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    Portfolio books and boxes used by professional Photographers, Designers and Architects


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  • December 03, 2017 7 min read


    We have put together this guide to our portfolios and hope that it gives you a fairly comprehensive overview.  If you have any questions, please contact us at info@hartnackandco.com.


  • Types of Portfolio
  • Portfolio Books
  • Fabric Options
  • Personalisation
  • Sizing Your Portfolio
  • Portfolio Boxes
  • Sizing Your Box
  • Personalisation
  • Deadlines
  • Pricing

  • Types of Portfolios
    There are two ways to present your work, either in a book format (portfolio book) or in a box format (portfolio box). The answer to which is best comes down to your preferred presentation style.

    Portfolio Book means that your work is bound and you can determine how your presentation unfolds. Portfolio Box allows you to be freer with your work in that you can go through the pages one at a time or it can be spread out on a table and viewed as a whole. Lastly (and an important consideration!) Portfolio books are cheaper than portfolio boxes.

    Student Case Bound Screw Post Portfolio Book Hartnack and Co
    Case bound screw post portfolio book (above) and a half clamshell portfolio box (below)

    half clamshell portfolio box

    Portfolio Books
    There are two types of binding mechanisms, Ring Binder and Screw Post.

    What are Screw Posts?
    Screw posts are a barrel/post with one flat end and corresponding flat top that is screwed into the end of the post. Unscrew one end of the post and then place your pages over the top of it and then screw the cap on - The pages are now bound together! Screw posts come in a variety of lengths as well as extensions, so no matter what size of work you are presenting, you will always find the right length to tightly bind your work together. 

    Line of Screw Posts for Binders

    Screw Post Portfolio Books

    We offer 3 types of portfolio books, but actually for students, we offer one extra cost effective version, the OTS portfolio.

    Exposed Screw Post Portfolios
    exposed screw post portfolio book for student

    - Cost, they are the simplest version and therefore the cheapest. The posts can be easily changed, therefore the portfolio can grow with you (see below)

    Cons - There is no spine cover.


    exposed screw post portfolio book

    Case Bound Portfolio Books

    example of case bound portfolio book for students


    Pros - Very clean looking outer cover, as close to a book cover as possible.
    Cons - The spine is a fixed size, therefore there is very, very little flexibility as to the number of pages you can insert into the book after you have received it. Therefore you need to get the post length right from the word go.

    case screw post portfolio book open

    Hidden Screw Post Portfolios

    hidden screw post photography portfolio


    Pros - The screw heads are hidden from sight under flaps. A spine cover is included as standard.
    Cons- Not as flexible in terms of volume of pages. These are made to fit at certain per-ordered spine thickness, while the posts can be changed for longer or smaller ones, you would have to discard the spine cover (or order a new one).

    open hidden screw post portfolio

    Off The Shelf Exposed Screw Post Portfolios

    Off the shelf custom portfolio books


    Pros - As per Exposed Screw Post (above) but also, Price (cheaper than the custom version). They come with 25 good quality polypropylene sleeves.
    Cons - Only available in one size and format. Only available in with certain colour combinations

    Leather Screw Post Portfolios

    A4 Leather Screw Post Portfolio Book


    Pros - Same advantages as a case bound portfolio, but with a bit more flexibility in changing post lengths (the spine has a little bit more give). They look, feel and smell awesome!
    Cons - Price, the leather is 3.5mm Italian veg tanned, so as a raw material, it's not cheap to start with.

    leather screw post portfolio book open

    Ring Binders
    We offer 2 different ring binders, Case Bound and Leather and we offer 3 different ring binder mechanisms as standard. The difference is the height of the mechanism, therefore how much you can put it.

    black ring binder mechanisms from H&Co


    Our standard mechanisms are 5cm, 4.5cm and 2.5cm and are black powder coated. Other sizes are available but these would be in the standard silver colour.


    Case Bound Ring Binder

    H&Co Custom Ring Binder


    Pros -Easy and straight forward to use.
    Cons - Not as 'book like' as a screw post portfolio

    Custom ring binder open

    Leather Ring Binder

    single piece leather ring binder by hartnack

     Pros- Easy and straight forward to get use and get pages in and out of. Looks, feels and smells wonderful!

