In this article, originally published as "¿Qué es un portafolio de proyectos y cómo se hace?" (What is a portfolio and how do you make one?) from blog Enlace Arquitectura, the author shares a series of suggestions and steps on making a suitable and convenient portfolio for when you’re job hunting. The basis of these recommendations is to correctly understand what a portfolio is and what it should contain. It also details how to maximize creativity in the representation and execution of architectural projects when included in a portfolio.
Entering the workforce is a big challenge for young architects, there’s a lot of competition and you must be able to demonstrate and defend your abilities as a professional. A basic aspect to get you started in the field or if you are looking for a job is to always have a portfolio of previous work. Many employers and professional firms will request one along with a presentable resume.
What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is an architect's introduction letter that not only shows work experience but is also an instrument that reflects the style and personality that differentiates him from the rest. If you are a student or recently graduated and don’t have any work experience, you can also build a portfolio with academic work and make the most of your creative abilities when designing it. It can include projects done in school workshops, participation in competitions and other complementary activities like photos or publications in magazines or newspapers.
If you’ve never made one before, here are some steps that will guide you in designing or improving your portfolio:
1. First, gather all the visual content from your past projects and choose the most relevant ones to best organize the content. That could include blueprints, drawings, sketches, perspectives and diagrams that best illustrate your skill and style as an architect. Think quality over quantity, the goal isn’t to show the most creative projects, but the ones that best showcase your talents.
2. Once you’ve got your visual content in order you need to choose a presentation format. Currently, the digital portfolio is the most used since in addition to being able to send it immediately, it also makes it easier to edit and update subsequent projects. Consider a format that makes it easy to read and print on different paper sizes, like A4 format.
3. Design a template, making sure that the background doesn’t distract from the content. We recommend using neutral colors to highlight graphic elements (drawings, photographs, renders, sketches, construction details). It’s not necessary to saturate a page with content, remember that less is more, go for austerity and simplicity above all else.
4. An architect expresses herself visually, so avoid overloading your portfolio with text, it should be something that speaks itself. It isn’t about selling renders, the content should also reflect your freehand skill, layout, constructive vision, space perspectives, photographic quality and convey professionalism.
5. A simple and sophisticated cover to present the portfolio will suffice. In the first few pages, you can include a brief description of your resume and relevant contact information, such as telephone and email. If you want your work to look more organized, also include an index. Save the file in PDF format and you are ready to send it to a recruiter or print it.
- For better quality images you'll need a large scanner and a good camera.
- You can use design programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, Adobe In Design or web design software Behance, Issuu and Calaméo that can give you a web magazine look.
- Order and neatness are very important. Check all the little details in the writing and presentation in things like captions, margins, texts, and fonts.
- Save in PDF format and make sure that the file size isn’t bigger than 10 MB to so you can email it.
- To make your CV and portfolio more professional you can add a cover letter.
- Don’t hesitate to compare your portfolio to those of your colleagues, ask a friend or expert for their opinion.
- It’s worth taking the time to put together your portfolio well and have the best possible presentation.