October 29, 2011

Guidelines for a portfolio

As promised - short guidelines for making a portfolio.

I’ll keep it really short since tonight is the most interesting FestU out of them all - the Halloween party! And I do look like a zombie at the moment, since I’ve spent the whole day in front of the computer (finishing my portfolio).

A good architecture portfolio can take you places. Seriously, like getting me to Sweden and Chalmers. It wasn’t grades for sure, though I guess recommendation letters had to do something with the admitting process as well.

First thing to remember - sending a portfolio for a school is not the same as sending it for a job. Companies usually want to see just a sample portfolio, a teaser so to speak and if they like it, you will be called for an interview. Then you can produce a big hard copy portfolio with all the projects you ever worked on (if you want).
A university portfolio is different. Usually you have not only the file size limitation, but they also limit you to a number of projects. The year I applied to Chalmers, it was a maximum 4 projects in a file of 2mb.

Some guidelines:
- put only the projects that you know are good. In a case of a small number of projects, there is no room for something less than perfect. If it’s a bigger portfolio, start and finish with a great project and put less good stuff in between. I had only 3 projects, one per year of Bachelor studies.
- if you are a creative person that shows potential in drawing, painting, sculpting, photography - think of putting products of that work instead of one project. Just name it “hobbies” or something like that. It’s good to show variety. Also, think about putting links to a website you have, if it will help showing your personality more.
- think of a common layout. Some people combine all the posters they already did for exam presentations into one file. I tend to like it more if there is a visual theme that connects the works inside a portfolio. Try to create a template you can fill as time goes by. Even if you wish to use done posters, have the same headings for them, or any similarity that will show it comes from one portfolio.
- also, try not to write too much. Having a short paragraph or two is enough. Nobody has time to read all the text anyway.
- always write if the project is done individually or in a group!
- if you are building the portfolio from the scratch, remember that you don’t need all 4 elevations or both sections. One drawing (the one you think is the best) is enough. Goal of the portfolio is to show diversity in your opus and your capabilities, so having a number of same drawings doesn’t mean anything.
- if it’s a digital copy, think what dimensions will look good on a screen. Also, think both about the size of the file and the quality of pictures/drawings. You don’t want them to see just a smudge of your work when they look at it full-screen.

I sincerely hope this will make it a little bit easier, for all of you thinking about applying to Architecture at Chalmers. Feel free to ask any more questions regarding application for the Master programme. I’ve been there and I know how confusing it may seem. Trust me, once you get the hang of it, it’s a piece of cake.

Happy Halloween,
zombified Evie