Not always an obvious addition to a portfolio, but an architecture portfolio table of contents is vital in providing not only quick navigation and reference, but also in presenting professionalism. …as should your cover letter and resume!
As especially when interviewing and presenting your work at a professional level for an employment position, if your table of contents is missing, it will certainly count against you and your presentation.
In this short article we discuss what’s required and what the best practices are.
What does an architecture portfolio table of contents do?
Much like a standard table of contents located at the front of your favorite book, an architecture portfolio’s contents page provides a roadmap to its readers, and highlights what lies ahead and how to find it.
It also provides the reader with a general introduction to your body of work, and indicates the type and number of projects that are to be presented.
Equally, if your portfolio is to be read without you present and therefore unable to narrate its sequence, a contents page provides a valuable reference should the reader get lost.
Why is it important?
Above all else, it is the “correct” way to present your work. Just as you would write your address at the top of a letter, or must always provide a scale to your drawings.
There are several reasons why a TOC is important:
- It helps the reader navigate the document: A TOC allows the reader to quickly locate specific sections or information within the document. This can be particularly helpful if the document is long or complex.
- It gives the reader an overview of the document: A TOC provides a high-level overview of the document’s content, allowing the reader to get a sense of what is covered and how it is organized.
- It helps the reader locate specific information: If the reader is looking for a specific piece of information, the TOC can help them locate it quickly.
- It enhances the document’s professional appearance: A TOC can make a document look more organized and professional, especially if it is a long or complex document.
In general, a TOC is an important tool for helping the reader understand and navigate a document. It can be particularly useful for documents that are long, complex, or have a lot of information that needs to be organized in a logical way.
But ignoring formalities, it has one fundamental job, and that’s navigation.
Where should your table of contents feature?
Your contents page should always feature at the front of your portfolio between your cover page and first project.Again this is the standard location for any table of contents, and therefore where the reader will look first.
So to avoid confusion and distraction, always feature it at the front of your portfolio.
This allows the reader to access it as soon as they start reading the document and helps them navigate to the specific information they are looking for.
In general, the TOC should be easy to find and should be clearly labeled as such. It is typically placed near the front of the document, so that the reader can access it quickly and easily.
If the document is very long or has a complex structure, it may be helpful to include a TOC at the beginning of each major section or chapter, in addition to the main TOC at the beginning of the document. This can make it easier for the reader to find specific information within each section of the document.
It’s important to keep in mind that the placement of the TOC will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the reader and the overall structure of the document. The main goal is to make it easy for the reader to find and navigate the information they are looking for.
How your architecture portfolio table of contents can be presented?
There are no set rules on how to present a table of contents, other than it must contain the title of each project and the correct page number of where each one starts.
For those that have purchased our Portfolio Guide, you will see from the featured portfolios from both students and architects that there are a number of ways to go about this. We also have free portfolio guide here.
Content – In terms of the information presented, you only need to provide the title of the project and its starting page number. This is not the time to provide a short introduction or key project statistics.
Size – Size wise and as you can see from the above example, it must be kept within proportion to your portfolios page format. Generally this is common sense; not too small for it to be hard to read, and not too large to overbear the page.
Length – The length will be dictated by the number of projects presented in your portfolio. You must include every project and/or chapters, but remember you are only providing a title and page number.
Text – When it comes to text, the font type and sizing must mirror that of what has been used throughout the rest of your portfolio.
Do not overcomplicate and confuse your portfolio’s overall presentation. A constant font type enables each page to be subtly tied together.
Images – The use of images is encouraged if they can be tied back to each of the projects they represent. Again, there is an excellent example of this in our Guide, where a young architect has developed a series of symbols that feature both in their table of contents, and on each project page.
Format – Number first or project first is slightly subjective, but standard practice says projects first followed by numbers. Use a configuration that your readers will be familiar with.
Architecture portfolio table of contents templates
With the above variations in mind, the below portfolio template pack features among cover, title and project pages, 10 bespoke fully editable and adaptable contents pages.
These use tried and tested methods of presentation and arrangement, to provide an instant “out-of-the-box” solution to an architecture portfolio’s creation.
Every interview is different.
Know where to start and how to prioritize your presentation, for any interview scenario.
FAQ’s about architecture portfolio table of contents
Should an architecture portfolio have a table of contents?
Yes, a table of contents (TOC) can be a useful addition to an architecture portfolio, especially if it is a lengthy document with many different sections or projects. A TOC allows the reader to easily navigate to specific sections of the portfolio and quickly find the information they are looking for.
In general, a TOC should include the title of each section or project in the portfolio, along with the page numbers where those sections can be found. It is typically placed at the beginning of the portfolio, either before or after the introduction.
Some potential sections that you might include in your TOC are:
- Personal statement or introduction
- Education and qualifications
- Work experience
- Skills and software proficiency
- Selected projects
- Awards and recognition
- Professional affiliations
- Contact information
The TOC should be easy to read and navigate. Use clear, concise headings and consider using bullet points or numbered lists to organize the information.
What should be included in an architecture portfolio?
We discuss this in great detail here, but in short – here are some things you might include in your architecture portfolio:
- Personal statement or introduction: This is a brief overview of your background, goals, and design philosophy.
- Education and qualifications: Include information about your education, including any degrees or certifications you have earned.
- Work experience: List your previous work experience as an architect, including any internships or apprenticeships.
- Skills and software proficiency: Highlight any skills or software programs that are relevant to your work as an architect.
- Selected projects: Include a selection of your best work, along with detailed descriptions and images.
- Awards and recognition: List any awards or recognition that you have received for your work.
- Professional affiliations: List any professional organizations or associations that you are a member of.
- Contact information: Include your contact information, such as your email address and phone number.
It’s important to keep in mind that the content of your portfolio should be tailored to your specific goals and audience.
For example, if you are applying to a graduate program in architecture, you may want to focus more on your academic work and research, while if you are looking for a job as an architect, you might focus more on your professional experience and portfolio of completed projects.