M. Arch. academic portfolio critique requested?


Thought I'd make a new thread because it isn't possible to edit the first post of an existing thread. Anyway, made some changes to my portfolio, full bleed imagery, made the formatting more consistent. However, for a portfolio to be emailed out to firms as first contact, at 40 pages it still seems a bit long. Anything (or a project in particular) I should cut? As always any critical feedback welcome!

Jun 5, 19 11:25 pm

Cut them all. Also, that bilingual resume bothers me, use one or the other depending on the office you send it to would be my suggestion...

Jun 6, 19 3:09 pm

My first impressions... (I'm assuming you're applying for s/medium - large firms)

  1. Who are is the audience? I dont think you need gernman.english version
    1. Declutter - I found it really hard to read the texts. Think it of from the employer's perspective, you want to save them time by making the key info as simple, concise and clean.
    2. Take out high school experience, its not relevant.
    3. Use bullet points for your roles/ responsibilities.
    4. Dates - employers don't really care for the specifics, you can declutter by doing (Summer 2013 or 5 months etc.)
    5. I would consolidate your work experiences into groups or highlight the more significant positions. It seems to show a lot but when you look at it closer there are short months which may seem odd.
  2. Reduce pages
    1. Take out wallrefuge - nice design but not as strong as your other works
    2. Take out drawings - although they're nice, I don't think it is as strong as your other works
    3. Limit conceptual renders to a 3 max. and add in more details or design diagrams, systems diagram etc.
  3. Professional examples? I don't see any professional work samples....

One key thing I have heard from higher ups that do hiring is that they like to see simplicity, clarity, and concise portfolios. Some even have a requirement that they should be 10 pages MAX. (including the resume and cover).

 It saves them time for review, and easily look for information they need. Unless you're looking to work in a niche/ boutique firm, chances are most hiring principals don't have the time of day and the last thing they want to review is a fancy graphic intensive portfolio that is nice in theory, but in practice is very distracting. They rather have the substance of the portfolio be amazing, they don't care for fancy colours or texts.

Jun 6, 19 3:19 pm

Thanks for the detailed feedback! Really helpful. A few thoughts, if I can add...


* whoops the rest of my comment for GridBubbles didn't get posted. If I could pose a few questions...

I was also considering taking out Betonstadt (#2) because while it shows process it isn't relevant to offices. Thoughts?

And I actually previously had two portfolios, one full size for print (as previously shown) and a compact for email first contact (10 pages, 5mb). And I was informed that the compact one was outdated, I should just go ahead and email the full size one. Different preferences for different people? Or is the idea to have one in-between portfolio of around 20 pages (the average length I've seen)?

Jun 8, 19 5:50 am

20 pages seems reasonable, anything beyond that would be excessive in my opinion. Between compact vs print, it really depends on where you are applying. Most firms review the portfolio digitally on a initial first pass and then make the decision to bring in the person for an interview. 

Some have strict requirements that the digital portfolios are to be 10 pages or less, some don't so it just depends on the job posting requirements. 

Generally, if a firm offers you an in person interview after the initial first pass, chances are that you have a good chance for the job. Having a printed version during the in person interview certainly helps refresh their memories when you are chatting with your interviewer.

As mentioned already, when presenting anything (be it job interview, portfolio, resume, cv, presentations etc...) follow these 3 simple rules: Simple - Clear - Concise. Based on my experience, this rule has served me well thus far.


Rather than having a page with hand drawings at the very end I would say have some concept / development sketches throughout the portfolio. Also in academic portfolios you have to show both the design process and the end result. Physical models showing iterative design could be a good addition to your portfolio as at the moment everything feels very digital and heavily processed. Where is the creative flair and character that makes you unique? 

Jun 8, 19 12:47 pm

page not found

Jun 14, 19 8:15 pm

Went to an interview with a 35 portfolio recently and I could tell the interviewers we got bored after page 20-25 despite the high quality. I will be editing mine down for sure, which is always difficult if you have a lot of good work to show. 

Jun 14, 19 8:56 pm

didn't you just attack me for having a low GPA?

Aug 22, 19 9:56 pm

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