“Professional” Portfolio Advice

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION “Professional” Portfolio Advice

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    susan baumgartner

    Greetings All,


    I’m in the process of updating my portfolio – I’ve been working for about 4-5 years and haven’t updated my portfolio since finishing school. I’ve been working for a relatively large firm and engaged in mostly large, long-term projects (mostly construction document production, but also some SD/DD level work) where I can’t take the “credit” for 85-99% of the design work. I was primarily involved in drawing/documenting the design and details in CAD, coordinating with other disciplines, and assembling the package.


    Can anyone offer advice on how to best represent this type of work in my portfolio? And to be frank, not to over-represent it so it seems thats all I’m capable of doing (for while its interesting to an extent I really want to be more involved in the up front design in future employment)..


    Thanks much for any and all advice!!






    Just a quick thought, but is there any way you could pick up some quick garden design work or do you have some of your own ‘art’ which might illustrate some of your own design sensibility?

    Otherwise, from my limited experience, I’d say just use your layout to ‘play down’ the illustrative and design aspects, while playing up your actual role. I would think that most firms would recognize what you contributed. For example, if I were a lead designer on a project assembling the work for my portfolio, I’d be sure to include some process imagery to promote my role as a design person.

    Todd Clements


    You might want to give yourself a little more credit when it comes to the part you played within the project. While it may seem that the big picture designer who is credited as the author of the project should receive the glory, I think you’ll agree that it takes a team to get the project actually built. Design doesn’t stop when SD/DD level is over and you move onto CDs. I bet you were responsible for hashing out some intricate details, or maybe you were involved in the discussion of materials or site furnishings. If you had a hand in producing the graphics and build documents on a regular basis, and more importantly collaborated with your senior and PMs to develop the design material, than you should feel justified in featuring the project in your portfolio with a desciption of your involvement.

    Jason T. Radice

    I personally don’t see an issue with using a graphic or two to tell the story of the project, or to give it context. You might put text on the image stating that this was created by someone other than yourself, and make it clear in an interview that you were not responsible for the graphic or the design. Put sheets of the CDs you had created in the portfolio after the “background” image. I bring full sets of bound CDs with me (11×17), in addition to the graphics, to tell the story of a project to a potential employer.

    If you need graphic work, you can use what you did in college. You haven’t been out long enough to make it irrelevant yet, and you havent been given the opportunity to replace it with professional work. Most employers know that many firms have recent grads primarily do drafting duties, especially if there is a design principal, and they will not hold that against you.

    Tanya Olson

    I asked for and received permission from my former firm to use images and drawings from projects that I worked on. It was a small firm so I did a significant amount of the design and CD work on these projects. In the graphics annotations I said “with _____ Landscape Architecture” and had my role in that project listed. When I did freelance work for them I said “for _______ Landscape Architecture” and listed my role as well.
    I used my own photographs of the finished projects. I am really glad I have .pdfs of the CDs I worked on for my own record keeping. You may want to ask for the same from your firm.

    Jennifer de Graaf
    Jon Quackenbush

    Make a website instead. Its really easy with a little patience…

    I used http://www.wix.com as they make it really simple. I then purchased a domain name from go-daddy.com for my first and last name for very little money.

    I print out personal business cards on card stock at my home printer with my contact and website info, and tell them my work is visible there. Fairly well received thus far… check it out and let me know if I can help.


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