AD3023 - Design Portfolio Skills

What will I learn on this module?

On this module, you will build a body of work demonstrating and evidencing the broad range of academic, professional and transferable employability skills you have developed throughout the Design Foundation Year. The skills, knowledge and understanding you acquire will demonstrate an awareness of core design methods and principles, cogent academic prose, accurate academic citation, as well as how to conduct research, reflect critically, learn independently, present your work and work in teams. Through a progressive model of learning that follows the widely recognised design process of discovery, definition, development and delivery (Design Council’s double-diamond), you will learn to meet challenges, resolve problems, and think and work flexibly and productively toward realising your designs. Finally, you will learn to present your work to graduate standards in portfolio format.

How will I learn on this module?

The School of Design operates an extended studio approach (X-Studio) that embraces our physical studios and making workshops as well as our virtual spaces to create a flexible and rich environment that is responsive to our learners’ needs. On this module you will learn through a stimulating program of challenges that cover a wide range of core topics, some of which are directly informed by the research accomplishments of staff. You will develop foundational knowledge in research skills, time management, IT skills, critical thinking and evaluation as well as academic communication skills. Over the course of this year-long module you will acquire skills and knowledge in measured stages as you learn to discover, define, develop and deliver designs that will be showcased in a portfolio of work. While individual and collaborative projects help build core creative and academic skills that will form the foundation of your experience as a student of design, sessions delivered by tutors with expertise in a range of disciplines will ensure you are able to build upon that foundation and begin to hone your interests. You will be able to achieve the module Learning Outcomes by fully engaging in X-Studio activities, meeting challenges and submitting work on time. In addition to learning during contact hours with module tutors, you will undertake directed learning of preparatory activities as well as independent learning. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and research, the consolidation of session materials and the completion of assignments.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through a blend of onsite and remote teaching practices. The module handbook provides details of sessions, reading lists and assessment criteria. Similar information, as well as teaching and learning materials are made available on the e-learning portal. Whether onsite or online, module tutors will be available to guide taught sessions, as well as for feedback during consultation hours to discuss any queries or concerns you may have about how to succeed on the module. Moreover, feedback on formative work and the first summative assessments you receive will serve as ‘feed forward’, giving you guidance on how to improve during the module. In addition, you have a designated Personal Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Personal Guidance Tutor’s role includes: • monitoring your ongoing academic progress • helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development • directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus) You are advised to meet with your Personal Guidance Tutor at least three times each semester to review your academic progress.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding
1. Demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of fundamental principles and approaches that are common across all design practices.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities
2. Select, curate, organise and present information and finished work to graduate standards in your portfolio presentations, written and digital assignments.

3. Demonstrate your ability to learn independently, work collaboratively and manage time and commitments well.

Personal Values Attributes
4. In describing your personal development as a designer, evidence a growing awareness of and appreciation for the relevance of broader cultural contexts, design movements and contemporary debates.

How will I be assessed?

Formative: Portfolio Review: Each semester you will meet with the module tutor to review the progress of your body of work, and discuss further development. This will include individual feedback on how to improve your work and satisfy the assessment criteria. (MLO 1-4) Summative: In Semester 1, summative assessment will be based on a body of work evidencing foundational skills and knowledge in design through individual and collaborative teamwork, as well as independent research and critical/reflective writing, (MLO 1; 50%). In Semester 2 summative assessment will be based on evidence of skills and knowledge in the presentation of year work that includes completion of a sustained subject area project (MLO1, MLO3, MLO4; 50%)




AD3024 20 Credits - Communication YL
AD3025 20 Credits – Product YL
AD3026 20 Credits – Fashion YL
AD3027 20 Credits – Interiors YL

Module abstract

This year-long module enables you to build a design portfolio evidencing a broad range of creative, academic, professional and transferable employability skills that will set you up for a career in design. In this module, you will gain skills and knowledge in the fundamental principles of design as well as abilities in writing, research, presentation, and teamwork. You will draw on evidence from the design practices in your other modules, and from specific workshops about building skills to thrive and succeed. Specialist design staff will guide your knowledge and understanding of the requirements of being a university student. As well, specialist technical staff will help you to become familiar with a range of learning resources and technologies that will support your studies. Drawing on their own research interests and practices and using Technology Enhanced Learning, your tutors will guide you in the acquisition of essential skills and knowledge needed to develop your own skills as a designer. What you learn in the Design Foundation Year programme will be summarised in a body of work that showcases practice-based and academic achievements. This will be followed by a critical reflection of your experiences of the design disciplines and how this will inform your choices for further study.

Course info

UCAS Code W270

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time followed by a further 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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