Architects and designers are always seeking ways to distinguish their work. Websites are obviously slick and portable by nature, just bring along an iPad or laptop and you’ve got your work with you anywhere in the world. Occasionally, however, a physical representation of your design acumen is preferable. Traditional portfolios – physical reproductions or representations of your work – are a requirement in many fields for a variety of presentations. Potential clients will want to see the goods before hiring you. Friends will ask to see what you’re up to. Potential collaborators or employers will request that you bring samples along to interviews. If you’ve ever created a portfolio using one of those binder systems you see in art or design stores you’ve probably realized the inherent weaknesses they reveal: bulky, fussy, inflexible, and expensive. There are better options now, including custom publishing services. For me, there proved to be no better option. The quality of these book publishing service is quite good, and a wide variety of design professionals use them for small, on-demand print runs. There are implicit advantages to using an online publishing service. You can order new books anytime, from anywhere, and have them delivered. Spill coffee on your book? Order a new one from your phone. A client requests a copy for marketing purposes? Order a dozen instantly – would you prefer hardcover or soft? Blurb (the publisher I use) even offers your book up for sale to the public (if you choose to share it). A favorite feature of mine: The added security of knowing that your book design and images live on a server other than your own. In a worst case scenario – office fire, burglary – your work lives on and is readily available. Sounds great, no? Hold up! There are a few negative factors to consider. Hardcover books on high quality paper in color and with a substantial (60+) amount of pages are not cheap. My 80+ page portfolio book runs me over $120.00! The books are ‘on-demand’ but there are lead times of two weeks or more. These are not your grade school library bulletproof cloth hardbound books of yesterday, but the print quality is high and the hard cover is sturdy. Graphics on the cover are an option too. To achieve the highest level of output you will need to dial in your inputs – workstation screen calibration and image photoshoppery are a must! Finally, I once had to send back a book due to poorly cut pages. As with most things, diligence and care will serve you best when taking advantage of these services. I’m not shilling for Blurb here – I simply used them for my project. See for yourself. Check this link to my book, be sure to test the ‘preview book’ function – very slick: Nicholas Fiore : Portfolio Expensive? Somewhat, relatively speaking. In book pricing terms versus your average coffee table fare these books are not cheap. Worth the price as compared to alternative portfolio creation options? Absolutely. The cost in materials and time to compose, print, and bind such a book yourself would be considerable. The online publishers allow you full control over the book design and content. Use InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, or even Quark (really?) to do your layouts, upload your pdf (including full bleeds!), and order your copies.
Today we noticed a link or three streaming into our site from a uniquely named source: Stair Porn. Intrigued, we followed the breadcrumbs and landed here. Our stair and stair rail design for the Maita Residence, completed in 2008, has been selected for a feature on the site, which is dedicated (obviously?) to nothing but sexy stairs. We are excited to see it mentioned. For more info and (better) pics of this Boulder, Colorado, remodel on a slim budget check this link here. Stairporn has labeled the project ‘Opaque Glass’. In fact, the material you see is a proprietary resin material from 3Form that is available in very wide variety of colors, textures, and patterns. Not inexpensive, but beautiful stuff. This project had a very low budget, and our strategy became one of carefully considered interventions. We focused on areas of the home that were in dire need of renovation from a safety, use, or aesthetic standpoint. The stair and stair rail were item number one, as the previous stair was dimly lit, closed up, and foreboding. We opened up the top flight risers to allow more light below to the entry, employed a translucent material in the rail for the same reason, and used lighter toned woods. Our other projects included a full kitchen tear-out and rebuild, as well as a steel deck rail. Pop over to the project page for more pictures.