A strong portfolio

Aniket Murkute & Rohan Londhe
Monday, 19 November 2018

The University of New South Wales’ Architecture graduates reveal the secrets behind creating a striking portfolio

You may be brimming with ideas that can revolutionise the world of urban design and architecture. And, getting an internship or a job at your dream firm might not be so challenging. But all this is possible only if you can present your skills in a comprehensive manner, and this is where a robust portfolio comes into the picture. It is essentially a consolidated and indexed representation of your creative output that allows a viewer to gauge your skills, creativity, and technical prowess in a convenient manner.

As students who have pursued internships and jobs in both Australia and India, we have seen the importance that employers place on portfolios — the accurate means of deducing a candidate’s aptitude. Fortunately, our alma mater, UNSW Sydney, which is famed for its practical approach to education, prepared us for this well in advance, dedicating an entire semester of our programme to portfolio creation and presentation. The intricate little hacks and tips we learnt have helped us considerably in enhancing our portfolio, and as a result, we have been offered jobs by some of the biggest and most prestigious firms in India. 

Here are some of the most useful ways to enhance your portfolio:
Consider the place you’re applying to Adapting your portfolio to best connect with the place to which you’re applying is a wise decision. This could be as simple as rearranging sections in the file to place more relevant work ahead, to bring it to the fore of the portfolio. For example, if you were to apply to a firm that specialises in designing high-rise offices, the portfolio you send to the firm should focus strongly on that specific part of architecture. This would entail showcasing your concepts for high-rise buildings over residential bungalows or civic centres. Similarly, when applying for specific job roles, it is advisable to tweak your portfolio to showcase your skills that closely match the profile’s requirements. 

The format of your portfolio
When choosing a medium for your portfolio — print, digital, or online, it is necessary to make sure that your final selection is convenient for the reader, economical for yourself, and an accurate depiction of your work. As a rule of thumb, employers tend to prefer smaller sized formats over larger ones for example, A4 over A3, and downloadable soft copies over online attachments like PDF files over website links.

Overlying theme
While a portfolio is a collection of unrelated projects, it is imperative from an aesthetic and convenience point of view to have an overlying, fixed format in place. This includes keeping colours, layouts, fonts, and font sizes consistent. 

Brief introduction
Any good portfolio should have a paragraph or two about its creator and their intentions. Helping a reader gauge your own personal inspirations and motivations behind the works you have created is a good way to help them fully understand what you are trying to achieve. It is also necessary for one to ensure that each individual project has its own write-up.

An index page
The whole purpose of creating a portfolio is to make it easier for an employer to gauge your skills. While many people focus overtly on the design elements (as they should), they often forget to make their portfolio easy for others to comfortably navigate. It is therefore important to have your work properly segregated and numbered, preferably on a dedicated index page.
(The writers are alumni of  University of New South Wales, Sydney)

To help enhance your portfolio in order to cater to the highest industry standards, UNSW has organised a Portfolio Design Workshop in Pune for design faculty, thesis guides, senior students, aspiring young architects and designers. It will be conducted by its Built Environment faculty, ahead of its open day to be held in Pune on  November 21 at JW Marriott, SB Road. With limited seats available, the workshop will be followed by interactive discussions. 

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