Architecture Presentation Board Tips

Introduction

 

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!

Architecture Presentation Board Templates

Our Top Important Tips for Architecture Presentation Boards

Brief Requirements 

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:

Architecture Assignment Brief Guide – First In Architecture

01 Brief requirements

Planning

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.

02 Planning

Inspiration

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:

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/1starchitecture/architecture-presentation-boards/

03 Inspiration

Representing Architecture

 

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.

 

Architectural Notation

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.

04 Representing architecture

Structure

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.

05 Structure

Software

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.

Orientation

 

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. 

 

Text 

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:

Best Fonts for Architects – First In Architecture

 

Background

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. 

 

Colour

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. 

Layout options

06 Layout options

Grids

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.

Grids 1
Grids 2
Landscape Template 2
Portrait Template 2
Landscape Template 6
Portrait Template 6

Visual Hierarchy

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. 

Landscape Template 7
Portrait Template 7
Landscape Template 4
Portrait Template 4

 

Example Layouts

There are numerous ways to organise your work onto boards, here are some options to help you visualise:

grid
overlap with different shapes
feature image grid
blend
overlap
diagonal blend

Landscape Examples:

Landscape Example 1
Landscape Example 3
Landscape Example 5
Landscape Example 2
Landscape Example 4
Landscape Example 6

Portrait Examples:

Portrait Example 1
Portrait Example 3
Portrait Example 5
Portrait Example 2
Portrait Example 4
Portrait Example 6

Give yourself time

07 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!

Our Architecture Presentation Board Templates

Architecture Presentation Board Templates Bundle
Portrait Template Example
Landscape Textured Background Example
Colour collage 1
Portrait Textured Background Example
Landscape Template Example
Colour collage 2

We are excited to present a selection of 14 Architecture Presentation Board Templates in Photoshop and Indesign that all have varying layouts and fonts. They are designed to help speed up your process, create a strong design identity, and save you a huge amount of time. This bundle also includes some textured backgrounds to help you experiment!

You can find out more about these here:

Architecture Presentation Board Templates – First In Architecture

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:

Architecture Assignment Brief Guide
Best fonts for architects FI

Download the Guide!

 

Download this helpful article as a pdf to keep for reference later!

Conclusion

 

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.

Thank you! 

Architecture Presentation Board Templates

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24 Comments

  1. Really great Emma,

    Both in the tips and tricks but also in the observation and selection of images used.
    (nice to see them properly credited).

    An extra tip; when including precedent studies, make it clear what is precedent
    rather than proposal by grouping, using a background colour or outline, and if they
    are on multiple pages keep them to the same place on each page.

    Although your tutors are familiar with most precedents, confusing a precedent
    with proposal is embarrassing for all of us!

    C

    Reply
    • Hi Caine,
      Thanks for your comments – much appreciated.

      Reply
    • I WAS ABLE TO USE THIS IN MY CLASS EMMA. WITH DUE RESPECT AND PERMISSION. MY STUDENTS WERE IMPRESSED WITH YOUR COLLECTION OF IDEAS. TNKS.

      Reply
  2. Thank you so much for this post, I’ve always had a bit of a problem with my boards and this will surely help me in the long run.

    Reply
  3. with what for a program do u make these portfolios ?

    Reply
  4. Those presentation boards look awesome! 🙂
    what for a program is used to do something like that ?

    Reply
    • Hi Jeffry, Boards like these can be achieved using a number of programs, most commonly inDesign or Photoshop. If you don’t have access to this software you can also use things like powerpoint or keynote – although you may be more limited with functionality.

      Reply
  5. Hi, just wondering what do you recommend to be the best way of getting images onto presentation boards? drawing/ rendering the design then scanning, then editing/ enhancing on photoshop? or using revit to draw and render and transferring these to the boards?

    If you could reply to this, it would be muchly appreciated! thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks for your comment. I think a lot of it is down to what you are comfortable with, and what stage of your project you are presenting. If you are presenting initial ideas then hand drawings / sketches would be suitable for your boards. These would be best scanned in, and adapted in photoshop, adjust the levels and so on, to get the effect you are looking for.
      However, if you are presenting final work, perhaps some digital renders would be more relevant. Having said that, if you are comfortable with your drawing skills and have chosen to present your project as hand drawn work, then by all means you should draw and hand render your work to then scan in. I would recommend digitising all hand work and putting together on photoshop/inDesign, as it creates a more professional outcome – and also means you can adjust things as you wish.
      So, consider your time constraints, what can you achieve in the time you have. Consider what you want the desired outcome to be, and what stage of the project are you presenting. It may be that you use a combination of hand drawings, sketch up models, and final revit renders. There is no correct answer, just do what works well for you, and what you will be able to do at the best of your ability.
      Hope this helps – and best of luck with your work!!
      Emma

      Reply
  6. Heyyy how about capitalisation? Does all the writing should be in caps or it could include lower and upper case??? Thanksss

    Reply
    • I think that is down to personal choice and how you want it to look. No strict rules on this. Just make sure you are consistent.

      Reply
  7. how about manual presentation formats?

    Reply
  8. thank you so much for all the tips! Appreciate it:)

    Reply
    • You’re welcome 🙂

      Reply
  9. I had receive the pdf copy.however it doesnt contain any image

    Reply
    • Hi Nurul, the pdf doesn’t have any images as it is for printing without using too much ink. If you want images you can print directly from the article web page.

      Reply
  10. Great post..Very helpful. Thanks

    Reply
  11. Hey,
    Thank you so much, this has been really very helpful as it has always been a task to understand the requirements and needs that have to be considered for architectural sheet presentation as we have a lot of information to put in but what matters is giving the information a hierarchy as to what needs to be included or not .
    Appreciate it.

    Reply
    • Thank you Anand.

      Reply
  12. Hello Emma, thanks… I have a presentation next week, could you please send me a downloadable copy of that, thanks

    Reply
  13. can I take your post because your post very exelent

    Reply
  14. can i know what is a standard word size for an a1 size presentation board???

    Reply
    • Hi, it will depend on many factors, like the font you are using, the intended purpose of the presentation board, how much text you are putting on there etc.

      Reply
  15. Excelent!

    Reply

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