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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 and portfolio are key parts of your application. Take a look at our top tips for them both.

Everything you need to know

As part of the application process you'll be invited to interview with our academic teaching team at the University. An important part of your interview will be presenting your portfolio.

We understand your experience will be unique to you as a creative individual, but we've pulled together some useful advice to give you a better understanding of what to expect and what we're looking for.

Watch our portfolio advice video
Get some top tips for your portfolio

Inspire us!

Your interview and portfolio represent your best opportunity to exhibit your creative identity, creativity and individual approach to product design, and demonstrate your passion for the subject.

Preparing for your interview

  • What to expect in your interview

    Your interview is nothing to be afraid of – its purpose is for you to learn as much about us as we learn about you.

    Your interview visit will last for up to two and a half hours during which time you'll have the opportunity to present your portfolio.

    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!

  • What we're looking for

    During the interview, we'll be observing a number of important things.


    • 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 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 within which product design operates.

    Communication skills

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

How to prepare your portfolio

  • What you should include

    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.

    • 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 work

    • 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.

    Due to the fact that some applicants have worked on more design-focused projects than others, your focus may vary. What matters most is your potential and passion for the subject.

Have any questions?

If there's anything you'd like to discuss, you can email and someone from the team will get back to you.

Alternatively, you can contact our Admissions team on +44 (0)115 848 4200 or

Hear from our students

BA Product Design student Ella Stephenson

"The course staff are extremely helpful and have been supportive throughout my studies. They have helped me in my transition between the course I used to study and this one – giving me extra support when I need it – and guided me through my projects whilst still allowing me to come up with the ideas to drive them forward."

Ella Stephenson, BA (Hons) Product Design

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418