With the advent of the pandemic situation in the world, the world is going digital at a faster rate than it was due to the effects of globalization. Work from home, online classes, and video calls are quickly taking over traditional methods of dealing with things that usually required physical presence. The architectural community is no exception – with site work getting restricted, deadlines being shifted and online juries in colleges are taking place to ensure some semblance of normality. However, digital portfolios are not a new or a recently developed phenomenon.
Portfolios for any art or architecture student are essentially an assessment of what that student worked upon for the duration of his professional career. The first of those is a college-level portfolio, designed and completed for admission into the college of their choice, or higher education and job opportunities. Unlike other fields where a CV or a record of marks is enough for understanding a student’s potential, followed by an interview; for an architecture student, a portfolio is needed for more than one reason.
For a creative design-related field, marks or previous job experiences are not enough for judgment of an individual’s expertise – it is in a way a look into the design methodologies and priorities of that person. Architects usually have diverse mindsets and different ways of tackling a similar problem – bringing about an infinite amount of solutions for a situation. A portfolio in such a case is much more helpful for understanding the individual’s strengths and focuses.
Another way a portfolio can help is by acting as a tool for understanding the progress of the architect. Everyone has a starting point and there are certain steps in the way before the person reaches and manages to become what they are in the present. The portfolio is a select collection of their best works, but also works that acted as their turning points – or events that had a marked change in the life and thought of the person. A singular project is never good enough for someone to judge such parameters.
Traditionally, portfolios are submitted in print media – these are hand-selected works that are chosen and placed on sheets that are bound together and sent to the reviewer or a company, where they try to understand whether you are the person they need. The level of detail that goes into a print portfolio is immense, for that copy can hide certain aspects but allows a possibility of reading between the lines. In contrast, digital portfolios are exactly as they sound, while they can be sent across to any place in the world without any delays and fees. The thing about digital portfolios that they can be zoomed in for details, as inconvenient as that can be.
It is very imperative to understand that a print and a digital portfolio has a different type of effect and cannot be designed the same way – a portfolio designed for digital media printed to act as a physical copy will not make the desired effect. As with every other print media that has now shifted to a digital platform, a digital portfolio cannot have the visual impact and sensitivity of a print one; it seems like a presentation more than an actual painstakingly designed portfolio at times even if it is. The two types of aesthetics are quite different and digital portfolios should be specifically designed. But it is not all bad news – digital portfolios are the future! As with everything in the world, the IT revolution is happening globally and at some point in time, people will have to adapt it. With it come the technological advancements that are associated with digital media – the portfolios as we know it may not exist for too long anymore.
Digital portfolios, other than being a medium that can carry more data than a hefty print portfolio, can be interactive. With new software lining up the market related to videography, GIFs, Virtual and Augmented Reality, the kinds of things that are seen in movies might not be too far away. Digital portfolios can pack in a lot of brilliant skills that could be visible in the very way it is presented, and these can be presented anywhere without much hassle. It is also much easier to create better looking, better-focused portfolios when applying for different companies that have varied requirements for their interns and employees.
Print media is slowly going online anyway, why should portfolios not be digital?