Portfolio Feedback



Would like some feedback on my portfolio. I applied to a few Master's programs this year and this experience was one in itself!

...taught myself indesign and used most of my projects from Career Discovery.

This is a new pursuit for me, I am coming from NO design background, NO Architecture Background. My degree is in anthropology, and I have a background mainly in marketing.

Since career discovery, I have interned at a landscape architecture firm, and now work in urban planning doing research. 

I have gotten several rejections from schools and so am looking at what my application is going to look like. 

Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time. Here is the link:

Mar 16, 14 6:51 pm

What schools did you apply to, and how did you feel about your application letter?

Mar 16, 14 7:01 pm

I felt my application letter was strong and focused on how my past applies to architecture, and what I have been doing to build on my skills and knowledge in the field.

I applied to GSD, University of Calgary, UBC, UofT...

Mar 16, 14 7:18 pm

Nice job.  Here's some things that I feel could be improved:

  1. I really like the boxes melding together but the hand drawings a kind of weak quality-wise. Lines don't meet up, line weights, ect. A Mayline or t-square would be very helpful in making the lines maintain the orthogonal.  If you're going to do hand drawings, investment in the materials will improve your craft immensely.  Items to to look into: lead holder, lead ( a selection of Hs, Bs), T-square, drafting dots, drafting cleaning bags (magic in a bag).  Also experiment with getting a set of Micron pens of different sizes and ink over lightly drawn drawings. That being said, I like the first image as it has a quality to it. 
  2. Hand drawings are nice but maybe try some experiments in Illustrator. Take the career discovery project  and trace in Illustrator with the pen tool. Apply line weights.  Maybe live paint them so it looks like an experiment in program diagramming.  Kind of like your own simplified version of the I can't stop Pointless Diagram or BIG diagramming. More drawing inspiration.
  3. The craft in the models needs some help.  Might try some Photoshop to clean things up a bit if you don't want to rebuild them. Try to push the bounds more than doing pancake floor plates and acrylic window bands.  (Look at your career discover project as an example of something that can be developed into a building with floor plans ie: Habitat 67)
  4. Floor plans don't really say much.  I feel taking a existing cool building and drawing it's basic floor plan would be helpful in understanding floor plans and improve the quality of your plans.  
  5. I really like your site analysis drawings and free hand drawings.
  6. (Opposite from Free Hand Drawing page) The bottom right photo of the model is cropped a tad bit cutting off the edge.  It's good to make sure the entire object is in a photo or make sure not to crop at joints/edges
  7.  Your layouts are fantastic.  Page numbers would be helpful in pointing things out.
  8. The project IMBU-BUL page the photos are off a little bit in their alignment.  Use guides/snapping in InDesign to make sure things aren't off slightly.

Good luck fellow applicant.  If you work hard, this could be a strong portfolio.  Don't hesitate to seek progress input. 

Mar 16, 14 7:50 pm

SpatialSojourner said a lot, so I'll just give tip on image presentation: for your scanned drawings, use the curves tool in Photoshop to make the paper white and the pencil appear darker and crisper... Makes it look much nicer on a portfolio page. Just draw an s shape with the line in the curves dialog box thing and adjust as needed to get your whites and blacks looking good.

Mar 16, 14 8:05 pm
Micah Macaulay

Caitlin beat me to it. I really like your line drawings, but the trace paper background takes away a lot of the presentation. Also consider using the Levels and Sharpen tools to adjust the clarity of your lines if Curves doesn't take care of it.

Mar 16, 14 8:09 pm

Ah, I was going to say Caitlin's comment but forgot.  Try using the levels  tool to make the background appear white (I find it easier than curves).  

Mar 16, 14 8:14 pm

It seems you didn't incorporate much of that invaluable anthropology degree into your projects. I see a few glimmering sentences here and there but they left me hanging on a cliff. Don't know if that was just part of the standard introductory prose or something still developing and sent out early. With your degree, you can certainly explore space/place, inequality, and design with a strong social-driven agenda or whatever your undergraduate pursuits were (identity, development, politics, all topics that matter to built environments). Tie it in. 

It's certainly possible given a few years if you truly want to attend say, GSD or some coveted prestigious place once you find a vision that is clear and focused. Your projects feel too brief, flipping over two or four pages without much depth or insight into how your mind functions. Why did you make this? Why does it matter? Answer those and fill the voids you ask yourself when making these projects (why keep this column and not that, how many windows, how much light should permeate through, etc.). 

Mar 16, 14 8:18 pm

some graphical errors like what is that white line on teh top of the page?


I second what 24arches said. You need to inject your own thinking not regurgitate what the Career Discovery assignment was. 

Mar 18, 14 1:05 pm

I highly suggest you photoshop the backgrounds of your drawings so they're completely white/blend in with the rest of the page. I agree with what @SpatialSojourner said as well 

Mar 18, 14 3:06 pm

Thanks for all of this, so far!


Mar 27, 14 3:17 pm

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