Portfolio Design with Mary Scott

Portfolio Design with Mary Scott


[Mary Scott] My name is Mary Scott, and I am the chair emeritus,
or the director emeritus
of the School of Graphic Design. I am now just teaching, I am just a teacher, and I’m happy to say that, over the last few years, I’ve welcomed architectures,
landscape designers to my class, and you’re going to get to see some of the results
of what that looks like when you put together
a portfolio that’s designed like a real book. I feel like I have a little credibility to work with architects, because I worked for the firm
that built the trans-America building. I actually worked on that presentation
and directed all of the architects in doing
the graphics for the presentation. So I understand a little bit about plans, elevations,
sections, axonometrics, all those bird’s eye renderings, all the kinds of stuff that used to be done by hand. I think what drew me to architecture
and to work in architecture was I just love
to watch how people could draw. This is back in the day, now,
when there were no computers. So anyway, I have a little handout for you which is
just an overview of what creating a book is about. I’m going to walk you through it. You all know how to use computers,
and the students that come to my class — I’m trying to drum up business for the fall,
actually, because I want more architects. I’d like nothing more than to have
a whole class full of architects to teach, to prepare themselves to go
out into the professional world. So the class really has a mission statement, which is to present yourself with your current
and potential value as an architect, or designer. Are you all architects? Okay, good. All right, that’s a good thing. So, you know, there comes a time
when you’re finished with your studies, that you kind of have to package up everything
and be able to take it easily to show someone. And there are many ways — you can buy a book that has
plastic sleeves and slip in sheets, but there’s something magical about books. How many of you have a lot of books. I do. I don’t know an architect or a designer
who doesn’t have a ton of books, we’re kind of hardwired to love books. How many of you go to William Stout? It’s dangerous for me to go in there. It’s very addictive, I want to buy everything I see. So I’m going to hand out this, it just tells you a few things, just to think about. But basically — just pass them back — basically, what we want to do, what the goal is to do, is to present your work in a cohesive fashion that’s going to enable anyone
to see what you’re capable of doing. So you all know your projects backwards and forwards, but a stranger, and it probably would be
an architect who would interview you,
is not familiar with your work. So you have to organize it in a fashion that they can
understand it and walk through it in a logical manner. We also, in the class, create a website, and a complete set of materials —
stationary, business cards, resumes, one sheets, all the things you’re going to need
to set up shop and get a job. Marc was just telling me that Niloufar Golkarihagh — I think that’s how her name is pronounced — is studying for her master’s at UCLA right now, and Marc said that her book
was one of the things
that helped get her accepted. Unfortunately, I only have her book
digitally because it’s been misplaced. But it’s the same size as the other books. I will walk you through the process,
the steps that you go through — I even have some native files from one the students,
Alireza Arabshahi, who was my student last year. He was kind enough to give us his files
so I could show you little things
about layout right here in a live fashion. So I’m what I’m going to do first is
I’m going to walk you through Nilou’s book. She came to my class with a sheet
that had all her projects in miniature, so I could get a sense of what she was about. She started the process of putting the work
together in a standalone narrative. Just like when you go buy a book at the bookstore, let’s say the book is about Frank Gearie,
he comes to mind right away. It’s going to be complete. You don’t need Frank Gearie
there to explain stuff to you, because it has narrative text, it tells you the details, all the things that you’re looking at, there’s captions,
and everything is clearly communicated. So the idea of wrapping that up,
and tying it up with a bow, of a book, is a powerful communication. You can go on an interview
and you can chat and talk, and then someone just takes your book. So they’re actually — I feel like it’s a very interactive gesture
to take someone’s book, and then they start. Now they’re holding your work, and they saying,
oh, what about this?
