Talent Awards

Description of Awards:

The Department of Design Talent Award is a tuition award based upon the quality and caliber of student work. The Talent Award is available for all incoming and continuing students in the Department of Design. Programs include Animation, Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography. Awards are deposited into the student's University account for tuition and are not given as cash awards. They will be applied to student's tuition as soon as the student is registered for the required number of credit hours, (i.e. Fall/Winter – 14 hours; Sp/Su – 6 hours).


This application is for all students currently in the program, and high school students applying for fall semester.

The granting of a Talent Award does not mean a student has been admitted to the University. All University admission requirements must be met before an award can be granted. Acceptance to the Department of Design through a Talent Award will require those accepted students to complete the Freshman Core Program within the first year before they can move on in their program.

  • Graphic Design: DES 111, DES 114, DES 115, DES 117;
  • Illustration: DES 111, DES 114, DES 115, DES 131;
  • Photography: DES 111, DES 115 DES 116;
  • Animation DESAN 160, CSANM 150, DESAN 131)

The student must be registered for a minimum number of credit hours during the semesters for which the award is granted. Fall/Winter – 14 hours each semester; Spring/Summer – 6 hours each term. Anyone on probation, warning, etc. will not be permitted to receive talent award (scholarship) funds.

General Information:

The deadline for Talent Award Applications is 12 midnight on the due date, February 1st. See the secretary for actual dates or visit the talent award application on designdept.byu.edu

Applicants are required to submit a portfolio online. (10 images) The results of the review will not be complete until April. Students will receive a letter letting them know whether or not they received the award money. We cannot tell students over the phone.

The Talent Awards are for the semester(s) chosen to receive the award (i.e., Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter semesters). Students must indicate the semester(s) for which they are applying on the Talent Award Application form. Students may indicate more than one semester.

Please be aware that awards CANNOT be transferred between Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter semesters. If a student receives an award for Spring/Summer semester(s) the student should plan on attending school during Spring/Summer.

Talent Awards are not renewable. Students should reapply for a Talent Award each February for the following year.

Online portfolios will be carefully reviewed; therefore, considerable attention should be given to the portfolio composition. The portfolio should contain no more than 10 images of work.

Results of the Talent Award review are announced via mail near the end of April. The Department of Design usually has an Awards Night to recognize those students who received the Talent Awards. Please be aware you may get an email inviting you to the Awards Night before you get a letter letting you know if you got the Talent Award. If you get an invitation please plan on attending the Awards Night if you can.

All incoming students and continuing students are required to submit no more than 10 images of work which represent the student's best work. Below is a brief statement of what each area expects to see in an incoming student online portfolio or actual work portfolio. This is not meant to be comprehensive. If you have any other questions on the portfolio requirements please check with the Design secretaries in E509 Harris Fine Arts Center.

Portfolio Guidelines:


The portfolio should contain no more than 10 figure drawings. For Animation, the portfolio should contain one 30-second (max. 30 secs) animation sample. A total of 11 images are uploaded; this includes the video sample to the SlideRoom account.

Graphic Design

Continuing and new incoming students please consider the following guidelines. Students are not required to submit work that is graphic design in nature. What is important is to submit the student's best work in whatever medium you choose, whether painting/drawing, printmaking, illustration, or other traditional mediums of art. Faculties look for broad ranges of talent and assume that this can be transposed to the discipline of Graphic Design. Faculty is looking for students with a strong technical ability and who demonstrate high levels of creativity. Generally, students accepted seem to have a strong point of view and a sense of maturity in the selection of content for their work. It is better not to submit work which includes content themes such as cute animals, adorable babies and children, inspirational quotes superimposed over corresponding images, super-hero characters, scrapbook pages or designs, sentimental scenes – wedding portraiture, or drawings copied from photos of famous celebrities (religious leaders included). It is better to submit work that is drawn from life or from your own life experiences. Please be aware that although the computer is the tool of graphic design, it is not the focus of the program. It is suggested the students not submit work which includes computer gimmickry and cliché of any type, work from high school yearbooks or logo/stationary previously created during high school or for business/t-shirt design. Success in the program depends on the student's ability to think and solve visual problems, not demonstrations of computer “gymnastics” and expertise. If the students have professional work, submitted to show they have printed work and experience, this does not necessarily enhance the student's chances of acceptance.


Portfolios are judged on drawing skill, design, and creativity. The Area prefers applicants with strong figure drawing skills (at least 5). Drawings from life, that is, directly from the subject (people, animals, buildings, trees, still-life, etc.) rather than from photographs, are the best representation of the applicant's potential talent and level of preparation, and therefore are given more weight than drawings from cartoons, comics, or photographs in magazines. The Area is also interested in the applicant's creativity, which may be shown in personal paintings or illustrations that tell stories or develop conceptual ideas.


Submit only you best photography for the talent award application. All students must do so via an electronic application (to fill out personal information). New students and some sophomores will also submit their photography electronically in the same application process. Juniors and seniors will apply electronically, but submit work in traditional print portfolio form.

Vision, creativity, originality, technical competence and presentation are expected from all applicants. Videos may be submitted, but are supplementary and secondary to your still photography.

There are three ways to submit work for a talent award; (1) electronically, (2) in traditional print portfolio form (with quality presentation – book or box), or (3) some combination thereof (including video, uploaded or iPad).

Sophomores may choose electronic or print. Those who have taken DESPH 120 and 275 by the end of Fall semester may want to submit a traditional print portfolio using work from those courses (and others, and outside work if they want), whereas those in these same courses in the Winter should submit an electronic portfolio, as they will most likely not have sufficient quality print work yet. Remember to also apply electronically if you submit print work.

Juniors and seniors must submit their photography for review using a traditional print portfolio (like the BFA application), and may add a video to this if they so choose. The video may be uploaded on the electronic submission website, or included upon an iPad with your print portfolio. All will be returned. Remember to also apply electronically.

For questions contact Stephanie Miller at stephanie_miller@byu.edu

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BYU Department of Design
Provo, Utah 84602
Phone: (801) 422-7321

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