07:00 - 30 May, 2017 by AD Editorial Team
When applying for an architecture job, you need to make sure you have the perfect portfolio. While a clever and attractive business card might help you initially get a firm's attention, and a well-considered résumé or CV might help you prove your value, in most cases it will be your portfolio that makes or breaks your application. It's your portfolio that practices will use to measure your design sensibilities against the office's own style and to judge whether you match up to the talents claimed in your résumé.
That's why in March, we launched a call for our readers to send us their own portfolios so that we could share the best design ideas with the ArchDaily community. Our selection below shows the best of the nearly 200 submissions we received, which were judged not on the quality of the architectural design they showed (though much of it was excellent) but instead the design quality of the portfolio itself. In making the selection, we were looking for attractive graphics, a clear presentation of the work itself, the formulation of a visual identity which permeated both the architectural designs and the portfolio design, and of course that elusive and much-prized attribute: "creativity."
Before we get started, we thought we would take this opportunity to present our top tips for designing your own portfolio:
File Size: By now, you should know better than to send a file that's too large. What exactly that means varies from situation to situation but as a guideline, Brazilian architect Gabriel Kogan recommends keeping the file size below 15MB.
Typos & Mistakes: If the language of your portfolio isn't your native language, turn to online communities or ask someone to proofread it.
Length & Content: Portfolios are time-consuming to put together, so it can be tempting to try to produce a "one size fits all" version. This is a mistake. Approaching a firm requires different information to presenting your work in an interview, so you should ideally have (at least) a two-page version of your portfolio for applications and a longer version for interviews. Ideally, this will also be supplemented by an online version of your portfolio. You may even consider tailoring your portfolio to each individual practice you apply to.
Creativity: While creativity is important in a portfolio, it can't be at the expense of the work the portfolio is meant to be showcasing.
Image Selection: Find the right balance between different types of image; it's good to demonstrate that you can produce technical detail drawings, for example, but they're not much to look at, so one or two key examples is plenty. Similarly, while photorealistic renders are impressive, they need to be complemented by more architectural representations to show your true skill as a designer.
Layout: Avoid clutter and don't be afraid of white space. If you use little white space, ensure your layout is clearly structured so that the portfolio's contents are easy to absorb.
Details: Often, the strength of a graphic design lies in small details. Use certain layout rules consistently and it will give your portfolio a sense of cohesion.