(MArch) Portfolio Cover page and graphic design?


Hey all, like many I'm in the throes of working on my portfolio for Grad school (and really, I wouldn't say no to any critiques on it, but I know this forum gets inundated with requests for review around this time of year so I don't want to add to the din), and I am having a bloody hard time figuring out a title page. I mean, I have some ideas. I'm not asking for help to learn how to do graphic design. What I mean is I'm having some decision paralysis on what makes a good cover page for an architecture portfolio and I'm looking for some opinions on what is good vs. bad practise and so on. I'm trying to avoid doing something that makes the reviewer go "ah shit not this again" or "what the FUCK is this guy trying to do?"

While I feel pretty good about each of my projects, there aren't really any that have a particular drawing or illustration that is so drop-dead-gorgeous that I would want to put it on a cover page. I feel pretty good about the photography that I've included in the portfolio, but I think it would be weird to include a nice photo of some random building on the cover when the focus of the portfolio is on my design, not my photography.

So, having (mostly) ruled out the option of pulling drawings from previous projects, I'm left with the option of creating some sort of a graphic that both speaks to my "style" or whatever, without referencing a particular project (which is hard because each project in the portfolio is fairly unique in its graphic style). There also isn't really a particular graphic style that unifies the whole portfolio in a recognizable way. (There is cohesion in terms of how things are organized, it's just that there isn't like, an underlying graphic theme. It's just text and a white background. The focus is the drawings/images. Not the stuff around them.)

Like I said, I have some ideas for how I could do a more "abstract" graphic for a cover page, but I fear that it may seem arbitrary or distracting. In this vein, is there anything I should really avoid doing? or is it kind of a free-for-all?

Right now I've just got "Portfolio" and my name in a nice font on a white screen. I mean, its got a certain... something to it. I'm guessing I'd really be shooting myself in the foot by doing that though.

Jan 5, 24 8:29 pm
Non Sequitur

Why put so much worry?

Cover page should have just your name and maybe a background graphic like a halftone abstract sketch.  And for fuck's sake, don't write portfolio on the cover.  That alone is enough to make you stand out.

Protip, everyone with an iphone considers themselves photographers.  Only photography work that should be included are pieces that won awards or that are of things you've designed/made.  Anything else is a waste of time.

Jan 6, 24 9:41 am  · 
1  · 

I included "portfolio" on my cover, on a scale from 1-10, how screwed am I?

Jan 8, 24 12:52 pm  · 
Non Sequitur


Jan 8, 24 1:13 pm  · 
1  · 

LOL, yeah what NS said, including the bit about photographs. The number of travel pictures that appear in portfolios is a strange constant and often ignored as filler during review (except when its professional, and even then not so much). They almost always come at the end and add nothing about the applicant other than showing an interest in travel and buildings. 

FWIW I only put my name on my portfolio cover page. Not much more needed. Content is just a page turn away. 

Jan 8, 24 7:45 am  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

I'd honestly be interested in photography only if it was B/W 35mm film the applicant shot, processed, printed themselves. At least that takes creativity and skill plus the added danger of cutting one's finger using the film cannister opening knife in the dark.

Jan 8, 24 7:57 am  · 

understandable. We know a handful of photographers, professional and otherwise, in our office and I would look at their portfolios in any color size and shape. But it is a serious job for them and not a thing they do in passing. The difference is pretty huge and shows why we almost never use our own photos for publications. Not to discourage the OP. If they are doing work in the serious art category then include it...

Jan 8, 24 9:30 am  · 

I don't know. I think you can tell when someone took time to compose a shot, even with an iPhone. You can definitely tell a difference from the point and shoot. That said photography will look a bit like filler, unless you're extremely damn good at it like Tom Rossiter (I just bought one of his pieces - architect that now does photography). Also, yeah - don't put portfolio. Even selected works is kind of weird at this point. We all know what it is, just put your name.

Jan 8, 24 11:09 am  · 

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