This is interesting. Asking you questions. So it sets up a conversation
in a way that I think is very positive. I’ve heard from all of the former students
that I’ve had in the class — Jessica Tangemen,
Archer Ferus, Michael Attwell. So it’s really great to see that
what they’ve learned has helped them. One student even said
that when they went to work
for an architectural firm, the firm made him do a book for them
like he had done for himself. So it’s a skill that will serve you going forward. You’ll be able to make a book about anything. You’ll just have a few little tips on how to make a book. Now, I couldn’t teach somebody
to be an architect in 15 weeks, but I can pretty much guarantee that in 15 weeks, if you come to my class,
if you were to come to my class, you would walk out with a great-looking book,
assuming that you had some great work to put into it. So we’ll look at Nilou’s book. Now, I’m going to step over here and work
this computer, I forgot my little magic pen. So this is a digital representation of Nilou’s portfolio. It’s this exact same size. I don’t have it here, physically, but it’s this size. So it’s about 10 1/2 by 12 inches. And what’s interesting
about the fabrication
of this kind of a book is, there’s a company called Blurb, and they’re somewhere, I think they’re in New York. You design your book in InDesign, you send your files to them, and lo and behold,
this book comes back in the mail, all done. Printed, bound, ready to go. A lot of students that I teach,
graphic design students in particular, they want to do fancy books with fancy bindings,
so they’ll go another route, but they have to go find a printer,
and then they have to find a binder. But this is kind of one-stop shopping,
and it’s really handy. You can print images on the front and back,
and it works just like a real book. It has end sheets and all that good stuff. So we’re going to walk through Nilou’s book. This is the cover of her book,
and she chose one of her
experimental models to put on the cover. She chose the concept of process for her book, which is something we all use,
everybody understands that. You don’t have to name your book,
but most books have names, so it’s not a bad idea to give your book a name,
as you’ll see with Ali’s book called “Workflow.” The name is part of the process
of developing a sort of persona for your book. So there’s the end sheets, there’s her title page. Isn’t this cool how the pages just flip? Here is her introduction to a project. Up here, right there, she talks about the name of the project,
the course, the instructors, and any other details, and where the site is. So why would we name
our instructors in a book like this? What would be the reason to do that? Anybody have an idea? Why? [student] Because they had influence
on the development of the drawing. [Scott] Yes, of course, but you might be showing
your book to someone who knows this person. And they say, oh, let’s see who the instructor — oh, I know Paul —
I can’t read the last name —
Jamptgaurd or something. So there’s an instant networking
and connection that comes up. It never fails. That little piece of information, and then this is the name of the project,
and this happens to be her thesis. Up here, just like in a real book,
you have the name of the book, and then over here is her name — selected works of Niloufar Golkarihagh, and the years. Then over here on this side is always the project name. So after I open up this chapter,
I will always know where I am. That’s called persistent navigation. It tells you where you are,
because the stranger isn’t going to know,
oh, I’m still looking at the thesis. Over here, she has a project number,
and over here, she has project number. And this is a brief description of the project. Now, if you looked
at Michael Attwell’s book,
he had a lot to say. Most people don’t want to write a whole lot, but you can say as much or as little as you want to, or that is necessary to make someone understand
what the objective of this project was. She also chose the notion of showing herself at work. So these hands that you see are Nilou’s hands. And now she unveils the projects. So this navigation that I talked about stays there forever. If you’ll notice, there is what we call —
there are margins in the book. These margins are the same on top and side,
but they’re slightly deeper on the bottom. That’s a choice you make. But margins are a really good thing, and once you see how a set
of margins will organize a book, you’ll also see that we decide
where to put things, and then we stay there. Things don’t just float around arbitrarily. So I’m just going to go on a few spreads,
