And what you should be doing instead…..
Tue Sep 20, 2022
Do you know what’s one thing that guarantees that you land a good design job? An Architecture Portfolio! The question is, how to make an architecture portfolio?
Whether it’s the internship hunting time or you’re seeking a good job, architect portfolios are what speak for them. As soon as you graduate from college or think about a little switch in your job, the need to curate the best architecture portfolio arises. This is what will make your work stand out and grab the recruiter’s attention.
An architecture portfolio cover is the first impression-making element followed by the way you present information. Your architecture portfolio gives insight into your creative abilities which is why it needs to be the best. Seems like a task? Don’t worry! We’re here to help you through.
Let’s throw some light on the common mistakes and help you design a flawless architecture portfolio that’ll secure you your dream job.
As a student seeking an internship, your architecture portfolio must have the best of your academic works. Your goal must be to hint at your skills by showcasing your work and give clarity to the employers or universities upon your perspective.
A junior architect can be defined as a professional with about 1-3 years of work experience. Your professional architecture portfolio must be a mix of your skilled works along with your best college works. The best architecture portfolios in this case are the ones that portray your progress and design understanding within them.
A mid-level architect is one that has gathered an experience of about 3-10 years. An architecture portfolio for you must reflect your comfort in the industry and the experience you’ve gained. There must be a clear depiction of your understanding of the methodologies through your best works.
Being a senior architect with an experience of more than 10 years, your professional architecture portfolio must showcase different niches you’ve explored and varying scales of projects you’ve dealt with. Let your portfolio speak for your maturity in the design field, establishing you as a seasoned architect.
Error: Duplicating the architecture portfolio examples
Pro-advice: Keep it real with your authentic works.
It’s easy to get carried away with the online examples or Pinterest boards while you’re browsing through architecture portfolio examples. However, you can’t copy the content. Always have your personalized touch in the portfolio to flaunt your skills. Duplicating someone else’s work might steal your chance of getting into your desired firm.
Error: Giving too much information
Pro-advice: Concise it down to the essentials
One of the questions on how to make an architecture portfolio is about the content. What all should be there and what can be eliminated? Though it could be a tough call, always remember that your architecture portfolio must be crisp and concise and at the same time, talk about your abilities and talent. Make your pages clear enough to be scrolled through within a period of 15 to 30 seconds and reflect your skillset.
Error: Complex page layout
Pro-advice: A simpler and crisper depiction
Never make the mistake of complicating the page layout. While you might get inspired by heavily loaded pages, it’s important to know that the more difficult it becomes to read your projects, the more chances you lose of getting there. Opt for a layout that is clear enough to be perceived at a single glance. Another key point is to keep the layout consistent throughout your architecture portfolio by defining a pattern or order of works on a single page.
Error: Adding outdated projects
Pro-advice: Put what’s new and trending
No matter how well you did in your first semester of design, there’s no point in keeping what’s outdated in your portfolio. Your architecture portfolio must have the essence of being fresh with the latest projects that’ll also showcase your upscaled skills. Look for content that matches the job profile you’re aiming at.
Error: Using low-resolution images
Pro-advice: Don’t compromise on the image quality
Your design might be one of the best architecture portfolios but what’s the point if it's all blur? Ensure that the renders or images you add to your portfolio are always high-resolution for more clarity. While these images might make the file heavy, look for alternatives that help you keep the quality and reduce the file size.
Error: Neglected Grammar
Pro-advice: Check it through
No, grammar doesn’t get ignored in your portfolio. In fact, it’s one of the criteria that might rule you out from the selection list. Always check your file for grammar and spelling before finalizing it as one single mistake can spoil your entire reputation. Another point to be noted is the font that you’re picking. Make sure it’s not too childish or overly complicated to read. Maintain professionalism in your architecture portfolio with the apt font.
Are you aiming at the job of a landscape architect or interior designer? You need to define your audience and add works based on that. If you want to get into 3D visualizing, your architecture portfolio must have lots of renders and in case you’re aiming at facade design, ensure that the interest is reflected via a careful selection of works you add.
Landscape or portrait? A4 or A3? This is the call to be taken based on the content you’re going to add. Don’t opt for a bigger size than A3 as it gets difficult to transport and fill up the pages. Pick the size, layout, and format that leads to a neat composition or works and increases the chances of wooing the recruiter into hiring you.
You might have a plethora of options to pick from while adding content to your architecture portfolio but don't go over the board. Ensure that you pick the best from the rest and display your skills, learnings, and experience through these limited number of projects. It’s always better to keep your architecture portfolio concise yet diverse.
In the end, your architecture portfolio describes who you are. Let the showcased projects speak for your abilities, hint at your design sensibilities, and clearly mention your interests. Along with the technical knowledge of the works, ensure that there’s information about you as well. For example, you could add photographs to depict you’re into photography or doodles to showcase your creative side.
As we’ve entered the digital era, even recruiting procedures have become online. In such cases, recruiters wouldn’t want to fill up their storage space with heavy portfolio files. It’s advised to always keep your portfolio file less than 15 Mb. The heavier your file gets, the more difficult and slower it gets to browse through the entire content.
While the weightage of a CV for an architecture portfolio in terms of its importance is comparatively low, it still has to be perfect, right? Make sure that your CV is clear with its information and that your essential personal details are mentioned there. Try to cut down on irrelevant information like your home address or marital status and keep the exciting data like the languages you can speak and hobbies that entice you. Along with the professional purpose, your CV must also speak for your personality.
Keep the pages within your architecture portfolio clearly structured and streamlined. The simpler it is, the more enjoyable it gets for the viewer to read through your projects. Don’t stuff too much data on a single page and at the same time, make sure that the entire page doesn’t look empty. While it sounds tricky, strike the balance and keep your layouts well-structured and clear.
As important as visual presentation is, so is the theoretical data in an architecture portfolio. Theoretical data is a way to flaunt your research skills and reflect upon the fundamental knowledge you hold. Along with the design sensibilities, the understanding of the subject is a crucial part for an architect which can be clearly seen through the theory you add.
If you’re planning to add a project that was done as a team, make sure that it clearly states the role that you played in the process. Your architecture portfolio must be the truth book with honest mention of the part that was handled by you. Whether it was the renders or concept framing, mention your experience along with the collective work.
Words will do the ultimate magic to get you a job. As you attach your architecture portfolio to the main body, make sure you serve it with a cover letter. It doesn’t have to be a speech or sugar-coated body, rather keep it honest. Mention what enticed you toward the firm and what role you can play for them. You can go a little poetic with the language but proofread before hitting the send button.
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Our latest course Graphics Core, by Khaled Omara, (UNStudio, the Netherlands) guides you on creating stunning presentations with Adobe suite and Rhino. This course will equip you to create impactful, holistic and hook-worthy presentations that resonate with your dream design studio.
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An Architect + Writer, Saili has worked as an Architectural writer & brand storyteller where she has collaborated with firms, studios, organizations, luxury brands, events & educational institutions to communicate in the real estate & travel industry. Her recent initiatives include curating an online workshop on communication and networking within the AEC industry. She is a commentator on the design industry’s upkeep through her social handles while also being an avid reader and traveler.