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Guide to making a Portfolio
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progressive Offline
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Guide to making a Portfolio
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Hi!
Thought I'll start with a guide to making your architectural portfolio keeping in mind the type of education we receive in Indian architecture schools. (Not talking of CEPT here! Razz)

This guide will be talking about the following topics:
1. Basic guidelines
2. Selecting projects
3. Format/Presentation
4. Resources

BASIC GUIDELINES

Firstly, the most important thing is to find the portfolio guidelines for all the universities where you are planning to apply. Some are only a couple of lines whereas some are a page long! Take a print out and make your own standard of "HOW" you will make your portfolio and "WHAT" is required in the portfolio which will satisfy ALL the universities you are applying to. Now to make the work easy for you, I have here the guidelines which satisfied all the universities where I have applied. Knowing the variation in my choice of architecture schools, these will not differ much in your case.
  • This may sound stupid, but a portfolio needs creativity.
  • They want it well formatted.
  • US schools want the maximum size to be Letter (8.5" x 11") or Tabloid (11" x 17") size whereas European (including UK) schools want A4.
  • The maximum number of pages should be limited to 25.
  • It should show well developed graphic skills and a well developed sense of design, space and form.
  • Photographs of models are helpful and should be used whenever possible.
  • The portfolio should not be overburdened; if one or two illustrations of an object or project provide adequate documentation of your skill or objective, do not use other redundant material.
  • Don't write an essay about your project. Keep it brief to around 70-100 words. (100 is a bit on the higher side... Don't let it reach 100.)
  • All work must carry your name, which semester it was done in, and an indication of whether the work was an academic, professional, or personal project.
  • If the project is part of a group effort, your specific role should be mentioned.

SELECTING PROJECTS

Now comes the most important part. What to put in the portfolio? By the time we reach the stage of designing the portfolio, we are either an alumni or a 9th semester student. Therefore, in our folio we need to show our work of the 9 semesters, what we did in our training, the competitions we worked on (NASA, baby, NASA!) and some work which is not a part of our academic curriculum.
  • Don't put a lot of early works. I put only 4 college projects:
    1. Sem 5: School
    2. Sem 6: Auditorium
    3. Sem 9: Conservation work done on Safdarjung tomb
    4. Sem 9: Urban design work done on rehabilitation on the Tughalpur Village
  • If you don't have 3D models or views of your designs (or any visual representation) which you want show in your portfolio, I would recommend making them.
  • Don't lay too much emphasis on planning. The admission committee is not there to take a crit on your design. They want to see how well you can visualize.
  • Everything should be well-rendered and well-composed.
  • Don't put photographs of your sheets. It looks ugly.
  • Also, don't put your BC sheets. How well you can draft is a not a criteria for selection.
  • Again... Don't write an essay about your project. 100 words MAXIMUM.
  • Writing about the assumptions and the basis of design would be a good thing. The committee would want to know whether your work is based on a live site or a hypothetical one; whether climatic responsiveness was required or not; how was the topography of the site, etc... etc...
  • In case of professional/training work, DO mention what you did. If you worked only on the presentation part, just write 'Worked on the conceptualization and client presentation'. The admission committee are also architects and employee trainees in their firms; they very well know what kind of work is given to trainees. They know that you wouldn't have handled the entire project. Be honest and NEVER exaggerate.
  • Don't put scaled down A1/A0 sheets in your portfolio. It won't be legible. Period.
  • Have a couple of pages in the end on works that are not a part of the academic curriculum such as photography, model-making, sketching, etc... etc...

I had the following works in my folio:
  1. 4 college projects
  2. 3 competitions
  3. 2 training projects
  4. 2 non-academic pages


FORMAT/PRESENTATIONS

You should pay a LOT of attention to the way you present and format your folio. I did my portfolio on Letter sized paper.
  • You need to have a FABULOUS cover page which will make the person viewing your folio wanting to see want is inside. It needs to reflect your personality.
  • After this, have a great contents page with maybe a small essay about your architectural thought or anything reflecting your school of thought.
  • Also, you must make sure you have an equally fantastic second-last page which will leave a good taste with the admission commitee.
  • Don't be a miser and print you folio on great quality paper (preferably 220 GSM).
  • Don't send off your portfolio in a SOLO file. There are a lot of binding options available to you; Spiral, Spico, Wiro, Centering, Pinning, etc... etc... Select whatever looks good to you.
  • Making it look like a 7th grade SUPW class craft project is big NO NO. Don't even think of sticking stuff or putting glass in your portfolio. It is FORBIDDEN by all universities. They should ONLY be printed.

