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Product Design interview and portfolio advice

If you're applying to our BA (Hons) Product Design or BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design course, your interview is a key part of your application. Your interview is more than us assessing your suitability for the course, it's your chance to find out if we're the right fit for you.

Katy Thomas

Everything you need to know

When it comes to preparing for an interview, we know there's a lot to think about! We've pulled together some frequently asked questions to give you a better understanding of what to expect from an interview at NTU.

  • Where will my interview take place?

    You should report to the Maudslay building reception on our City Campus to sign in for your interview. Prior to your interview you'll receive an interview pack through the post outlining the details of where to go on the day.

  • What time should I arrive at the University?

    Please arrive ten minutes before your confirmed interview slot and ensure that you bring your interview appointment letter with you.

  • How long will my interview last?

    You should allow for a maximum of two and a half hours for your interview visit.

  • What can I expect on the day?

    Getting to know you and your passion for your subject area is really important to us. Equally, we want to you to walk away from your interview day having had all of your questions answered - whether they are about your course, accommodation or general life at NTU.

    As well as your interview with members of our subject teaching team, you'll be able to tour our workshops and facilities during your visit. As interviews happen during term time our accommodation won't be open to view, but you're welcome to visit us again for an open day, when an accommodation drop-in is offered.

  • Are refreshments available?

    A wide range of refreshments and snacks are available from our Taste outlets across the City Campus, including our Newton, Arkwright and Bonington cafés.

  • What should I wear?

    We want you to feel as comfortable as possible, so please come dressed in smart/casual attire.

  • Can I bring my parents to the interview?

    Yes, you’re welcome to bring your parents with you to your interview.

  • Is there parking available?

    The closest car parks to the City Campus are Trinity Square £4.40 - £15 (NG1 4BT), Talbot Street £2 - £16 (NG1 5GG), or the Victoria Centre £3.70 - £15 (NG1 3QN). There are also multiple public transport options. Visit for more information.

  • What if I can't make my allocated interview slot?

    We strongly recommend you make every effort to attend your allocated interview slot, however, we understand sometimes plans can't be changed. Whilst we will do our best to accommodate date changes, due to the volume of students, this cannot be guaranteed. Please contact if you are unable to attend.

    If you do not wish to accept the offer of an interview, please let us know as soon as possible so that we are able to offer the place to another candidate.

  • What happens if I fail to attend my interview without explanation?

    If you don’t attend your interview we’ll assume that you no longer wish to be considered. We’ll notify UCAS of your non-attendance and you’ll receive an unsuccessful decision via UCAS Track.

Interview and portfolio advice

  • What will my interview consist of?

    Your interview visit will consist of a meeting with members of our subject teaching team, where you'll have the opportunity to present your portfolio, and a tour of our facilities and workshops.

    During your interview, we'll chat about your queries relating to the course structure, NTU, Nottingham city or university life in general and, through your portfolio, we'll be able to find out how we can support you in your aspirations as a designer.

    What matters most at this stage is your potential and passion for the subject - so make sure you let us know why you think you should be on the course!

  • How shall I prepare for my interview?

    During the interview, we'll be looking for key competencies in a number of areas. You may find it useful to consider these in your preparations.


    • A good knowledge of the course and an understanding of its specific features
    • Well informed reasons for your decision to study this course
    • A high level of enthusiasm for the subject and ideas about your career goals.

    Critical understanding

    • Evidence of critical thinking and knowledge of visual cultures
    • An awareness of contemporary art and design issues related to product design
    • An interest in exploring the wider context of design industries.

    Communication skills

    • An ability to articulate your ideas and opinions verbally
    • Good interpersonal skills, including listening and questioning.

  • What should I include in my portfolio?

    Your portfolio is your best opportunity to discuss your skills, interests and personal philosophies. It's your chance to demonstrate your passion as well as your creativity and individual approach to the subject.

    In your portfolio we'd like to see examples of project work that you've recently undertaken, so that we can get an idea of the breadth of your critical understanding, your range of competencies within the field of design, and how you navigate the design process.

    We understanding your portfolio is unique to you as a creative individual, however we've compiled a handy checklist of things you should consider.

    • Evidence of the development of a good quality design project from initial ideas through to finalised concept including examples of sketch work, prototypes and a visualisation of the final project outcome
    • Any art, design or technology related work you've undertaken
    • Images from your sketchbook
    • Photographs of models or 3D work you have produced
    • Use of computer aided design (CAD) software to develop or visualise your ideas
    • Research sheets / idea development sheets.

    What we're looking for in your portfolio

    • A range of quality visual concepts that demonstrate a high level of innovative thinking
    • Good presentation and the ability to visualise and present ideas
    • Your ability to handle a variety of technologies, materials and processes.
    • Evidence of experimentation in a range of visual medias
    • Good observation skills in drawing.

After the interview

  • When will I know the outcome of my interview?

    We aim to get back to you with a final decision within three working days. You will need to check your UCAS Track to view the outcome.

  • How do I request feedback?

    If you are unsuccessful you will be informed why through UCAS Track. If you would like further details please put your request in writing to and the interview panel will be happy to provide you with some more feedback.

Have any more questions?

If you'd like some more advice on creating your portfolio, join one of our upcoming live chats. This is the perfect opportunity to ask current students about producing a portfolio. Set a reminder to join the conversation.

Alternatively you can email and someone from the team will get back to you.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418