and I’ll point out a couple things. These captions are geared
to these elements right here. So each thing has a little number on it,
and tells you what the caption is, because it’s nicer than putting
captions right under pictures. It’s more artful. These are some of the parts of the process. So one of the most difficult things to embrace
for most architects or interior designers is negative space on a page. That frightens most people,
because why should that be blank? Well, negative space is
a very important thing in designing. You know that in your architecture,
you have to have negative space
or else you couldn’t stand in it. So negative space in print design is really important. Also what’s important is to pace
the images that you show, so we’re not looking at the same thing all the time — now we’re looking at one type
of sketch and some kind of close-up. Here, again, is our captions. And one you’ve set a style for the captions,
you use that all the way through. Here’s our little numbers which tie into the captions. And then, sometimes, photographs will bleed. So bleed means the image runs off the page. But notice, sometimes they don’t. That, again, is a choice you make
depending on what looks best. Most of the time it looks really great
to have margins around images. I think in this case, it works really well. And I hope you can appreciate the balance of the page. Instead of these things being across,
we leave some nice negative space here. We stack these elements,
and then we have the large image. So there’s contrast between scale,
there’s small things and there’s large things. That’s just a particular habit
of book design is to show contrast. Then, here, we have a big bleed image
going across two pages, which is a spread. What you’re not seeing here is the gutter in the book. The gutter would be right about here — which means, that’s where the book opens up. These are photographs of her models that she took. More models, and now here’s another chapter,
which looks the same except the picture’s changed. This is Nilou on one of those windows,
probably out there at the front, doing some tracing. So, rough sketches, sketches of all sorts, important —
whatever is necessary to tell the story. I was very proud to hear
that Nilou got accepted at UCLA, because it has a really incredible reputation. I went to school there for a while. It’s rewarding. So here’s Nilou, again,
now she’s working on something else. She was actually inspired by a book
that one of our graphic design students did. She saw it, and she said, I love the idea of putting myself to work,
and showing that I’m actually using my hands. So these are little studies. What’s nice about this is you get
to put many things in that, if you had to use boards or some
other way of showing the work,
it wouldn’t be as facile as this. Does anybody have any questions? No — it looks easy, doesn’t it? Well, you know, there’s an old saying:
good design looks effortless. That doesn’t mean it is effortless, just like a beautiful building should look effortless,
but we all know it takes a lot of effort to do. On and on, there she is again. So you set up a system by which the reader,
who doesn’t know your work or doesn’t know you, automatically sees, I’m going
from one project to another. So there’s a visual cue to tell me
that I’m looking at a new project, whereas if they all went together,
you wouldn’t know that. Now, do you have to take pictures
of yourself for your portfolio? Not at all, she chose to do that
because she thought that would
be a good way to present herself. So the good thing is, in most cases, there’s not a lot of information
that you have to deal with. The simpler the layout is, the better. And what usually is problematic
with the way that people who haven’t been
trained to use typography correctly, they don’t know all the subtle little details. Later I’ll show you on a native file the difference
in setting type with a certain set of specs, and another set makes it look better. It’s just that simple
because there’s lots of rules
about setting type. It has more rules than you can shake a stick at. There we go. So it’s a lovely — I think it’s a really lovely book,
and I’m very proud to have had Nilou in class, she was very wonderful to teach,
and so were the other students. And at the end of the book, we always thank everybody
who helped us finish all this up, meaning your studies. Your friends, your family, your teachers. Saying thank you is
one of the best things
that you can do in life, because it doesn’t cost you anything,
and it gets you so much. Many times teachers will see our students’ portfolios, and we’ll say,
oh, they thanked me!
