Key Information

Subject: Arts/Portfolio Preparation

Credit?: No

Eligibility: Students must be in penultimate year of high school (aged 16-17)

Language requirements: Evidence of English language ability equivalent to IELTS 5.5

Start date: 12 July 2021

Length: 3 weeks

Contact hours: 45

Course fee: £4,047

Application deadline: 20 June 2021 (Midnight - BST)

Course Description

The Design Foundation course is open to students in the penultimate year of high school and interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree course in Design.

Submitting a portfolio is now an important part of most university applications for courses such as Animation, Graphic Design, and Illustration. This three-week online course offers students an opportunity to begin curating a personal portfolio around visual communication design.

The Pre-University: Design course is immersive and designed to emulate the everyday realities of attending a university design course through synchronous online learning. Students will be able to embrace the responsibility of creative freedom, gain an in-depth understanding of the creative practice and learn how to develop ideas into to practice.

The course will introduce students to

  • the design process and workflow

  • creative tools and techniques

  • development of individual communication and presentation skills

Tutorials and individualised feedback will guide students to identify their strengths and hone skills in their field of interest.

Students will be part of a series of creative skill-building seminars such as maintaining a sketchbook, contextual research, and documentation. Seminars will also introduce students to studio culture and group critique which are vital to any specialised design study at university.

Using Adobe Creative Cloud software, students will explore illustration and image-making, digital animation, and typography.

During the course, students will be expected to continue developing their assigned projects on their own time to share during group tutorials. By the end of the course, students will have a self-developed design portfolio which will offer them an opportunity to focus on their particular design interests.


Week 1:

Introduction to the Course and 'A Designer's Sketchbook'

Students will begin developing individual sketchbooks while considering visual style, materials, and process.

Illustration & Image Making

These seminars will introduce students to digital media and techniques to develop an illustration project. Students will be introduced to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator through practical hands-on demonstrations to learn pixel-based image creation.

Week 2: 

Digital Animation

The week is dedicated to learning the basic techniques and approaches to digital animation to develop creative ideas through the moving image. Students will learn the principles of animation and the workflow, how to use a layered Photoshop composition in After Effects, and work with digital animation tools to create the illusion of movement in a short sequence.

Week 3:

Working with Type & Image

An introduction to the importance of typography and lettering in effective visual communication and identity design.

Documenting Design

Students will learn to document, edit, annotate and compose a digital design portfolio to visually present and communicate their creative skills and techniques. 

Final Presentation + Feedback

Students will share the design projects developed during the course through individual presentations of a curated design portfolio.

University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh University, one of the world's top universities, is a famous public research university in the UK. It is located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Founded in 1583, it is the sixth oldest university in English speaking countries.