Defining the content, format and frame

Once the needs of the audience are established, the next step is to make a list of the drawings and images that need to be contained in the portfolio. A good portfolio will showcase a range of images, both freehand and computer generated, and from concept through to scheme details, to display different ideas across a range of media and representational techniques.

As with any presentation, the design of the images and their relationship to the format is key. It is useful to keep the format of all the portfolio’s pages consistent. If this isn’t possible then try to group pages together so the viewer doesn’t have to keep turning themselves or the portfolio to view and understand the work.

Project: ‘Living Bridge’ portfolio Location: Venice, Italy Designer: Rob Moore Date: 2006...

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The objectives of the portfolio

Like a graphic or oral presentation, understanding the needs of your portfolio’s audience is the first step in its construction. Is it to be used to secure a job interview or a place on a course, or will it form part of a client pitch? The audience of your portfolio will affect both its content and its organisation. For example, a portfolio compiled to secure a place on an academic course will have to meet pre-defined criteria and demonstrate your competence and aptitude as a potential student. Similarly a portfolio that is produced for a job interview might display a range of work that echoes the style of your potential employer.

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The rules

A graphic presentation is usually a complex mix of different levels of information, composed of several drawings that are displayed on the same sheet. It is therefore vital to adhere to certain guidelines in order to ensure that all the levels of information and different elements of content are read correctly.

Project: Metazoo Location: Conceptual Architect: CJ Lim / Studio 8 Date: 2000

This conceptual scheme explores an idea using photomontage; the architectural concept has been applied to an aerial site photograph. The idea is further explored in three – dimension as a series of the scheme’s components are deconstructed to describe the idea in more detail. A legend associates each of the elements to the composite drawing.

All graphic presentations need a title...

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Supplementary text

The information contained within the presentation drawings can be supplemented by accompanying text. This text is another important element in the design of a graphic presentation, and its display needs to be carefully considered; for example, it might be boxed out or weaved into the actual drawings. Remember, however, that this text is supplementary; the drawings should remain the primary means of communication.

As with the choice of line weight for drawings, the style and size of the font will affect the viewer’s interpretation of the supplementary text. The hierarchy of the text and how this relates to the drawings should be carefully considered.

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‘Imagined-reality’ visuals

Imagined-reality visuals are intended to excite and invigorate the viewer. They are impressions of a place or space created by the architect, and as such the use of colour and the creation of a certain sense of drama are important considerations. The layout of a visual element must connect strongly to the content of the image, for example, there may be pictures of activities associated with the proposed architecture that can be included to unite the presentation and the underlying concept. These visuals may form the centrepiece to a series of measured drawings or create a theme for the presentation across a range of laid-out pages.

The concept is further explained with some explanatory text and diagrams, which are presented as a narrative along the base of the drawing.

The perspe...

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