And they feel so good. A colophon is all the details of a book, it’s a book term. And what that is, it tells the school,
the course, the book binder, the photographer — she gives credit to the photographer
who took her pictures — the stock that the book was printed on, the text doc,
the cover stock, the fonts that she used. She used Franklin Gothic
and Book Medium, demi heavy. There’s some great faces
that I think are good for these books. One of the things that a lot of people
do that haven’t studied typography, they think, I’m going to use a cool typeface. Well, cool typefaces are not where it’s at. It’s using classic type in a very systematic way. And that’s the back of her book, with her finishing. So if you want to pop out of your seats,
and I’ll show you, physically, a book. Like I said, along with this book, the materials that everyone needs,
even if you’re applying for an internship,
is you need a resume — Well, first of all, you need to be
able to mail something to someone. So we create a system for this — she even made her own stamps,
which you can do easily. And I don’t know why this isn’t coming out — here we go. So there’s her resume. I want you to notice something,
that the type inside her book and the resume
are cut from the same piece of cloth, meaning they’re a system. She’s used Franklin Gothic, and she’s mimicked
all of the same attributes with some slight changes. There’s her business card — I don’t want to unclip it,
because it’s impossible to get it back. And here she made a list of all the firms
she wanted to work for or apply to. Here’s her letterhead,
which is the same as her resume,
and then these are the one-sheets. A lot of people want to see a one-sheet
before they’ll even give you an interview. So this is, again,
using her same typography,
and grouping — this is not as aesthetically,
I would say, sparse as this is. It’s just crammed
with all the information
that needs to be there. So you would do one of these
for every project in my class. So there you are. We got up to about here, I think —
where did we get in the book? Yeah, we got past here. As you go through the book, you see different print. We got past that, let me see
if I can start at the next project. So each chapter beginning shows her,
there’s a lot of her roughs. Sometimes that’s important,
to show how your process works. Each time she begins a new project,
we get a new picture of her — I can’t — this is a long — And there’s no rule about how long a chapter is. It’s as long as it needs to be, okay? If it’s a very complex project,
then it’s going to be a lot of spreads. But everything is pristinely presented. It’s clean, it’s easy to understand, there’s no confusion. And the margin creates the continuity
in the book just like in a building. You don’t make the windows all different sizes
unless you Frank Gehry, or one of those guys. But there’s a process. So everything has its place and sits where it belongs, which gives you a palette
where you can show the work. It looks pretty easy, doesn’t it?
Good design always looks effortless. Good architecture looks effortless,
but we know it’s not effortless, right? It takes a lot of effort to design. So there’s an opportunity
with each page to change the pace. Here she is doing yet another thing. And then on the back cover,
she chose to put her doing her work. She did an interesting thing with her photographs also. When she first brought them to me,
they were too colorful. I said, just desaturate the color. So they’re very muted,
they’re not real bright,
colorful photographs. They’re a little bit more toned down. One of the things that is very important in design
is addressing the edges of the page. We call this the envelope of the design,
and you sometimes call buildings envelopes. Things never look good when they’re floating. Notice this is not centered in this space,
it’s tucked up to the top to give this negative space. Okay? We can now move on
to a different person’s work. Alireza Arabshahi was my student, and he’s now working at a place in Venice,
and I forget what it’s called. But it’s a cool — Venice, California, not Venice, Italy. Also something that you probably have never
done before is, as you’re designing a book, you make thumbnails of every single spread. So you can see, we do this before we finish the book, to make sure that we don’t have
two of these right next to each other. That you have this next to something like that,
so there’s some breathing room. That white space is really room
to allow you to appreciate the work. How many of you have looked
at a lot of architectural books? They use a lot of negative space. I have probably — I’m a real fan of architecture,
I probably secretly want to be an architect. I used to say when I worked for an architect, that someday I wanted to go back
to school and learn architecture. But obviously I didn’t do that. So this is Ali’s book,
and we’re going to take
a look at that real quickly. So let’s zoom into this spread. So I’m going to set this type — I’m going to copy this type and put it over here, and I’m going to set it really badly
