Architecture Presentations Board Tips
The Architecture Presentation Board is a means of producing visually captivating summaries of design projects. They can be used for a variety of purposes. On an academic level, students use them for their architecture school submissions but they can also assist a client’s imagination or help win a commission on the professional side.
Your drawings, graphics and architecture presentation boards have one main purpose – to communicate your design in all its entirety from the concept to final renderings. If your presentation boards look good, but don’t do their job – you may need to think again.
In order to win over a tutor, client, planning officer or committee it is vital that your scheme is clearly conveyed and easy to understand. In a way it is like a sales pitch, you are selling your design, ideas, concept. So read through this post for some essential tips on designing the best architecture presentation boards!
And remember a great design can be mediocre if it is not presented well.
Scroll to the end to download this article as a handy PDF guide!
Our Top Important Tips for Architecture Presentation Boards
A project brief whether it is for a university project or for an architecture competition will typically outline what you need to include in your architecture presentation boards. So make sure you read this through and note down the non negotiables.
Architecture presentation boards usually include floor plans, elevations, and sections along with some sort of perspective views, 3d drawings or renders. There may be a focus on some of the key features of your design, perhaps with brief sentences explaining your scheme. Hand drawings and development work can be good to include if relevant/required.
Going through the brief will also help you determine what content to assign to your boards. For architecture school projects, there may be more than one presentation board to curate. Try to determine each board’s key focus – it could either be to depict your site analysis, conceptual development, material application, technical resolution or final scheme. Generally for competitions you will have to compile all of these key stages on one or two presentation boards.
For more helpful tips on how to dissect your briefs, check out our Architecture Assignments Brief Guide post. It includes a cool Architecture Assignment Planner:
When you start to plan your architecture presentation board is also crucial. If you begin planning out your boards immediately after reading through your brief, you will get an idea of what you are working towards. You can get as specific as you like with the details. Revisiting this rough plan throughout your design process may help you work on perfecting the images that will best represent your project.
On the other hand, if you plan your boards after completing your project, all the work you have done until then will determine your end result. It would sort of be like piecing all your work together as you would a puzzle. You may end up editing your existing work or even having to create more work to place on your presentation boards.
Either way, take a moment to organise your work. Think of what you are trying to convey. What drawings / images do you have to show as part of your brief/criteria? What are the key elements in your design that you would like to portray?
Collect all this information – list out all the images to be included and what text you would like to put in, then you can start planning the structure of your boards. This will really help you visualise what information will be on your boards and how you are going to communicate your design.
Similar to having precedents for your design, we recommend having an idea of what graphic style you would like to use for your architecture presentation board. Try to bring your work together as a unified selection of drawings with a format, scale and style that work together to create a logical and comprehensive view of the project. Different graphic styles and inconsistencies can cause a lack of clarity and confusion.
For this you can seek inspiration from a variety of sources like Pinterest or Instagram.
If you are finding it difficult to come up with a graphic style for your architecture presentation boards, check out our Pinterest board here:
Your architecture presentation board must use graphics and text to represent your design idea and clearly communicate the details and essential aspects of the scheme. It is important to be efficient with the production of drawings, and only use what is necessary to convey your idea. Quality is better than quantity as quantity can lead to confusion.
View your project as if for the first time, and consider how easy or difficult it is to understand the concept and the main elements of the scheme. Only add work you would be confident presenting in person and avoid any unnecessary information.
When you plan your architecture presentation boards make sure that you can see the relationship between the drawings.
For example sections and plans should be aligned so it is clear to read. You can even use dashed/dotted lines to highlight these connections.
Every instance of a plan needs to be of the same orientation (north point always in the same place) otherwise it can get very confusing for someone who has not seen the project before.
When showing plans and elevations/sections together, it is beneficial if they are of the same scale and in line. However, if one drawing is more important than the others then it makes sense to show it on a different scale.
Just because it’s a pretty architecture presentation board, don’t forget to include your symbols! Scale bars, section lines and north points often get forgotten, but are important to be included in order to make your drawings and information clear.
We would recommend sketching out the structure of your architecture presentation board before you start, so you can get an idea of the possible configurations you can use and what might work best. A small storyboard sketch or small scale mock up of the presentation can work well as you can adjust the layout until you are happy with the arrangement and alignment.
In general we read design presentations from left to right and from top to bottom, so consider the story of your design and how it will be read. Show the progression and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Use a program you know. The last thing you need to be doing is learning a whole new software program whilst in the panic of putting your boards together. If you have allowed yourself enough time, fair enough. We would recommend InDesign or Photoshop, but Microsoft Word or Pages on the Mac will still give you good results if you are more comfortable using them. Powerpoint or Keynote on the Mac, can be good options, but do check they can print to the size you require the boards to be.
