Last week I took part in a 'portfolio surgery' for the third (and final) year group on the Visual Communications degree at BIAD, BCU. With a whole host of 'patients', I was one of five surgeons including representatives from Type, Surely?, Clusta and One Black Bear. Over the course of the morning I managed to talk with a dozen or so students, each at very different stages of their final major projects and with portfolios at various levels of completion. Whilst some were a way off a polished final piece, the standard of the work contained within was refreshingly original and quality of finish very high. Without wanting to sound like a very old man, things have clearly moved on since I graduated from the course seven years ago, and I'm sure, any one of the people I saw would have shone in my year group.
Understandably, many of the students still weren't 100% sure where in the creative industries they were destined, however, for the most part, all could communicate their projects clearly. There seemed to be an incredible amount of enthusiasm for what they were doing and a positive self-confidence.
The Visual Communications course has a very wide remit and graduates leave going on to marketing, photography, illustration, advertising and even fine art. The very graphic/type-based students where, for me, the easiest to gauge potential, however the art of building the perfect portfolio is still incredibly difficult and one that few agencies can perfect – It's certainly something we find is a time consuming and never ending process.
The final shows take place mid-June – I'm looking forward to seeing the final outcomes.