Partial Portfolio Critique


Gearing up for going back for my Masters and I just finished up the design/build section of my application portfolio.  I had no building skills at all after completing my bachelor's, yet landed a job doing interior design build work upon graduating.  I've decided to include two projects I worked on from that job, as well as two personal projects I made during my spare time. 

Curious how this section reads.  None of these projects used any computer work; all of the concept / prototype work was done through sketching and building.  I tried to keep it simple with sketches and final photos.  The initial photo is just a random one I threw on so the section could have a front page.

Cheers in advance for any comments!

EDIT: Not sure why the full bleed didn't go all the way to the bottom and right sides...

Jul 16, 17 10:40 am
Was your undergrad not in architecture?

Not sure if I saw your name on there anywhere. Fine for the web but admissions will need a name.

Cool stuff.

Consider delineating more clearly the things you designed vs did under someone else. You do this well with work projects but I can't tell from the pages that you did the last two yourself.

There are a lot of words. You can keep them but make sure you're saying most of what you need through the imagery. Captions and bullets are helpful for critical information.

Layout is off to a good start - images then sketches. Text layout / amount could use another pass, particularly the little description boxes which move every page.
Jul 16, 17 11:51 am

Hey, thanks for the comments!

I have a bachelor's in environmental design. Basically was a studio based architecture curriculum. 

Definitely will have my name included, no worries! I'll be sure to update the table projects to specify they were designed and built by me alone, good call!

I had a feeling it was getting a bit wordy. I'll try to trim them down. Just trying to provide a bit of a back story. I find it hard to come up with diagrams for the tables in particular, but I'll think more about them.

In terms of the description boxes, are you saying they should all stay relatively static in terms of placement across all the pages?

Thanks again for the comments and critique, much appreciated!


Any other comments?

Jul 19, 17 7:11 am

I can give it a try :)

I think the layout is pretty okay but I would cut down the text a bit and use another way than text boxes to show that kind of info. Maybe I would write small captions with your drawings/sketches that are quite nice. 

It is a bit hard to judge the projects. To me it seems a bit much to have these four design/build projects as they are quite alike in terms of scale and materiality. Also the way you present them are alike. More variation with maybe some less-sketchy plans and pictures. 

Good luck!

Jul 19, 17 7:57 am

You should show OP yours. It's really well done and how a folio for M.Arch should strive to be.


Thank you for the nice words - how did you stumble upon it?


Simple: googled
your name + issuu


Fair enough :)


Thanks a ton for the comments! I'll try to break up the big block of text into smaller boxes throughout the page! 

I see what you mean about all of the projects feeling similar...especially with the similar layout.  I find it really difficult to mix up layouts / style while still keeping the portfolio consistent.

Really like your portfolio by the way, really lovely sections and the renders on the last spread!


I am doing a brief an architectural brief on  depression..Anyone with ideas where i can get inspiration from.. Maybe a portfolio on depression; examples etc

Jul 19, 17 10:28 am

If only we could meet..because you're giving me a depression.


hey, the content is good and layout is roughly ok but the graphic design could be a little more simple and elegant. I would look for some simple but sophisticated references and try to emulate them. 

Jul 19, 17 10:55 am

Cheers for the comment! Any specific portfolios / publications I should check out?

Reagarding consistency - yes.

As a reader/reviewer I prefer each page to have a consistent layout. E.g. Top left corner tells me date, professor/boss or project title. This is essentially what a title block is on a drawing set. You want people to be able to clearly extract the information needed, don't make it difficult for someone to comprehend. Especially since they're going to spend about 30 seconds flipping through it on the first pass. It will elicit a 2nd pass if the layout is clean and work is interesting, but the first glance is enough to ascertain how tight the layout is. The layout is just as important as the content, being something you will deal with your entire career.

Establish some sort of framing and lock every page (that has similar info) into that general frame. In design does this extremely well with master pages for example. The section marker is ok but imho I don't like that it encroaches the page layout and is only noted on page 1 of the chapter. Consider the way books are laid out, sometimes the book title is atop each page, sometimes it's numbered, sometimes it's the chapter title etc. pick some sort of format and keep it consistent across all chapters, easily found/read (e.g. Rotated text can be difficult to read so if using it have a good reason) and out of the way of your content.
Jul 19, 17 12:59 pm

I do have a general 3x3 grid on my Master Page set up, but I haven't been using it for the text boxes (obviously).  I'll try to get them to work with the existing grid!  Are the images / sketches laid out okay?

Totally agree about the section marker.  I want to find a simpler, more graphic way to mark the transition.  The pages prior to this section will be architecture projects.

Forgot to note - it's ok to break your established layout say for a weirdly sized image or big moment, but have a reason for it. The same could be said for design, set up a system of rules which most things fit into and where they don't, make those moments count.
Jul 19, 17 1:05 pm

I broke it a few times, but maybe too much since it doesn't seem obvious a grid system is even being used...

Final note - because you have some good stuff in here, as others have pointed out, this doesn't need to be an anthology of your life's work. If you've got multiple of the same, pick the best one of each. A concise summary of what you've done so far is preferred to a massive book which may be overwhelming to parse through. A good rule of thumb is to limit it to 10 diverse well put together projects.
Jul 19, 17 1:09 pm

Totally get what your saying. The schools I'm applying to have a 20 page limit (basically 9 spreads and an intro and final page). This section will take up 4 of those 9 spreads. The preceding pages will be a table of contents and 2 architecture competitions I participated in. I have more architecture projects from my undergrad that I could include, but frankly they're embarrassing to look at. Perhaps I could get rid of one of the tables and add some photography? My undergrad entrance portfolio was 100% photography so I feel it's pretty strong.

Thanks so much for your thought out responses.  They are incredibly helpful!


To me the finished products are way more refined and polished than the drawings. Did you make those especially to represent the work in a portfolio or were they only made to build the objects? I also don't really get the sketchy drawing-style with precise cad-like dimensions, could've profited from a ruler while drawing ;) The projects are nice though. Curious about the rest of the portfolio.

Jul 19, 17 2:29 pm

The sketches were made to build the projects. That's how we (or I for the solo works) worked out all of the details. Lots of sketching on scrap pieces of wood in the shop or random pieces of paper we had laying around. I too feel a bit unsure of the CAD dimensions and the few CAD drawings sprinkled in with all of those sketches. Too jarring?


It would maybe be interesting to also include a few images of those rough sketches on scrap pieces of wood or pieces of paper if you still have them, no?


I've been kicking myself because all of those went out with the trash as we finished up the projects...


The sketches were made to build the projects.  That's how we (or I for the solo works) worked out all of the details.  Lots of sketching on scrap pieces of wood in the shop or random pieces of paper we had laying around.  I too feel a bit unsure of the CAD dimensions and the few CAD drawings sprinkled in with all of those sketches.  Too jarring?

whoops didn't mean for this to be a new comment...

Jul 21, 17 6:50 am

it looks fine for what it's worth.  I assume you have deeper interests in architecture.

Jul 21, 17 10:36 pm

Definitely! There will be 2-3 architecture projects preceding this section.

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