RESOURCES

Now, here are some links which should give you a start on making your portfolio:
  1. Deviant Art (http://www.deviantart.com/)
    Great resource on design styles
  2. Da Font (http://www.dafont.com/)
    My favourite fonts site!
  3. Carbonmade (http://www.carbonmade.com/)
    Go through some architectural portfolios. See the quality of work.
  4. All architectural school showcase their students' work. Have a look at the Bachelor's level work done my them.


Hope you find this information useful. Whenever I think of another point that I can add I will edit this post.

Making a great portfolio is a very time-consuming process... don't let your studies suffer!

Cheers!
(This post was last modified: 04-30-2009 07:40 AM by progressive.)
12-24-2007 12:10 AM
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RE: Guide to making Portfolios
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Pushkin thats a really nice and i guess an apt procedure for making a portfolio.really nice effort and really appreciate the time you have put in this to compile it all.It will help me alot while a make one for myself....thanx a ton Smile
12-24-2007 01:05 AM
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RE: Guide to making Portfolios
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this is certainly a great attempt pushkin.....
even there are so many new informations for me as well.....
and also these links seems to be fruitful....
good job chap!!!!
12-24-2007 01:26 AM
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Post: #4
RE: Guide to making Portfolios
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@Pushkin:

Excellent job, mate. I think these guidelines will be a huge help for new applicants in architecture and related fields.

Your contribution in steadily making the art/architecture forum a useful form with helpful content is much appreciated.

Please keep it up and best of luck in landing a Columbia admit!

sincerely,

Editor

12-24-2007 09:25 AM
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RE: Guide to making Portfolios
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NICE COMPLILATION...
would be of gr8 help when i make my portfolio...
12-24-2007 08:08 PM
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Post: #6
RE: Guide to making a Portfolio
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I am an mechanical Engineer and want to apply for Industrial design/Product design course...
Do You have similar guidelines for a portfolio for industrial design.

11-18-2010 08:09 PM
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Post: #7
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-----

(This post was last modified: 07-18-2013 02:47 AM by echoplex.)
05-20-2011 06:42 PM
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RE: Guide to making a Portfolio
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@Pushkin,

Thanks a lot! I'm starting with my porfolio and this information is of great help.
Keep updating if you get anything related to portfolio making.

Thanks once again.
05-31-2011 02:53 PM
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RE: Guide to making a Portfolio
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this information is certainly of great help .! cheers !
10-06-2011 01:38 AM
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RE: Guide to making a Portfolio
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Hi,
I am an Engineer and I am applying for Masters in Animation.
I have joined an Arts program of 9 months.
I will be applying this year. I have a lot of life-sketches and some creative pencil work. But I don't have many Paintings or Proper works of art. What should I put in my Portfolio.
I did make a project related to animation For my Final year project.
11-07-2012 11:16 PM
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RE: Guide to making a Portfolio
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Thanx a lot... it would be of great help...
08-17-2013 01:42 PM
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RE: Guide to making a Portfolio
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thanks a lot m starting with my portfolio and this pc of info will be of great help to me!!! cheersApplause
08-19-2013 11:33 AM
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RE: Guide to making a Portfolio
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Hi progressive,

Would you have any idea about job prospects in Industrial Design domain in the US?

Because design schools are expensive, there are no State schools for design. If there are no jobs in the field, then it becomes too big of an investment for academics.

Thanks

(12-24-2007 12:10 AM)progressive Wrote:  Hi!
Thought I'll start with a guide to making your architectural portfolio keeping in mind the type of education we receive in Indian architecture schools. (Not talking of CEPT here! Razz)

This guide will be talking about the following topics:
1. Basic guidelines
2. Selecting projects
3. Format/Presentation
4. Resources

BASIC GUIDELINES

Firstly, the most important thing is to find the portfolio guidelines for all the universities where you are planning to apply. Some are only a couple of lines whereas some are a page long! Take a print out and make your own standard of "HOW" you will make your portfolio and "WHAT" is required in the portfolio which will satisfy ALL the universities you are applying to. Now to make the work easy for you, I have here the guidelines which satisfied all the universities where I have applied. Knowing the variation in my choice of architecture schools, these will not differ much in your case.
  • This may sound stupid, but a portfolio needs creativity.
  • They want it well formatted.
  • US schools want the maximum size to be Letter (8.5" x 11") or Tabloid (11" x 17") size whereas European (including UK) schools want A4.
  • The maximum number of pages should be limited to 25.
  • It should show well developed graphic skills and a well developed sense of design, space and form.
  • Photographs of models are helpful and should be used whenever possible.
  • The portfolio should not be overburdened; if one or two illustrations of an object or project provide adequate documentation of your skill or objective, do not use other redundant material.
  • Don't write an essay about your project. Keep it brief to around 70-100 words. (100 is a bit on the higher side... Don't let it reach 100.)
  • All work must carry your name, which semester it was done in, and an indication of whether the work was an academic, professional, or personal project.
  • If the project is part of a group effort, your specific role should be mentioned.

