Design juries are thrilling. It’s a completely different adrenaline rush whenever we strike a conversation about jurors and how good or bad the juries have been. Every one of us has a unique, funny, painful, and vulnerable experience with them. Those all-nighters and last-minute models are a regular sight before the jury begins. However good or bad they are, it’s all an experience for life that we share and cherish. With the concept of virtual juries kicking in, it is altogether a different experience. 

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Architecture ©Surfaces Reporter

We experience an array of emotions when it comes to juries. So, let’s try to fix some scary ones by trying out these ways to overcome your design jury blues.

1. Pre-ready for the design jury

It is the basic requirement to appear for any exam or evaluation process. You must be prepared well in advance with your notes, progressive work, research material, interviews, and all necessary documents to showcase your sincerity towards your work. Another tip here is to always reach on time for your jury. You don’t want to give a bad impression to the juror right at the beginning. Be well-read and present at the venue before-hand.

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Pre – ready ©Futuristic Architecture

2. Develop a flow of description

The most important aspect to deal with a juror is to develop a mental flow of thoughts. Organize your concepts and make use of the right keywords. Do talk about your design concept, case study inferences, and site analysis in a precise yet impactful manner. Walk the juror through your design thinking. Avoid using words such as: basically, just, umm, aa, sort of, kind of, like, and just. 

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Flow of description ©Department of Architecture – EMU – Eastern Mediterranean University

3. Be rested 

It is essential for you to get some good sleep before D-day. This may sound impossible but always works best. Make it a point to take enough rest because it makes you look fresh and keeps you focused. You should look presentable, smart, and active when appearing for a jury. A lethargic look puts off the jury right at the start. Have a nice sleep and light breakfast before you move out for the jury. 

4. Brace yourself up for the design jury

Develop a thick-skin just for the day. Be open to good and bad criticism. It is not necessary that every juror will like your work. Design is subjective and judging parameters are different for all. Take it all with a pinch of salt. And if you get praises all over, then it’s just the cherry on your cake. The jury can make personal comments which will, of course, be hurtful, but it doesn’t really matter because they are not our permanent people. Learn to only take all the good things with you when you walk out of that hall.

5. Own up to your work

Do not be afraid to explain your designs. It is necessary that you stand by your work. You have put a lot of thought into it and you must present it without fear. You should be confident to put forth your ideas and hold your ground firmly. However, learn to draw the line between being fiercely defensive and being empathetic.

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Own up to your work ©

6. Be accepting and honest 

It is good to put your shield down if there’s logic to what the juror has to say. No design is perfect. There will be flaws, neglected areas, naive mistakes that you might unknowingly do. The best is to accept them and learn from your mistakes. Provide enough room to get some knowledge and grow with that.

7. Do not zone out 

 It is a general tendency to zone out into a different world when the design jury time is prolonged. Make attempts to not just be physically but also mentally present at the moment. Keep interacting with the jurors and try to avoid thoughts that don’t let you focus. 

8. Make a graphical representation 

Architecture is all about doodling and sketching. Plan a script to speak for the design jury but do not put that script on paper. Your sheets should not include elaborative paragraphs on ideas. Try and include a lot of diagrams, graphs, sketches, images, tables, pictures, etc. Let your sheets speak for themselves. Drawings have a language of their own so get people connecting on that. The more graphical your sheets look, the better the juror can understand.

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Graphical representations ©

9. No hallucinating 

Everyone is nervous right before appearing for the design jury, but you must not let it take over you completely. It is a human tendency to be stressed for confrontational events. Try to mix those emotions with some excitement and cheer. Your juror is not a ghost. He is just a regular human as you are and has the same emotions as you have. So, do not overthink the situation and spoil things for you. You may tend to fumble or even worse; go all blank with hallucinations. Have an upbeat attitude and show some smiles while walking up to your table. 

10. If the design jury doesn’t go well, be ready to take it in your stride

Take it all with pride. A design school is where you can bear it all! Your best and worst work begins to take shape in those premises. Be ready to embrace it all with a smile. If the design jury didn’t go well, you always have another jury to cover it up. Keep up with your passion and work towards the next big thing. Be confident about your talent and skills while the rest will follow.


Pragya is an innovative, ambitious, fervent, creative and a forward-thinking architect with a flair for writing. She firmly believes that writing is one of the most effective tools to convey about design. Her varied experience in the fields of architecture design, building documentation and creative writing enables her to view the professional through a different spectacle.