Looking for Assistance with MLA I Portfolio


I am working on applications to an MLA I program. I have a background in natural resources management and a degree in civil engineering - needless to say, not an art background. I have had conflicting advice from the few folks I've spoken to and am looking to cast a wider net for more advice on my application portfolio. Here is a link to two different versions of the same project to be included based on the conflicting advice I have received. Any help, advice, feedback, etc. is much appreciated.Google Drive Link

Nov 5, 19 1:11 pm

Don't take this personal, it's just what I see and I want to help you:

Your font and spacing of the content of the page needs work (they are too cramped/fonts are bad), you need detail shots of where the bookshelf pieces come together (some axon drawing or iso of the detail?), maybe some shop shots of you actually making it?, the cut sheet dims and that stuff can just go away (nobody cares about the dims of your bookshelf), make your diagrams nice black and white drawings with line weights like an architectural drawing would look. 

I'd say if you do these things you'll be on your way to a better project.

Nov 6, 19 11:55 am

Thanks for the advice. I've never done this before, so really it's not personal. I am wondering though if one of those formats is more portfolio-appropriate (the single page or multiple page)? If I am to add more images, I assume it is the multiple page but I am not sure.


It really depends on what school you're applying to and how they view portfolios. If you're submitting a PDF, which is likely, the two-page spread needs to be designed to read properly for viewing without a binding spine. For example: If you design in the two-page spread but need to submit pages individually, the pages will be collated on the screen and won't read side by side.


Where are you planning to apply?

Nov 8, 19 11:34 am

I am really casting a wide net:

Stretch Schools: RISD, GSD, Penn

Middle of the Road: Cornell, U of Toronto

More in my wheelhouse: Ohio State, Rutgers, UMass, U Maryland, SUNY ESF

I have an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering (with a focus on water resources systems) and a degree in Spanish, a 3.0 GPA and GRE scores for quant and verbal in the 160s.

For the last 4-5 years, I've been working for state government running a water quality volunteer monitoring program. 

Nov 8, 19 11:45 am

Your questions are understandable since you don't come from an art/architecture background, but you are applying to arch school and ultimately your portfolio will be just as much about how you showcase your work and not just the work itself.  I suggest you browse around and look at other M.Arch/MLA portfolios to see what you are up against. is a great resourse for this.

As far as your porfolio goes, I agree with Archlandia that the technical details ultimately aren't that important.  I think you would be better off showing more of the process: sketches, different iterations, a concept (if there is one)? I feel like showing the process will highlight your way to think and conceptualize a project. 

Good luck!

Nov 8, 19 1:00 pm

Hey, I can empathize your situation, being someone from a non-design background. I would say the same, less technical aspects and more showcasing your artistic work and your creative thought process. How you came up with it? Where are the sketches?

I posted my portfolio for review too if you would like to take a look for some reference (not to say it's great but hopefully it helps a bit)

Dec 11, 19 4:29 am

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