Portfolio Design Workshop

The workshop is typically two to four days of design activity (8 hours per day) with focus on the layout design, production, and review of sample portfolio pages based on standard and custom sheet sizes. Students are required to collect and organize files or photocopies of their design projects including models, sketches, drawings, final boards, and construction documents. These are used in mock-ups of layout pages for the portfolios. Standard sheet sizes of 8.5″ x 11″, 8.5″ x 14″, 11″ x 17″, and custom sheets of 11″ x 11″ are suggested.

Over thirty successful sample portfolios have been gathered together from students throughout the world and added to the workshop for hands-on review by students during the program. These copies are integral to workshop activities as they provide provocative insights into handling of all aspects of portfolio development.

Working with inspired concepts of layout design encourages students to develop innovative approaches for the graphic design of their own portfolios. Each workshop day marks a progression toward the successful design and production of portfolios.

• The two-day program is called “a rehearsal portfolio program”. Students produce the nucleus of their design schemes/spreads that are refined following the workshop.

• The three-day program is called “a design development ” program. Students develop multiple spreads that are refined and test printed during the workshop.

• The four-day workshop program is called “a design refinement” program. Students develop; test print, and test bind a portfolio that includes front and back matter and numerous spreads into a scheme for the final portfolio design.

One-on-one consultations, demos, workshop critiques, group discussions, all act to summarize strengths, weaknesses, and redirection of student work for success. Revisions and testing alternative schemes for portfolio pages best characterizes design activities during the workshop. Graphic design examples are exhibited on the workshop walls to illustrate principles for consideration, real world solutions, and promote fresh thinking and idea development on the part of the students.

Several PowerPoint lectures are held during the two to four-day workshops. The introductory lecture (described above) is typically a 1.5-hour slide presentation held in the evening and followed the next day by the workshop. Those students who have complete portfolios from other experiences and wish suggestions and pointers are invited to bring their portfolios to the workshop for discussion during the assigned time.

The goals of many architecture and design students are not simply to express their work at a reduced size in a booklet but to bring something inspired to the portfolio result. Most architecture students would relish the prospect of finding the most appropriate connection between the type of work they have created and the best, most appropriate new form of creative communications where one’s strengths are visible and critical to success.

Taking the next step in professional development (following graduation) is the most important goal to architecture and design students. Making your work truly inspirational in print and digital formats engenders confidence in your abilities to accept the challenges that come with the next step that may be graduate school, an internship position, or an offer for a professional position within a firm.

Substantive design work has been created patiently during architecture studio courses in school, and now with care, plans are formed in terms of what is the best
method for packaging and the visual communication of this work. Think of your abilities in different ways. You, the student and eventual architect, will serve the client’s needs and inspire them to support your vision. You and the firm require clear, crisp, designs and visual communications at a professional level that engender and support goal-oriented designer-client discussions.

Among the numerous purposes of portfolio design for architecture and the allied design disciplines is serving the client and being the client’s loudest fan cheering and promoting solutions to their needs from the side. Architecture firms have a limited window of opportunity to captivate a potential client’s interest and impress them with their ability to solve a design problem and thereby demonstrate success in product and service.

Just as your portfolio is reviewed in minutes and placed into one of three piles – hot, medium, and cool – toward competing for a position within a firm, so too does the firm have only minutes to first engage and then impress a client of the power they bring to bear to answer design needs. The competition is fierce, there are many designers to interview, and shopping is a national sport. Therefore when designing your own portfolio be prepared to redesign project content especially if new design solutions and ways of composing your work appear more promising and can be implemented throughout the book in a consistent form.

† Image credit
Workshop at Bullseye Glass Conference, 2007
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  • The portfolio design images and text published on this web site are the property of Harold Linton and may not be reproduced, copied and otherwise published by anyone without the sole written approval of Harold Linton.
  • From PORTFOLIO DESIGN, fourth edition, by Harold Linton.
  • Copyright © 2010, 2003, 2000, 1996 by Harold Linton. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., All rights reserved.