Admissions ID

Entrance Portfolio

The Industrial Design program requires an entrance portfolio submission in order to declare as a pre-major in Industrial Design. Students apply to the Industrial Design program after acceptance to the university.  A portfolio is a collection of an applicant's best creative work, revealing the applicant's creative skills and presented as professionally as possible. This initial screening process helps to determine a candidate's potential for success within the program. In order to maintain academic program quality in relation to faculty, staff and facilities, the program limits the number of applicants admitted. The school reserves the right to be the sole judge of who shall be accepted into the program.  On average, the program accepts 24 pre-majors annually.  Historically, 80-110 students apply every year.  Portfolio tips, instructions, and examples are at the bottom of this page. 

Submission Deadlines

Portfolios will be reviewed by an Industrial Design committee three times per year; once per quarter. Students should submit their portfolio the quarter before they plan to start at WWU.  For example, for incoming Freshman their first opportunity to apply will be during spring quarter or the April deadline of their senior year in high school. Students who have not heard from WWU Admissions regarding university acceptance should still submit an Entrance Portfolio by the due date below. Please indicate on your ID application that you have applied and are waiting for a determination.

October 22 to begin winter quarter

January 21 to begin spring quarter

April 6 to begin fall quarter

Three ID students sitting on a couch together
An ID project of a children's toy
A black and white image of the 2019 graduating class

Entrance Portfolio Requirements and Tips

Portfolios must be a PDF file or a website.  The PDF file should be named with the applicant's last name at the start of the file name, such as "MorrisIDportfolio.pdf".  The PDF must be less than 30 MB in size.  Video, animation or other time-based materials may be sent on a flash drive or a linked web address.  A website URL should be listed on the ID application.

Each piece is to be clearly marked with the applicant's name, title of the project, medium (or software/materials) used, size, date of completion, and optionally, the story behind the piece. In the case of professional or group projects, applicants should indicate their personal contributions/responsibilities. A maximum of twelve original pieces (or 18 total pages) are allowed. A piece may be allotted more than one page.

If applicants do not qualify for acceptance one quarter, they may reapply for a following quarter after improving the content of their portfolio.

An Entrance Portfolio is a collection of an applicant's best creative work, revealing the applicant's creative skills and presented as professionally as possible. Examples of previously accepted portfolios are at the bottom of this page. Applicants are encouraged to include work from as many of the following areas as possible:

  • Sketching (examples of hand drawings that demonstrate an ability to draw or express ideas, and creative problem solving)
  • 2D design (examples of page layout, composition, color, etc. as demonstrated in an illustration, advertisement, website, painting, photography, or other 2-dimensional work)
  • 3D design (examples of form development, construction, and craftsmanship as demonstrated in a 3-dimensional piece such as a model, sculpture, structure, woodworking, clothing, jewelry, etc.)
  • Computer skills (examples of drawing/image editing software programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or equivalent. Or examples of computer-aided drafting [CAD], Solidworks, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, Blender, etc.)

    Do not include imitations of photographs or other artist's work.  Do not include any work that would be considered copyright infringement.

Show diversity in media, flat work, 3D, digital and analog.

Show creativity with original work

Display evidence of solid problem solving skills in projects

Exhibit strong sketching and drawings skills (command of perspective, line quality, composition)

Fine art work should be well crafted, photographed and composed.

Exhibit good sense of form development in 3D work (sculpture, furniture, ceramics, jewelry, fashion apparel...)

Show good use of color in 2D work

Use a simple and well-designed portfolio (graphic presentation and layout)

Use short descriptions of each piece

Take excellent photography or scanning of work (lighting, print quality, descriptive views)

Be selective about what you include. Get help from a design professional to edit and identify your best work.

Suggested content to include in the portoflio:

It is strongly recommended to have at least one example from each of the four categories of content in the portfolio.  Strength in one or more areas is common.  

Three Dimensional Design

An image of shoes, a shelf, and a jug


An image of sketched shoes

Computer Skills

An image of computer-aided pictures including a car and a geometric shape

Two Dimensional Design

An image of posters and texts

What Happens Next?

Once students are accepted into the Industrial Design pre major, they will begin taking pre major courses during their first and second year. Once they have completed the required pre major courses to advance, they have the option to apply for Sophomore Review and advance to a full major. Sophomore Review is a chance for students to showcase their skills, and for our Industrial Design faculty to decide if they are ready to become a full major or not. To learn more about Sophomore Review, click the "Sophomore Review" button!

User Experience (UX) Design Minor

The UX Design Minor at Western is intended for industrial design, psychology, design and computer science majors only. Each discipline will take courses that add to their foundational understanding of the elements of user experience design. To learn more about the User Experience minor, click the "User Experience Design" button.