My last post discussed some architectural presentation boards that were, for the most part, poorly organized. I wanted to go into this week’s post discussing some presentation boards that were almost up to par, but just needed some tweaking. I also noticed some comments asking me to revisit the boards, editing them based on my critiques which I thought was a good idea and therefore tried to do in this post.



To begin, this group of presentation boards was created in my final year of undergraduate school for a competition held by the Cranbrook Academy in 2007. The competition asked for four 20”x20” boards. For the amount of work that went into this project, cramming so much information into four boards turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. On top of that, I have always found it challenging to organize graphics on a square format. The four boards were designed to read well by themselves, but also relate to one another when placed side-by-side. This was done by setting up a simple grid and creating relationships from board to board such as using the same size windows or overlapping background elements.







The first board that I revisited was the top left layout with the large illustrated site plan. There are a couple of things that jump out at me right away.

1. First, the diagrams on the left feel like they are out of place and don’t belong on the page. They seem like they were stuck there because I didn’t know where else to put them. There are probably a few tricks I could do to set them better into the page, however, I feel that they just don’t belong.

2. The main background image is too cold. I was in a phase back in the day where I avoided color at all costs. You can see this in my undergraduate portfolio where the whole thing is black and white. The problem with the mostly desaturated site plan is that it comes off as lifeless. While at the time, I saw it as being artistic, in reality, it’s not projecting the design in a positive light.

3. The text gets lost in the background. I remember doing this because I was afraid of the text distracting too much from the large site plan image. But, because I faded it out and threw it on top of a busy part of the site plan, the text becomes very difficult to read and almost becomes more distracting to the overall composition.



Above: The original board




Above: The new board


What I did to solve the issues mentioned above was to simplify things. Typically with the intro boards, I like them to be simple but powerful. The site plan I felt, could be a powerful image if tweaked. I pulled back the destaturation a little, and added a green overlay. This took all but 10 minutes but really made a big difference. I also moved the diagrams off of this page and onto a different board. This cleared up some space to move the text around. I darkened the black transparent box to help separate the text from the background, so that the two didn’t compete. I also placed a scanned sketch just below the text as a way to end the paragraph.





I think this second original board has a decent layout. There is a lot of information on this layout, but much of it is difficult to read.

1. The floor plans are hard to understand. This was a tricky part of the layout because the floor plans themselves are an odd shape. Therefore, I had to fit them on the page the best I could without making them too small. There is also so much line work that it is hard to decipher what is inside, what is outside, what are ramps, what are corridors, etc.

2. Along with the floor plans, the section at the bottom is next to impossible to understand at a quick glance. Understanding the section is key to understanding the design of this project, therefore, the section must read better than it currently does.

3. The sketches on the left don’t belong on this page. It’s always important to integrate process work, but finding a place to include it can be challenging.



Above: The original board





Above: The new board


The first thing you may notice is that the diagrams from the first board were switched with the sketches on the second board. This tells a more organized story of the project. Next, I faintly shaded the floor plans. As subtle of a move as this is, it makes a big difference on how fast one can read and understand the floor plans. Now, items such as inside vs. outside, openings in the floor, vertical circulation, etc. can be understood at a glance. Finally, I revisited the sections, and applied a technique popular on this site to add depth and clarity to the line work. While I like the simplicity of just the line work, adding a little shading goes a long way.


Be sure to check back next week. I will revisit the last two boards and discuss how to unclutter a overly busy layout as seen in the third rendering board.