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Fletcher Publishes

Constructing the Persuasive Portfolio

Margaret Fletcher’s Constructing the Persuasive Portfolio, the only primer you’ll ever need (Routledge, 2016), is the most recent publication written by APLA faculty.  This particular publication was written and designed by Fletcher. When asked why she took on both tasks, she answered, “When you’re writing a book on book design, it’s imperative that all of the principles included in the manuscript are properly used in the design of the publication itself. In order to make sure this happened correctly, it was best that I do it myself!”

As the jacket text states: Constructing the Persuasive Portfolio teaches you the art of designing a compelling and effective architectural portfolio. Margaret Fletcher categorizes the architectural portfolio design process into a step-by-step method that you can manage and understand. The full-color book provides 400 portfolio examples from 55 designers and includes annotated case studies along with more than 50 diagrams. With a set of 48 design actions that are marked throughout, the book offers best practices for a variety of design problems to simplify troubleshooting for the designer. You will learn how to:

+ identify your audience
+ collect, document, and catalog your work
+ organize your portfolio
+ visually structure your portfolio
+ design your layout
+ manage both printed and digital portfolio formats

As your ultimate persuasive tool, your portfolio is the single most important design exercise of your academic and professional career. Constructing the Persuasive Portfolio shows you everything you need to know to create your portfolio. It is the only portfolio design book you will ever need!

Fletcher says, “It is not enough to just show beautiful images of compelling design artifacts, though those items should be included. A successful portfolio demonstrates how you think and how you work. The organizing systems used to regulate your portfolio will support these visual descriptions. Your portfolio will clearly demonstrate your ability to explore your own creativity in meaningful ways.

A significant factor of being a successful designer is having the ability to parse through an incredible amount of information and discover interrelated themes. It is a skill unique to design culture and exists in the realm of design thinking and design knowledge. It is important for you to understand how you, yourself, think so that you can demonstrate it to others. The portfolio should be designed to display this design thinking. If we understand the complexities of how we think, we can begin to understand and define how we might represent and explain all of the diverse knowledge that has gone into each design project.”

We asked Professor Fletcher if she could tell us why she decided to write a book on this subject. She responded by saying, “I’ve been involved in the practice of visual design for over 20 years. Of course my most recent project is the authorship and design of Constructing the Persuasive Portfolio, the only primer you’ll ever need. Before this recent endeavor, my primary visual design experience occurred as Project Director at Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects where I was responsible for the visualization graphics for 18 architectural projects during my tenure there. And before that, I was the Manager of Special Projects in the Department of Lectures, Exhibitions and Academic Publications at Harvard University Graduate School of Design where I was instrumental in the published discourse of architecture through the development of many projects.

All of this experience has given me an enormous body of knowledge regarding the visual representation of architectural ideas. I felt compelled to work toward sharing this information with others in a manner that is both understandable and particularly actionable. I wanted to develop a publication on portfolio design that not only tells you what needs to be done but also tells you how specifically how to do it! It is my sincere hope that this publication fulfills that goal for the realm of portfolio design and the visual representation of architectural ideas.”