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How to Make Your Architecture Portfolio Stand Out

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Competition abounds across the digital marketplace of most industries, and AEC is no exception. In this environment, your portfolio offers the swiftest, most effective way to edge ahead and solidify your brand image. However, one that simply showcases your work and relays basic information does not suffice anymore. Instead, it needs excellent design and copy, quality digital assets, and unyielding promotion to frame it. With that in mind, let us explore how to make your architecture portfolio stand out by addressing each of the above.

Before starting your architecture portfolio

As with most professional endeavors, preparation as regards your portfolio is crucial. In this regard, consider the 3 fundamental steps that follow.

#1 Look for inspiration

Initially, it is highly recommended that you scout the AEC industry for inspiration. Examine, for example, outstanding websites within your niche; how do their architecture portfolios stand out? Obviously it would be frowned upon to copy their creativity, but use this practice to gather inspiration and develop your own angle on your portfolio.

#2 Identify your audience

Then, it is always important to identify your audience. What is the primary purpose of your portfolio? Are you using it to apply for a specific job, brand building, digital social credit, or something else? Its purpose, and thus your intended audience for it, will need to inform your efforts.

#3 Fine-tune your website

Finally, regardless of its purpose, your portfolio should find its way to your website. How you present and promote it may differ, but its addition to your website can only be beneficial. In this regard, your hosting service matters, as does your website’s overall technical health. Burying it in an underperforming site will hamper your efforts, so consulting hosting and web design professionals should deserve your consideration.

If you are in the market for a hosting service and don’t know where to start, we suggest looking into Siteground. Please keep in mind that if you sign up through our referral link, we do make a small percentage from your purchase. 

A red and gray building photography

How to make your architecture portfolio stand out

With the fundamentals in order, you may now begin crafting your portfolio. Here, it is crucial that you approach it strategically from start to finish. While the process is relatively extensive, and many details in planning and execution will depend on your own unique circumstances, here we may outline the core steps.

#1 Start with a narrative

The first notable conceptual distinction lies in your portfolio’s narrative. Should you engage in emotional marketing, this is a crucial distinction, so you must begin with a clear goal. What does your portfolio want to say?

Depending on your goals and audience, you may wish to craft a narrative that best showcases your design skills. In this case, you’d need to showcase said skills within the portfolio itself, from form to content. Perhaps you prefer to conclude with proof of your team skills. To do so, you will need to feature your team projects more prominently. In all cases, your intended narrative matters, as it can serve as your foundation.

Sidewalk with words “Passion led us here”

#2 Add personal information

Along similar conceptual lines, you may consider adding personal information that does not directly relate to architecture. You should, of course, maintain decorum; Saturday night highlights serve no purpose in your portfolio.

However, you may consider content that answers such questions as:

  • What are your skills? Skills outside of your niche may not matter much professionally, but they do matter on a personal level. Your portfolio presents you and your brand, so an expansive skillset incites positive predispositions. 
  • What are your interests? For that matter, your portfolio appeals to humans who react emotionally. Thus, selectively adding your interests can help solidify your intended image and humanize your brand. 
  • How do you present yourself? Finally, the human element is indeed crucial to visual marketing. So, select personal expressions convey ample discreet information. It is not uncommon for such subtle touches to sway your audiences’ final decision. 

A woman in a suit holding a black book.

#3 Include your best projects

Such touches aside, your work itself is the crux of making your architecture portfolio stand out. Understandably, featuring the projects you take the most pride in should come naturally, but it is not the best route. Instead, have such factors as the following inform your choices:

  • How recent are they? Typically, you should pick projects that are no older than 5-6 years. Few audiences will value older projects, so you may make better use of the space.
  • How relevant are they to your audience? For that matter, what exactly do your audiences want to see? Showcasing visually impressive projects is valuable, but aligning them all with your intended goals is even more so.
  • Do they fit your profile? Finally, carefully consider how your selections shape your profile. Here, too, you may revisit your brand image; do the projects you showcase amplify it or distract from it?

A spiral staircase arching around an interior plant.

#4 Use white space and strive for visual consistency

Moving from content to form, design is a great way to make your architecture portfolio stand out. Namely, how you present your projects and how white space frames them. This is among the core tenets of web design and will offer substantial benefits to its presentation.

  • Distinguish between micro and macro white space – and use both. IDF makes an excellent distinction between the two, and both warrant your attention. Micro white space will let your individual lines breathe, while macro white space will frame each page. Both will elevate your portfolio to new heights.
  • Showcase your design skills. Simultaneously, your portfolio itself offers an invaluable showcase of your design skills. Examine geometry and shapes, dimensions and proportions, color balance, and more. Your portfolio design itself can be a testament to the skills it markets. 
  • Opt for quality over quantity. Finally, examine your information quantity per page, as well as your overall portfolio length. As regards both, simplicity and quality will typically work better than overloading your audiences, both information-wise and visually.

A white, 2-story house with square geometry near trees.

#5 Proofread it, update it, and promote it

Finally, to truly make your architecture portfolio stand out, there comes the post-creation phase. In this phase, you must first finalize it and then leverage it to its fullest. To do so, ensure that you engage in each of the following in order:

  • Proofread it. Before sharing it with the world, proofread it to ensure impeccable copy. Rectify any syntax and grammatical errors, refine its formatting, and polish it into perfection.
  • Update it consistently. Having touched on the significance of project recency, it is equally significant that you update it without fail. An outdated architecture portfolio will not yield the best results, regardless of your goals and audiences.
  • Promote it relentlessly. Finally, having poured so much effort into your portfolio, it is only logical that you should leverage it through promotion. Feature it prominently on your website; link to it from other pages; incorporate it into your branding efforts. AEC influencers, should you employ them, will find immense value in it as well.

A computer screen on a wooden desk, displaying graphs and pie charts.

Conclusion

To conclude, crafting a basic portfolio no longer suffices in this hyper-competitive digital landscape. To best promote yourself and your brand, you will need to make your architecture portfolio stand out. From its project selection and copy to its design and personal touches, every element holds value toward its overarching narrative. Thus, you should carefully consider your portfolio’s goals, identify your audiences, and ensure your website can leverage it to its fullest. Only then can you craft an impeccable portfolio that truly edges ahead and decisively serves its purpose.

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Dorothy is a Bizop guest author and outreach coordinator who specializes in sharing digital marketing insights, strategy, and education.

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