SELECTING PROJECTS

Now comes the most important part. What to put in the portfolio? By the time we reach the stage of designing the portfolio, we are either an alumni or a 9th semester student. Therefore, in our folio we need to show our work of the 9 semesters, what we did in our training, the competitions we worked on (NASA, baby, NASA!) and some work which is not a part of our academic curriculum.
  • Don't put a lot of early works. I put only 4 college projects:
    1. Sem 5: School
    2. Sem 6: Auditorium
    3. Sem 9: Conservation work done on Safdarjung tomb
    4. Sem 9: Urban design work done on rehabilitation on the Tughalpur Village
  • If you don't have 3D models or views of your designs (or any visual representation) which you want show in your portfolio, I would recommend making them.
  • Don't lay too much emphasis on planning. The admission committee is not there to take a crit on your design. They want to see how well you can visualize.
  • Everything should be well-rendered and well-composed.
  • Don't put photographs of your sheets. It looks ugly.
  • Also, don't put your BC sheets. How well you can draft is a not a criteria for selection.
  • Again... Don't write an essay about your project. 100 words MAXIMUM.
  • Writing about the assumptions and the basis of design would be a good thing. The committee would want to know whether your work is based on a live site or a hypothetical one; whether climatic responsiveness was required or not; how was the topography of the site, etc... etc...
  • In case of professional/training work, DO mention what you did. If you worked only on the presentation part, just write 'Worked on the conceptualization and client presentation'. The admission committee are also architects and employee trainees in their firms; they very well know what kind of work is given to trainees. They know that you wouldn't have handled the entire project. Be honest and NEVER exaggerate.
  • Don't put scaled down A1/A0 sheets in your portfolio. It won't be legible. Period.
  • Have a couple of pages in the end on works that are not a part of the academic curriculum such as photography, model-making, sketching, etc... etc...

I had the following works in my folio:
  1. 4 college projects
  2. 3 competitions
  3. 2 training projects
  4. 2 non-academic pages


FORMAT/PRESENTATIONS

You should pay a LOT of attention to the way you present and format your folio. I did my portfolio on Letter sized paper.
  • You need to have a FABULOUS cover page which will make the person viewing your folio wanting to see want is inside. It needs to reflect your personality.
  • After this, have a great contents page with maybe a small essay about your architectural thought or anything reflecting your school of thought.
  • Also, you must make sure you have an equally fantastic second-last page which will leave a good taste with the admission commitee.
  • Don't be a miser and print you folio on great quality paper (preferably 220 GSM).
  • Don't send off your portfolio in a SOLO file. There are a lot of binding options available to you; Spiral, Spico, Wiro, Centering, Pinning, etc... etc... Select whatever looks good to you.
  • Making it look like a 7th grade SUPW class craft project is big NO NO. Don't even think of sticking stuff or putting glass in your portfolio. It is FORBIDDEN by all universities. They should ONLY be printed.

RESOURCES

Now, here are some links which should give you a start on making your portfolio:
  1. Deviant Art (http://www.deviantart.com/)
    Great resource on design styles
  2. Da Font (http://www.dafont.com/)
    My favourite fonts site!
  3. Carbonmade (http://www.carbonmade.com/)
    Go through some architectural portfolios. See the quality of work.
  4. All architectural school showcase their students' work. Have a look at the Bachelor's level work done my them.


Hope you find this information useful. Whenever I think of another point that I can add I will edit this post.

Making a great portfolio is a very time-consuming process... don't let your studies suffer!

Cheers!
06-01-2016 11:53 AM
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Very informative post, thanks! But why shouldn't I put a lot of early works? I'm young and have little experience, maybe in this case early work are ok to use...
05-31-2017 03:29 PM
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(05-31-2017 03:29 PM)Christy7 Wrote:  Very informative post, thanks! But why shouldn't I put a lot of early works? I'm young and have little experience, maybe in this case early work are ok to use...

Christy7 Please complete your info bank with relevant academic, work experience details.

My VI||Info Bank ||Blog
Will not answer any PM, instead tag.
Until you understand this thread, keep reading it. Unless, and until you understand it, please try avoiding to apply to US.
Tag me if I could be of any help.
06-08-2017 06:53 PM
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