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Thread: Help with portfolio!

  1. #1
    Sep 2007
    san francisco, ca

    Help with portfolio!

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm hoping that I can get some help. I am applying to an MLA program and need to prepare a portfolio. The program doesn't state specific guidelines for submission. I don't have a background in design but I have taken one freehand drawing course and a few courses in GIS and cartography. I'm not sure what would be the best thing to submit. It was suggested by a few faculty that I submit a writing sample and another faculty suggested a drawing. I'm not savvy with the portfolio so I have no idea what that really means. So, here are my questions. How is the portfolio submitted? Does it have to a be bound or in some kind of folder? What about oversize drawings? I also have done some photography. Is that something that might be included? Please, please if you have any advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it!!!!

  2. #2
    Dec 2006
    Most programs have specific guidelines for submittal. Check your graduate handbook. If you still can't find anything, you might have to use your own judgement. For urban design jobs, I have used either an 11x17 or an 8 1/2x11 portfolio, either spiral bound or hole punched. Make sure that your graphics read well. I have seen a few portfolios that have GIS maps originally created at 24x36 and 30x42 and shrunk to fit on 11x 17 and they look terrible. Show the graphics at full scale and adjust the line weights, line widths, hatches, fonts, and font spacing so it reads well in the portfolio.

    I would also create a title block for each sheet to show consistency. I would contain the following info: the name of the project, client (if applicable), and the software/mixed media used. Including a brief description may either work for or against you, so you might need to use good judgement with that. You can create title blocks in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or even Microsoft Word. Don't forget white space.

    For "most" freehand drawings, I would scan them in at least 150dpi for black and white images and at least 300dpi for color images (make sure you scan with the most colors available so that you have an accurate scan). If the freehand drawings are larger than the portfolio you can

    1. Send it to a company that does large format scanning. Kinko's is a good back up, but find a different company that knows how to calibrate their scanners and plotters.
    2. Make several scans of the image on a flatbed scanner and then use photomerge in Photoshop Elements to make one composite image. If the hand drawings are to scale, I would resize the image to scale.

    Scanning images helps to preserve the original projects from damage. However, some programs might want the original projects included.

    Save each sheet individually. If you use special fonts, make sure they are installed on the computer that is printing the sheets, otherwise they will revert to the default font and then your pagination might be screwed up. Print on a laserjet printer and use high quality photo paper for printing (colors bleed out on bond paper).

    Each portfolio you submit should be tailored to the program you are applying for (which is why each sheet should be saved individually). As you gain more experience in school you will have more samples to pick from. Some graduate programs may return your work after reviewing it, and others may end up holding onto it (they will let you know).

    If you are presenting your portfolio during an interview, I would recommend an easel binder. It comes with it's own stand so you can prop it up on a table, which frees up your hands.


    If you are very computer savvy, ask the graduate program if you can submit your portfolio on CD. For this alternative, you can create a navigatable PDF using Adobe Acrobat (not to be confused with Adobe Acrobat Reader), Dreamweaver, or Flash (I prefer the last alternative). This isn't a requirement, but if you know these types of software programs or others, promote them

    Hope this helps-
    Last edited by nrschmid; 15 Nov 2007 at 10:09 AM.

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