Getting With The Times: 5 Tips on Acing Your Virtual Design Jury (2022)

Sanjana Aggarwal

Writer at Oneistox

May 26

6 mins read

Architecture students often hear that being able to communicate your design effectively is as crucial as producing a good design. And like it or not, this is absolutely true!

The architectural design jury puts your confidence in your design, your graphic sensibilities, and presentation skills to test. Some of us are completely terrified of the infamous architectural jury, while others have cracked the code and can effortlessly charm their way through. However, the global pandemic has created a brand new challenge for everyone- online juries.

Everything we knew- about composing striking large sheets, making impeccable models and presenting to a room full of people- has to be modified for virtual interaction, the rules for which are certainly different! This is especially true for students presenting their architecture thesis projects online.

In case you’re nervous, don’t be. Read up on the following tips on acing your virtual juries!

Online architecture presentation (Source:

5 Tips to Ace Your Virtual Design Jury

1. Curate Your Video Frame

In an online jury, it’s not just important that you dress professionally, but also that you curate the surroundings visible in your video frame. Keep a neutral background so you do not distract your jurors.

It might be helpful to check your frame beforehand, ensuring that your surroundings are tidy and neat. Check for external noise disturbances and network connections in different spots in your home, and make sure your audio is working properly. Let the jurors and yourself focus on your work rather than be bugged by small inconveniences!

2. Compose Your Sheets For a ‘Portfolio’, Not a Panel!

Do not design your sheets and graphics the way you would for an offline presentation!

Choose a sheet size and layout that is easily legible to someone looking at a screen. Moreover, use graphics that convey your intent and make your design easier to comprehend. Unlike in an offline event, your jurors will not be able to look at your plans and sections in detail while you are presenting.

You need to unlearn what your seniors taught you about composing thesis panels and look at how students present their architecture thesis projects in their portfolios. Do not squeeze too many drawings into a single slide, keep each screen clean and simple!

If you are not sure how to curate your architecture portfolio, make sure to read these tips on preparing a kickass architecture portfolio.

Digital architectural portfolio (Source:

3. Good Graphics And Renders Go a Long Way!

Minimal graphics that visually summarize the various aspects of your design will prove to be an effective tool. Make use of flow diagrams, zoning graphics, concept sketches, and 3D renders.

Vivid 3D views might make it easier to understand your design since jurors will be looking at your drawings on a relatively smaller scale. Since you probably won’t be making physical models for an online jury, invest your time in working on detailed 3D models and walkthroughs that can give jurors an experiential sense of your design, even if they’re looking at it on a screen!

Drawing Composition (Source:

4. Tell a Story

All design work, especially architecture thesis projects, have an incredible amount of research and thought behind them. Each project has a story, and your jurors must get to know yours!

A well-composed panel of sheets in an offline setting used to help jurors take a comprehensive look at the design. It was possible for them to keep going back and forth between renders, drawings and graphics whenever necessary.

Unfortunately, an online jury does not allow that- which makes it highly crucial for you to design the ‘flow’ of your presentation. Take them through the design, starting from the research phase to the analysis, discussing the process in a coherent, chronological manner.

Research presentation (Source:

What you have to say about your design becomes even more important in an online jury since you are more in control of the narrative. Be confident and crisp while talking about your design. Try to keep it short and to the point, but do not miss any significant details.

We would suggest you spend time writing down what you’re going to say for each slide because you only get one shot at the final presentation!

5. It’s Okay To Try Something New!

Architecture students are innovative by heart- nothing makes us happier than trying out something no one else has. A virtual jury is a golden opportunity to try your hand at creative ways of presenting your design, ones you wouldn’t have been able to execute the old-fashioned way.

Do not be afraid to try something unprecedented, because the times we live in certainly have no precedent. You can add GIFs, videos and walkthroughs if that helps you better explain your design. You can even add slides that zoom in and out of your sheets to explain the details in your drawings!

A dynamic presentation might help in keeping the interest of the jurors. But do not deviate from your supreme goal: explaining your design in the best way possible!

Concept development (Source:

Although many architectural schools around the world have gone back to offline presentations, online juries are still around. With the technology advancing fast, we may soon be presenting an architecture design jury online in a metaverse in the very near future!

Try to make the most of the situation without feeling like you’re missing out! For more useful information on your journey as a design student, check out the Resources page.

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Sanjana Aggarwal

Sanjana is a practising architect with a curiosity for knowledge beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture. She is constantly exploring new avenues as she finds it hard to settle on just one thing at a time! Interested in all things design, she would like her design career to be an exciting multidisciplinary journey.

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