3 important tips for making a job winning Architecture Portfolio!

Architecture Portfolio is an essential tool for an architect and a student, applying for a job/internship. Architecture Portfolio shows your designing skills, a detailed description of your character. It represents you to your possible client or firm. Following are a few tips to create your architecture portfolio and to maintain a track for subsequent portfolio updates on it.

  1. Organizing and designing

  2. Process of sending your application

  3. Key pointers

1. Organizing and Designing your design portfolio.

  • Research (firms)

  • List down your projects

  • Presentation

  • Portfolio+


Listing down the firms that you are interested in applying, will maintain

a track in this entire process of creating your work portfolio__

Most of us avoid the basic step of organizing, preparation before you start designing your portfolio. The content of your portfolio should be in tune with the employer's expectations. Therefore, possessing the knowledge of what you are efficient at and figuring out which type of architecture firms you should apply is significant. You need to learn what type of projects they work on, and hence research is imperative. Listing down the firms you are interested in working will keep you on track in this entire process of creating your architecture work portfolio. Research is the first step in any design process so might as well apply it when designing your portfolio.

To understand the requirements of the firm, you need to figure out the type of projects the firm majorly works on (Residential, Commercial, Industrial, sustainable designs, contemporary, depending on your consideration) and the Design principles they follow, according to your choices and liking list down the firms. Information is readily available on their websites, so researching is not a tough task, it is time consuming only if you have a lengthy list of Firms; you are planning to apply. But the efforts are worth it.

Making an Excel sheet of all this will not merely help you while designing portfolio but also when you are updating it in the future, you will have a track of firms you’ve applied to and wish to reapply.

You can download the basic excel sheet I use to maintain the list of firms I wish to work for. You can download this or create one of your own.

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List down your projects

Listing down all the projects that you have worked on

academically and professionally, recent ones in case the list is too big__

Yes, again a list! Being organised never fails you. It may seem to be impractical, but it is certainly practical for future updates. By maintaining a list of the projects you have worked on, you will understand which ones you can include in your portfolio and which ones are similar and can be avoided.

Your portfolio is proof of your designing skills, it represents your design sense and your character. Therefore, it is important to be choosy here, select only the best ones. A notion that page numbers matter, a serious no here. List your projects into types which will ease the tailoring of your portfolio firm wise. The finest projects can be segregated from the rest and further into types, which will ease the tailoring of your portfolio firm wise.

You can download the excel sheet that I use.

• 11KB


The design needs attention which is gathered by the presentation__

This is where you create your portfolio. After researching we need to plan the portfolio:

  • Size

  • Format

  • Color scheme

  • Presentation


Architecture portfolio format
Size of the Architecture portfolio

The size of the portfolio matters. A1 or A2 size portfolio is too big to handle, your portfolio should be of a comfortable size that is easy to handle and to compose your design projects. A3 is the preferred size of the portfolio, but again you can alter it, depending on your design skills and preferences. Finalizing this initially helps you in the steps ahead.


Whether you prefer your portfolio to be in landscape or portrait format or also a clean square. This will then change the composition of your portfolio. This can be decided by going through your selected designs and figuring out the best format for your design perspectives and drawings to fit in.

Colour scheme:

A thought or a colour scheme throughout your portfolio showcases your graphic designing skills, which is also a positive aspect. Your portfolio is a physical proof of your design skills. Experimenting a few colour theories and themes or even having a concept for your portfolio highlights the designer in you.

Check  the link for ideas https://in.pinterest.com/archiol/architecture-design-portfolio/color-scheme-+-concept-architecture-design-portfol/


©Nima.E _Portfolio done

This is the most crucial part of designing your architecture portfolio. Being an architecture student or architect you know how to design, but you likewise need to know how to present your design. Presentation matters, you may have interesting design projects but if you don’t present them properly, then the one with a better presentation might hold the attention of the selector. The design needs attention, which is drawn by the presentation.