so you can see the difference. I’m not saying that none of you
know how to set type, but — oops — I don’t know, it’s Apple+C then Apple+V,
but what’s copy? Is it … Alt+C? Oh, control, what’s control? Oh, control. Sorry for my ignorance, here. And then Ctrl+V for copy? Okay, there we go, I’ll do it right next to it. So, when you’re setting type that’s all the same size, you don’t want to have
too much distance between things. This little guy right here is called a hairline. So he’s just put that in there,
it’s a detail you can do with type. But let’s say he wasn’t paying much attention
to the way he set this, and he set it maybe like this. This is now tracked at 50. That sounds like a whole big number, but it’s not. So I’m going to track it at 0. And now look what happened
it got all kind of bunched together. Then sometimes what people do is
they’ll set body copy with too much tracking. That’s not terrible yet, I’ve got to make it —
it’s really hard for me to do that. I feel like I’m … You never want type to look like that, because notice how hard it is to read
compared to the type right next to it. There’s too much space between the letters, and conversely, there’s not
enough space between the lines. The distance between the lines is called leading,
and that’s controlled by this little guy up here. I have to scroll over it, it’s not going to let me do that. But I can change the distance
between the lines here, see. So you might like to — this is called very loose leading. If you wanted to do that, you’d have
to go back and take in the tracking, which is this little guy, here,
and it will probably look okay. It’s just a different feel. So what we call these two things
is the way the type colors. This one looks darker than that one,
right, because it’s more dense. Those are just little things that,
if you know those things, you always want to consider the tracking. That’s this control right here — I don’t know what VA stands for,
but that’s where you change that number. Conversely, you never want
to track body copy to type, because —
that’s not tight enough yet. Let’s make it disgustingly tight. See how it doesn’t read well, because now the letters are
actually touching each other. Back in the hand-type setting days,
the reason they call it leading is they would put pieces of lead between the lines
of type to space them, and they were actually lead. So that’s why that’s called that. Let’s go forward and look at some of the display type. I don’t think the font is loaded because this is not —
the font isn’t loaded, because this is DIN. This is some default font.. It’s saying it’s DIN up here. For example, sometimes you want
to make something — maybe — oh, he doesn’t have the bold. Let’s make it light — oops, he doesn’t have light either. Ctrl+Z, is that to bring it back? Yes! So you can control the size of things very easily. Notice how, instead of putting lots of space between
these rectangles of images, we’ve grouped them. Our brains are hardwired to see
groups more so than things spread out. So if I put these — I think
it’s a much more pleasing layout to have them grouped together
all at the same interval than like that. But there may be a reason
why you’d have to put captions here,
right underneath them. But in most cases, if something is clear enough,
I think any architect would understand what that was. Here, he says it’s a concept diagram. I can sort of tell that, but it’s nice to have little details. But we’ll put it back the way it was. You might decide to say, well,
what would happen if I made this bigger? Now, I don’t know — if you want to make something bigger,
and you don’t want it to change proportion, what keys do you hit, does anybody know? I only know on Apple. Alt and what? Oh, Shift and drag. There we go. So I might say, maybe I want to line it up with that. But the thing you have to remember is,
once you set your margin at the top, you don’t vary it. Or, if you vary it, it’s really different. It’s maybe down here instead of up there. You don’t want to just change it a little bit, because that’s what creates
the visual organization to the book. You know, and you might say,
what if I bled this into the gutter? Would that look better?
I don’t know. You can try things. Oh, but shouldn’t I line this up with that? Isn’t that just natural, to say,
oh, if that’s where my line is … So now I’ve created a unity between these elements,
because the page, while it’s two pages, it’s one thing, because it’s seen all at once. So when you’re designing facing pages, you always want to design
them as if they are one thing, even though they could be many things. Does that make sense? Yes, no? Oh, okay, great. What else can I show you? So, here he’s added a little set of numbers, and that just tells me I’m on project one,
and then the next time I go to project two, the little brackets are going to be around the two,
and they’re going to sort of move. It’s little details. You might think, oh,
who cares about all
those little details? You know, Charles Eames,
who’s one of my favorite designers, always said, “The details the details are not the details.
