Wentworth Institute of Technology (James)



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    By jace
    Apr 8, '10 1:30 AM EST

    That elusive little gem I expose only to my closest friends and potential employers. My Portfolio, so personal, yet so public. How does one go about crafting one?

    Apparently a lot of people have this question. I thought I would post an excerpt from an electronic interview I took part in that is going to be in a forthcoming publication strictly on portfolio design.

    Is your portfolio for your own or for an office? What is the difference between the two?
    My portfolio is a collection of personal academic and competition work. An office portfolio presents a professional identity to the public, while acting as a marketing tool for potential clients. A personal portfolio acts as a focused introspective representation of an individuals design identity.

    What is the most important element in a portfolio?
    The quality of work held within the portfolio is most important.

    How do you select the works to be included in the portfolio? Where does the most successful project placed within the portfolio? What is the best way to order the projects?
    Works are selected for a portfolio first based on quality and second on relevance to accompanying works held within the portfolio. The strongest project should be placed last within a portfolio, allowing memory of the project to be strong within the reader. Strong projects should be allocated to the beginning and end of the portfolio.

    What makes a successful portfolio? (size, number of pages, number of projects, layout of theimages and text, choices of colors.. etc)
    The success of a portfolio can be measured by how effectively it conveys an accurate design identity of an individual or office.

    What is the most effective layout?
    A transparent layout is most effective. Overly designed layouts draw attention to layout and away from the work being exhibited.

    Where do you get your ideas?
    Current publications provide great precedence for portfolio design, while inspiration comes most often from places where you are not looking.

    If there is one, what is the weakness or needs of development of your portfolio? If none, how
    can you make the perfect portfolio?

    I do not believe that the perfect portfolio exists. If a successful portfolio effectively conveys an accurate design identity of an individual or office, then it is an ever-changing entity. A near perfect portfolio may be a well-updated online portfolio.

    iWhat are the most common mistakes made by people making portfolio?
    Over stuffing a portfolio with work is an extremely common mistake. Smartly choreographed white space is vital to the successful of a layout.

    Is there a rule in making a portfolio? Please explain integrating your portfolio. (concept, cover page, table of contents, layout… etc)
    Respect the grid. A well-sized grid provides an invisible organization that tightens and focuses the layout. The cover page is a major tripping point for many good portfolios. Excessive graphics and over exertion can undermine a strong portfolio.

    When and why did you make your first portfolio? Please tell us the experience. (successful points, mistakes made, most remembered… etc)
    I crafted my first portfolio as an academic exercise my second year of architecture school. I was interested in the binding of the physical object. This proved problematic and made duplication difficult.

    Anything to say to those making their first portfolio? If you were in the shoes of one who is judging the portfolio, what would you look for and why?
    Keep it simple; let the work speak for it self. Make descriptions of projects short and succinct. Most people reading thought your portfolio would read a paragraph of two or three sentences, but skip over large areas of text. Standing out from the crowd is important, but a well thought out portfolio will always be more successful than empty flashy visual stimulation.

    • 1 Comment

    • Sarah Lorenzen

      I often give portfolio tutorials to students.

      I concur with everything written here... yes to grids, white space, short text, and focusing primarily on the quality of images.

      I would add that using a grid effectively includes creating variation (drama) across the portfolio. It does not mean making every spread identical. For example, I encourage students to make 10-20% of portfolio full-bleed images.

      Last thing - keep text small. Looks better.

      Apr 9, 10 9:21 am

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