The composition should be minimal, overcrowding the page with irrelevant things will lose the focus from the key aspect of the page and it is easy to locate the fillers so it’s better to avoid them. Empty blank spaces in your portfolio are advantageous as it maintains the focus, a visual pause to grab the design. Just make sure that you balance the composition of the white or blank space with the view or drawing that you add.

Decide if you want to continue the same page composition throughout your portfolio or vary it with the project. It all depends on how you wish to present your work. Experiment with various styles for composition; refer the magazine compositions or some architectural book. Let the composition be flexible.

Linked below are some Pinterest board for reference



  • CV

  • Cover Letter



Usually, CV forms the introductory pages of your portfolio design and hence it has to be appealing. A CV should comprise your relevant personal information. The firm is not interested to know your marital status but relevant information like knowing foreign languages which may favour their international projects/contacts.

As important as it may seem, you cannot send your CV without portfolio. CV sent without portfolio is incomplete and mere words cannot show your designing skills, and so your portfolio is compulsory.

You can also list the following with a rating to show your competency.

  • software skills

  • model making skills

  • Sketching skills

Being in a creative field, we are bound to have hobbies related to our field, mentioning them and also adding to your portfolio adds on to your creativity.

Click for CV design examples https://in.pinterest.com/archiol/architecture-design-portfolio/cv/

Cover Letter:

The cover letter is your first impression. A cover letter is just another type of formal letter, which is an introduction of your CV and Portfolio, so you don’t have to disclose everything in detail here, you have your CV for that. The cover letters should comprise a brief introduction of your qualifications and the reason for your interest in the firm.

 Please find below links to some sample cover letters. https://zety.com/blog/architecture-cover-letter-example

Software to create your work portfolio:

1. Adobe InDesign

2. Adobe Illustrator

3. Photoshop

If you are a student and struggling with the software to create your portfolio you can simply use M.S. Powerpoint (ppt) and make your portfolio, you can always update it later using the software.

2. Process of sending your application

PDF /Online & Hard copy–architecture design Portfolio.

Setting up a portfolio has become easy with the ready to fill in templates online but server issues may create problems, therefore sending a PDF is always a better option than an online portfolio, and also employers sometimes save the portfolio for future openings.

The list of your projects will help you decide which projects need to be in your PDF and which additional projects in the hard copy of your portfolio. The hard copy of your design portfolio can have more content than the PDF version. Create the main file with all the projects you have decided to add on to your entire portfolio, and then tailor it according to the firm’s requirement. The list that you make earlier will be handy in this process.


Having a list helps here again, as you don’t have to go back and forth to check what you have to send and to whom (which firm). In the list include the email id with their official name and type of work, so the entire process of applying to the individual firm becomes simple.

Do not mail your job application to all the firms together, don’t even forward the same mail to others, take extra efforts and mail individually to all the firms.

3. Key Pointers:


  • Create an outstanding Cover page of your portfolio.

  • Your portfolio has to be genuine, the content should be your own and self-curated. Adding projects that you have not worked on may get you through the interview, but you will lack the required knowledge, which will get you in trouble and even lower your confidence.

  • Your portfolio demands to have quality, not quantity. A short portfolio with impressive designs and tidy presentation weighs more than the lengthy portfolio with many average projects.

  • Knowledge of technical drawings is important, but it is unnecessary to add it in the portfolio when you’re mailing it. You can add a zoomed-in detail of a particular project. You can always add them to the portfolio you will carry for your interview.

  • Maintain the list to tailor your portfolio as per the firm’s profile.

  • You can add a brief version of any theoretical project, or design philosophy that you may have developed.

  • The PDF file of the portfolio you attach while sending your application should be of around 5mb.

  • You can also add group projects which will display teamwork, clearly mention the things that you have worked on, always be genuine.

  • Keep updating your portfolio.

Click below to download a printable to do list .

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