The details are the product.” You can design a beautiful building, but if somebody puts it together poorly-crafted,
and doesn’t pay attention to detail, it looks terrible. It’s true of anything that you make, furniture and any product that has
to be designed and produced well. So the idea of putting detail into your presentation
elevates your work a whole lot. It really does. It has a way of making it look
even better than it might be, because you’ve carefully addressed
the different facets of it, you’ve organized it. What you’ve done is you’ve taken this stack
of work that you’ve done in, what, five years — your program is five years, right? My students sometimes go to school five years, too. They can’t always finish in four. But your program is five years, and it’s a lot of work. And to show it and honor in a way
that is good is a good thing. So let’s look at Ali’s website. Do you have any questions about any of this? So if you take a few minutes
when you have some free time — I’m sure you have a lot of that — and go on Issuu,
you can go through these
books page by page, and look at them and see what they did,
and appreciate the delivery of the information. Yeah? [student] If you’re one of those types that has
a lot of trouble with blank space, how do you … [Scott] I beat it out of you. No, no. Oh, the question that he asked — what’s your name? Matthew asked the question,
what if you have a problem with leaving
a lot of white space, or open space? It actually — negative space helps the design. People think they just have to fill up a page
with everything, fill every square inch. And what happens when you do that — and it’s okay to do that when
the things are all very similar. But if you make a page
with different-sized things,
and different elements, you violate the signal to noise ratio principle,
which means there’s too much going on. So you gradually learn that
the white space is your friend. Here, would it be hard for you to leave
that much space that you see, there? Oh, well, it’s kind of
one of those things
you have to get over. Because you’re not — and I know
on all your presentation boards
for different projects, every square inch — and the same thing
with the industrial design students,
they have to fill every square inch. But when you’re doing this, you want to get more — you want to make it a beautiful artifact, and beautiful design makes it more of an artifact. You could learn to embrace it. It’s not going to change, it’s not going to hurt you. It will allow your presentation to be able — like, I can look at that, and I can look at this floor plan,
and I have some breathing room. So all the white space is for visual breathing room. But sometimes we don’t leave any white space. I think there’s a spread in here
that goes right across the whole — there. The white space or negative space
is within the drawing, itself. But there’s the whole — every square inch
of the page is filled, but it looks good. So it depends on what you’re showing, also. You just have to learn to change the pace. Because what happens when you go
from large scale to small scale, just visually, it creates movement and more interest. If everything was exactly the same size,
and exactly the same way, you wouldn’t want to keep going. Books are meant to be leafed through
because they’re interesting. You want to engage someone in looking at your work. But that’s a good question. Let’s see, let me see if I can find Ali’s website. I’ve got to look it up. alireza-r.com So there’s Ali’s website. I guess this is just a roll over,
this automatically rolls over. Now, if I want to see his projects, I click on that. And I can pick a project. These are called roll-overs. Now, if I click on this, I get that project, and it tells me all
about that project in detail,
just like in the book. But let’s say I wanted to get an overview. I’m going to show you his —
are any of you doing thesis? Yes? Okay, I’ll show you his thesis book in a minute. Here’s his portfolio, which you just saw on Issuu. You embed that into your website,
so then they can see your portfolio if they want to. You’re just giving people options,
which is nice, everybody likes options. How do I get back to … How do I go back here? Here we go, I want to go back to his website. Do I have to go to — oh, here we go. Let’s look at his thesis book. So Ali took a lot of the things
that he learned in the class, and he was actually doing his book
in tandem with his portfolio. So he kept it very simple. See, here I have to say, this type is set too loosely, there’s too much space
between individual letters on this. He forgot to use his same settings from his book. But I’ll forgive him for that. He might have had a start on this
before he started taking portfolio. I’ve never actually physically seen his thesis. There’s a lot to put in that. All right, so you can also see that
he found some fun stock photography. So, if we were to look at — I don’t think Samantha has her website up,
and I wonder if Nilou would. But everyone comes out of the deal with the website, all the materials,
everything you need to go get an interview. I’d love to answer some questions if you have some. You’re very quiet. No questions? Well, I guess we might be finished, then. I’m happy to talk to any of you individually, or if you want to stay and look at some more stuff,
we can look at some more stuff together. But basically, what I’ve sort of mapped out for you is that it’s not difficult to design a book that looks
like a professional designer designed it. You can very easily,
with just a few moves
knowing how to make — and after a while, it just comes naturally
after you do it on several projects. You can apply that to anything that you’re doing. Okay? So, very good. Thank you.


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