Orientation, setting and size
Confirm whether your architecture presentation boards are supposed to be presented in landscape or portrait orientation. Think of the size your presentation boards are going to be. Ensure you have the right resolution and print settings applied. Check if you are limited by the number of boards and don’t forget to explore relationships between each board, and how they will be read together. Consider numbering the boards to show what comes next.
Ensuring you have set up your presentation board files correctly will help save you loads of time in the end.
Key Information – Title, story, content
Do you need to have a title bar? If so, consider keeping it consistent throughout your architecture presentation boards. This gives a sense of professionalism, and orderliness. Don’t forget to include your details – name, title of project etc and whatever else is applicable.
It’s tempting to get carried away with multiple fonts but please, don’t! Stick to one font, a maximum of two. You can consider using fonts from the same font family for visual coherence.
Use font sizes to create a hierarchy on your architecture presentation boards – e.g. a large font for your titles, a bit smaller for subtitles and standard size for the remainder of your content.
Make sure your chosen font and size is readable. Keep your sentences short and punchy. No one is going to want to read an essay on your presentation board. A picture paints a thousand words!
Consider how to align your text within its text box. What is easier to read? Think about text spacing, and hyphenation and how it appears on your architecture presentation board.
For more advice on fonts and to discover some cool font recommendations, feel free to check out our blog post on the Best Fonts for Architects:
Try to keep your background plain, unless it is featuring one of your key images. Architecture presentation board backgrounds can get a little busy and it can be difficult to see the key details of the board.
A white background will make your images and text stand out and look professional. Most of the board images we are sharing in this post feature white backgrounds, it is clear to see why. The information comes across well, and the background makes the visuals pop on the page.
A background image can often be distracting, so make sure all the information is crystal clear if you decide to go down that route.
The standard architectural style particularly for students appears to be black, white and grey! Grey grey grey! We understand why people sway that way, but sometimes it’s good to break out and use a bit of colour. Agreed there is a place for simplicity, and grey can give a professional atmospheric board, but try to inject some colour.
Think how colour is reflected in your design. If the architecture presentation board is predominantly in black and white or grey, does this make the design feel cold? Consider how colour will have an impact on the overall feel of the scheme. Imagine the function and users of your design. What colours would resonate with these?
As a starting point you can insert colours for natural elements such as the sky, vegetation on your site etc. Experiment with accent colours to highlight key design elements or ideas.
You will also find numerous ready made colour palettes online that you can work with.
Consider using a grid to help you organise the visual elements on your architecture presentation board. You can use a simple grid or something more complex. A grid helps you to organise the elements on your page and produce consistency across the architecture presentation board set.
Once you have set up your page size and orientation you can start creating a grid that suits your needs. The grid can include space for title bars, page numbers, and other information that needs to appear on each board. Using a program like InDesign is great as you can set up master pages as templates so you only need to create the grid once and it can then be used on numerous pages.
Keep in mind that the grid can also be used as a guide, so you don’t have to strictly aim for perpendicular lines. You can have elements and images that blend into one another if you want.
You will want some of your images to receive more visual attention than others, in order to communicate your idea. You can do this by giving certain images more space in the grid than others. If you wish to showcase one compelling visualisation, you can centre this image or make your other content fit around this image. It often works best when this type of image has elements that form the background of the architecture presentation board, for instance an extended sky or landscape.
When you view your architecture presentation board, you want something viewable from a distance (an impact image) 6ft away, and up close. This communicates your visual hierarchy.
Also if you plan to use precedent images on your architecture presentation boards, remember to distinguish them from your proposal images to avoid confusion for the readers.
There are numerous ways to organise your work onto boards, here are some options to help you visualise:
Give yourself time
It’s a real shame when you have spent weeks/months on a design project, and leave yourself an hour or two to put it together for your architecture presentation boards. It is such a waste. By denying your project the time and care of developing a structure and a plan for how you present your work, you are effectively deducting grades/points there and then. By showing a well thought out presentation, with a clear process and design result, which is easy to engage with you will greatly increase your chances of showing how good your design is and why it should receive a stellar grade!
You might also be interested in:
We have a dedicated Pinterest board full of architecture presentation board ideas and styles that will really help inspire you:
We also have lots of incredible architecture content. Be sure to check it out:
Download the Guide!
Download this helpful article as a pdf to keep for reference later!
We hope this post helps you come up with some really good architecture presentation boards, and to show off your work to its best.
If you have got some tips and advice to offer to our readers, let us know in the comments below.
And finally, if you found this post useful, do share it with a friend.
Landscape Example 1
Landscape Example 2
Landscape Example 3
Landscape Example 4
Landscape Example 5
Landscape Example 6
Portrait Example 1
Portrait Example 2
Portrait Example 3
Portrait Example 4
Portrait Example 5
Portrait Example 6