look at their studios, classes and the facilities that were available to CSM students. Although I have been to CSM numerous times, I have never been able to fully explore the facilities that CSM provides. These include: the large format & specialist printing studio, the letterpress studio, 3D printing, laser cutting, photography studios (and the smaller photography sets around campus), wood workshop and metal workshop. I especially enjoyed looking at the classes and studios that the BA GCD students worked in because of the character that showed in the space. Our tour guide told us that the random signs placed everywhere in the studios were either found or stolen, and have become a signature of the GCD course. I thought that this was so interesting and I liked that the course was filled with its own antics.

Peter Hall, the course leader of BA GCD gave a short presentation about the details of this course. He explained that in the new structure of the course, the course is divided into a number of “pathways” of graphic communication design. During the first year, we were allowed to explore and integrate our practices between more than one specific pathway – allowing for an interesting approach to the live briefs. I do like that we are given the freedom to be able to dabble between multiple working processes, especially because I want to focus on branding & advertising, I think that incorporating different processes while creating a specific concept or advertisement will be challenging and allow me to work out of my comfort zone.

CSM Interveiw


After the selection activity at CSM, I had the opportunity to speak with a tutor, Rebecca Wright, the program director of the BA Graphic Communication Design course at CSM. I asked her about specifically working within the advertising & branding pathway in the course. She spoke about how the course allows students to work in two different pathways, because there are students who prefer to be experimental and work within a lot of pathways before deciding on a specific pathway. However, there are also students who already know the specific pathway they want to focus on and prefer to work within that platform. Furthermore, Rebecca also mentioned that especially within the advertising & branding pathway, students are often given live briefs to work on from different companies and brands. Also, among the briefs given, students have the chance to be able to choose the briefs that they would like to work on. Unlike the foundation course, where students must respond to one brief every project, I think that allowing students to choose their own brief allows more freedom and more room to explore projects that suit their interests. However, with the extent of freedom that is given to students in the CSM BA GCD course, how will I be able to decide the specific pathway that I want to focus on? Will it become harder to work within restraints and boundaries like in the professional world?


LCC Tour


On the day of interviews, while the tutors were assessing our portfolios, we were given a tour of the LCC campus by current students. A second year film and television student led the tour and gave us a student’s perspective of the campus. We were taken to see the many workshops and studios that LCC has, including, the digital printing workshops, screen-printing workshop, letterpress workshop, binding workshop, photography studios, dark rooms, the library, and the computer lab. Since it was my first time at LCC, I was amazed and overwhelmed by the amount of facilities that they provide for students. I was especially impressed by the letterpress and digital printing workshops there. Being in an environment with complete and professional facilities definitely encourages me to create work using these traditional methods. Our tour leader also mentioned that the tutors and practitioners at these workshops are very helpful, so he does urge everyone to make use of the facilities at LCC. Furthermore, while I was touring the campus, when we entered the computer lab, there happened to be a workshop on Adobe Premier. Our tour leader said that software workshops are available a few days a week, so I was very interested in that. Because I am not familiar with the Adobe Premiere software, I thought that the workshops available for different levels of ability sounds very helpful.

Overall, the LCC environment is a very stimulating and motivating atmosphere, however, compared to CSM, I thought that the building was rather confusing, cramped and closed-off. I do prefer a larger space where I am able to see the classes. I thought that the campus was a confusing flurry of hallway after hallway, but this could possibly be because I am not familiar with the campus itself.

LCC Interview


Before the tutors assessed our portfolios, we were given the chance to speak with a tutor of our desired course. I spoke with a tutor from the BA Advertising course at LCC, Adrian Crookes. Adrian Crookes is the Programme Director for the Communications and Media courses at London College of Communication. He explained that the course was based on 50% creativity and 50% marketing, which I thought was a good balance. When I asked about the career opportunities while studying this course, he mentioned that students have been recently asked by Colgate to create an advertising concept. Some other students have also worked with Mediacom. In my opinion, one of the most important factors of choosing a course are the career and industry experiences that the course is able to give students. The tutor also mentioned that live briefs are often given to students, with feedback given directly from the associated company or brand. In terms of working directly with the advertising industry, I do think that this course is suitable for me to be able to transition into working in the advertising industry. However, I do question the extent of our freedom and creativity in this course. CSM is known for being open-minded and extremely out of the box – pushing the boundaries of graphic design, but does LCC offer the same? I start to question whether I want to create work that is more creative or commercial.