So You Want to Study Art, Design or Film in Switzerland? – Better Have a Great Portfolio Ready! By Amanda J. west
Before applying to any of the Art, Design or Film degrees in Switzerland or for that matter internationally, you will need a really top notch portfolio. A “Foundation Design Course” or “Gestalterische Vorkurs” is offered in many Cantons in Switzerland. It is a high quality year long program, during which an extensive portfolio is produced. The course is divided into four sections- Basics, Orientation, Focusing, and Extension.
Basics include drawing and painting lessons. Students are taught the different ways of working with plastic and sculptural materials and ways to deal with the perception of form and space. In the drawing and painting lessons, artistic-creative methodology is tested, and personal style is developed. Working with a sketchbook and logbook is an important part of the training from the start. This part of the course includes: Digital Media, 3D objects in Space, using metal, wood, clay, plaster. Animation. Drawing, Painting, Documentation and Presentation. Art History, Screen Printing, Photography and Bookbinding.
In the Orientation courses students gain insights into the creative fields that deal with writing and typeface design in various optional courses that include: Product Design, Textile Design, Video, Illustration and Scientific Illustration, Graphics, Ceramics, Fashion Design, Photography, Interior Design, Digital Media, Jewellery Design, Typeface, Computer Documentation and Presentation, as well as technical theory.
In the Focus section students decide on their specialization. The choices include Animation, Video, Camera Arts, Digital Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Art and Media, Sculpture and design of objects, Textile Design, Jewellery design or Interior Design. The students research, design and work on independent projects in the chosen field. This strengthens ability and depth of knowledge before applying for a bachelor’s degree.
Extension is the last module where a deepening of insights is acquired through the production of an extended 3D project. The students are also assisted in the admission procedures for their desired University Study. To conclude the course an annual exhibition takes place.
Aargau offers the Foundation Course at the “Schule für Gestaltung Aargau” in Aarau, and residents of Aargau get a reduced price of the tuition fees.
The “Zürcher Hochschule der Künste” offers a “Gestalterisches Propädeutikum”- also partly funded for those living in Canton Zürich.
A popular choice for the Foundation Course is at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. More expensive for out of Canton Students, but the school of Art and Design has an excellent reputation.
All the schools offer open days during the year, and it is well worth it to go and have a look to see which environment you feel most at home in.
For most applications you will need to submit a portfolio in the January of the year of study. You will also have to do a drawing exam at the school once your portfolio has been accepted.
You can see what students think about the Foundation Course at Lucerne in this video:-
Once you have spent that year producing an amazing portfolio showcasing your talent- you can use it to apply not only to Swiss Universities, but to get into Art and Design courses all over the globe.