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3 Most Essential Steps for Creating a Successful Architecture Portfolio

Updated: Jun 22, 2019



Three Essential steps to create a killer portfolio


Whether you are creating a portfolio for school applications or applying for a job in any industry it is very important to understand the three most essential steps you need to take in order to create a portfolio that first it would take you to the top of the list in the pool of at least dozen of other applicants and second, you would have a special format that would allow you to further develop and keep all your contents in sync whether you are presenting all of your work at once or picking out specific projects for particular jobs or schools you are applying to.


Let be realistic. Whether you are applying to colleges or jobs, no one would look at your portfolio more than 15 minutes at the first. Remember you are not the only one who applies for that same position. So, your portfolio has to be “compositionally intelligent” and in sync in order to give the message in the shortest amount of time.

1- Put your portfolio away

2- Create new projects and add new content to what is already there

3- Merge together the old and the new based on the your portfolio's main essence


So let’s get to it..



1- Put your current portfolio away..

The purpose of this first step is for you to capture the main story that you wish to tell about you and your work. Successfully completing this first step would allow you to build up the main idea in your head, which will help you to create a portfolio that is in sync and well connected from top to bottom.


So you might be asking yourself well how am I suppose to create a killer portfolio by putting my portfolio away.




Let me explain,


There is something about you and your work that differentiates you from everyone else. So, it is important that your portfolio clearly speaks for itself and shows who you are as a designer or as an individual to your audience.

Therefore, first you need to be able to fully understand and show who you are as a designer. So take a pen and paper and start writing down (with the simplest vocabulary) the following

Therefore, first you need to be able to fully understand and show who you are as a designer. So take a pen and paper and start writing down (with the simplest vocabulary) the following;


- Who am I as a designer?

- What is the essence of my work?

- What does my work reflect?

Once you successfully completed this first step, take a moment to read and pick out sentences that captures the essence of the image you want to create and present.


Okay you find the idea that resonates with you? Then you would be on your way to creating the killer portfolio that would put you to the top of the list.


2- Create new content and add new content to already existing content


So, you might say why do I need to create a new content when I already have my existing work that is already great.


Let me ask you,


You can write amazing cover letters? So do others…

Your have work that is extremely creative? So do others…

You have amazing work you have done in the past? So do others…

You have great communication skills? So do others…

You wrote a great content that explains your work so well? So do others…

You have over 5 years of experience in the industry? So do others…





So why they should choose you over other who are as qualified?

All the candidates may have a great rendering, or digital presentation of the final product, but what they lack of the most is to clearly present their thought process. This is where you would start creating process images; hand sketches, diagrams, etc. It is not about the final product, but about how you get there. This is where your portfolio makes the all difference.

Your portfolio has to show that you are an individual who can think outside of the box, able to use different techniques and strategies and able to implement these strategies into any project as a part of process. You already do? Well show it!


What if you did not record this process?


So, you did not record any hand sketches, diagrams, precedents you looked at, your process of making ,your art work or your logo design etc. Well, now this is the time to do that and implementing to you portfolio based on the first essential step!

Well, now it is time to get on top of that. It is the simplest thing to do. Go back in time, get a pen and paper or open the software you used and generate you thought process. Here is couple examples of what that process could look like.


What are these things? Well it could be many things including hand sketches, Photoshop overlays that helped you get to the final product. Remember, Process is progress! Progress is like a magnet, it is the potential. This is what people are seeking and searching for.

You maybe can create an image that would wow! People but so do others. Even if the most talented eye reviews your portfolio, your work can impress, if the it is compositionally intelligent, and presents variety of techniques on how you got there!


Once you successfully do that, you can move on to the next step


3 – Bring your projects together


So you have created a new project, and implemented the process and created a successful layout based on the first essential step. On the other hand you have your existing project and portfolio layout that is full of visual images and narratives, which lacks of process and the story you want to tell. Now it is time to start generating new sketches, progress images, and a new composition that is working in sync with your new content. Doing that would not only allow the viewer to get an overall understanding of your projects but also this would allow you to swap the order of projects, pick specific project for specific job or school applications based on what they look for and your portfolio would still look in order and compositionally in sync with the least amount of effort


You can create a theme for each project. You can also start with a small logo and a page explaining the overall concept with a quote.

For each project, the first two pages of your portfolio should provide general information about the project. These should include a brief description, location, date of the project, which course was held, and the process from the beginning to the end.


3-4 and 5-6. The stage drawings and models you make on the pages should be composed of floor plans, section and elevation drawings, although do not overwhelm the audience with the quantity.



On your last two pages, you have to display your most powerful visual in a large, page-free manner without adding any other elements and finish each project presentation in the most powerful way.

I hope this article has helped you to get a head start. If you have any questions you can write as a comment, I will gladly reply. Please remember to subscribe to my blog. See you in another article!


#portfoliocracker #architectureinamerica #SchoolsinUSA #portfoliopresentation #portfoliodesign #architecturalportfolio #portfoliodevelopment




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