Architecture Applicant?

Mastering the art of architecture portfolio formatting: Adobe InDesign and Google Slides.

Turning your work into a legible, convincing format for admissions.

An example of an architecture school portfolio to give advice for BArch applicants to schools like Cornell.
TF Zavada. Architectural Forum 81 October 1944, 6

In a world of high school applicants vying for coveted spots in undergraduate architecture school programs, the portfolio is key. This carefully crafted compilation of your skills serves as a visual testament to your creativity, thought processes, and ability to effectively communicate your ideas. In this post, we delve into the realm of portfolio formatting, exploring two powerful but very different tools for creating captivating portfolios: Adobe InDesign and Google Slides. 

1. A Well-Formatted Architecture School Portfolio

In the competitive landscape of college admissions, a visually striking portfolio has the power to captivate the discerning eyes of admissions committees amidst a sea of applications. Effective formatting enables you to present your work in a clear and organized manner, immediately drawing attention to your creativity.

A well-structured portfolio serves as a blank canvas upon which you can paint a vivid picture of your skills and visual processes. It showcases your ability to curate and present your artwork with finesse, leaving a lasting impression.

The format of your portfolio plays a pivotal role in effectively conveying your ideas to the admissions committee. A thoughtful layout and design enhance the readability and comprehension of your work, ensuring that nothing is lost in translation.

2. Adobe InDesign: Professional Design

Adobe InDesign is a ubiquitous software in the creative industry. With its arsenal of advanced typography, layout, and image editing tools, InDesign empowers you to wield precise control over every visual element in your portfolio. It is the quintessential choice for those seeking unparalleled portfolio design.

InDesign’s flexible workspace allows for effortless importation of images, illustrations, and drawings. Through its robust alignment, arrangement, and formatting features, you can meticulously craft a portfolio in any way you’d like. The software’s text formatting prowess ensures consistent typography throughout.

InDesign is not limited to digital presentations. It offers high-quality print output and a host of print settings. Additionally, the InDesign provides options for exporting your portfolio in digital formats like PDF, catering to the modern era of online submissions or electronic sharing.

3. Google Slides: Collaborative and Simple

Google slides is a cloud-based tool that enables real-time collaboration with peers, mentors, or consultants, transforming the portfolio creation process into a seamless developmental journey. Through comment and suggestion features, communication becomes effortless, elevating your work through the power of collaboration.

Google Slides is the embodiment of accessibility and portability. With its cloud-based nature, it grants you the freedom to access your portfolio from any device with an internet connection. No more limitations due to software installations, making it an ideal choice for high school applicants seeking convenience.

Additionally, with Google Slides it is easy to integrate multimedia elements into your portfolio. It supports the inclusion of videos, interactive graphics, and a variety of visually captivating features. With a range of templates and themes at your disposal, Google Slides empowers you to create visually engaging presentations even without extensive design skills, making it a versatile option for crafting your architecture school portfolio.

An example of an architecture school portfolio to give advice for BArch applicants to schools like Cornell.
Walter Gropius. Architecture D’Aujourd’Hui v. 20 no. 28 Feb 1950, 3

4. Comparing Adobe InDesign and Google Slides

Adobe InDesign stands as the epitome of design control, offering a vast array of features and customization options for those seeking intricate and highly customized portfolios. On the other hand, Google Slides provides a simpler design interface with pre-built templates, catering to individuals with limited design experience.

While Adobe InDesign requires a steeper learning curve due to its extensive feature set and professional-grade capabilities, Google Slides embraces user-friendliness with its intuitive controls and interface. It provides a smoother entry point for high school applicants new to design software.

Adobe InDesign files (.indd) are specific to the software and may necessitate recipients to have InDesign or compatible programs to open and view the portfolio. In contrast, Google Slides offers easy sharing and accessibility online, with files that can be viewed and edited directly in a web browser, eliminating compatibility concerns.

Adobe InDesign comes with a premium price tag, requiring a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. On the other hand, Google Slides, as part of the Google Workspace suite, is available for free or at a more affordable price for students, making it a budget-friendly option.

5. Portfolio Formatting Tips and Best Practices

Maintain a consistent layout, color scheme, and typography throughout your portfolio to create a cohesive visual experience, showcasing your attention to detail. Clearly label and organize your projects, ensuring easy navigation for the admissions committee. Present your work in a logical order that tells a compelling story.

Employ appropriate hierarchy to guide the viewer’s attention, emphasizing key elements and showcasing your design thinking process effectively. Harness the power of white space strategically to enhance readability and create visual breathing room.

Optimize image resolution and quality to present your work in the best possible light. Pay attention to detail and ensure your visuals are crisp with the correct pixel densities.

Lastly, proofread your portfolio meticulously, checking for errors in grammar and spelling. InDesign has a spell check tool, though it is hidden within the toolbars. Google Slides however will automatically pick up your spelling errors.

In Summary

As you embark on your applications to architecture schools like Cornell, Pratt, RISD, SCI-Arc, the Bartlett School of Architecture, or the Architectural Association, the formatting of your architecture school portfolio becomes a crucial element of your application. Whether you choose the precision of Adobe InDesign or the collaborative ease of Google Slides, remember that the heart of your portfolio lies in the content and the presentation of that content. Good formatting can only go so far if the work in the portfolio is not up to scratch. 

Invest time and effort into crafting a captivating portfolio that showcases your creativity and potential as an aspiring architect. Choose the formatting tool that aligns with your needs, design experience, and budget. Let your portfolio become a work of art, weaving a story that captivates the admissions committee and sets you apart.

If you’d like help with the formatting of your portfolio, send us a message. Our group webinars are a helpful way to start.

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