    Cons- Doesn't have the 'book feel' and like the leather screw post, cost.

    leather ring binder laying open

     Fabric Options

    You have a wide choice to choose from. We would strongly recommend you consider combining different fabrics and colours. This is what helps make your portfolio stand out, and there is no extra cost for combining more than one colour (though if you pick one of our non stock ones there is a stocking charge.) We recommend Buckram as an outer cover fabric because it has an acrylic coating and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth if necessary. Windsor and Colorado are Rayon cloth and whilst sprayed with a 3m protector, will not survive spillage! We suggest using these cloths for the inner covers.

    To see our full fabric swatch, click this link here.


    It’s your portfolio, it’s your branding, put your name on it! Apart from your colour combinations the other aspect that sets your portfolio apart from your class mates’ is your name or logo on the front cover. You have 3 options:

    1. Blind Debossing is where your name is stamped into the cover (downward bossing = debossing). There is no colour involved hence ‘blind’ and the size limit 8” x 6”
    2. Single Colour Foiling is where a colour foil is used to stamp your name or logo into the cover. Its application is similar to the blind debossing, but your logo is not stamped as deep into the cover, the size limit is 8” x 6”. There are a limited choice of colour foil available which can be found here (link to foil swatch)
      Foiled portfolio book

    3. Full Colour UV Printing is where your name/logo is printed onto the cover using a large flatbed inkjet printer (its a bit more complicated than that, but that is essentially what it is). The advantages are that your logo can be as large as you like or spread out to cover the entire cover. Also there is no limit to colour and colour variation
      example of uv colour printing

    We need your artwork in a certain format. It has to be a vector image (no pictures or pixelated images). More information can be found here

  • Sizing Your Portfolio

    This is exceptionally important as if we get the wrong information your pages will not fit your portfolio. If you plan to place pages directly into your portfolio, when printing (bold) you will need to allow for a 20mm margin/gutter on the left hand edge of your page for the punched holes and cover strip.

  • Portfolio Sizes
    The sizes of the portfolios and boxes are given according to the item being placed inside it, as opposed to the size of the cover itself. The prices are based on the actual or approximate size of the portfolio, therefore if your work is being printed on an 11” x 14” page but you are using hinge strips or page protectors, then choose 11” x 14” but let us know in the comments section of the order about the page protectors or hinge strips.

    How Many Pages Go into a Portfolio?
    This depends largely on the type and weight of paper. The best answer is to pile your work up and measure it. As a rough rule of thumb, if using our page protectors, you will get 25-30 into a standard width spine Hidden Screw Post or Case Bound Portfolio Book. If you are going to need to squeeze in more, just let us know and we will make a bigger spine. 

  • Portfolio Boxes

    You have two choices of portfolio box. The Clamshell and The Half Clamshell Box. There is no difference in price between the two, (just a matter of preference).

    Clamshell portfolio boxhalf clamshell portfolio box  

    A portfolio box makes a statement with its presence and it looks. It is also a very flexible presentation case. It can hold five, ten, twenty pages without looking over stuffed or under stuffed. The other advantage to a box, is in the way you present your work. Once you’ve gone through each design or photograph you can place it on a table where upon your work or pitch is seen as a whole.

  • Sizes
    This is a custom or bespoke commission, therefore you can make your portfolio box any size you want.

    Just like the portfolio book, we make the holding tray fit whatever is being placed inside, with an added couple of millimeters. Also just like the portfolio book above, we price using international and US page sizes, more as a guide, if you would like your portfolio box slightly bigger or smaller then let us know. Equally the depth of the box can be ordered in the same manner. It can be anything from 2cms to as big as you dare!

  • Customisation
    This is what makes having your portfolio box stand out against an anonymous black print box.

    Consider a single colour for the outside and a contrasting inner colour of fabric for the tray or inner cover. Buckram or faux leather is best for the outer cover because of its durability, book cloth is best reserved for the trays or inner covers.

    There is no extra charge for using more than one material in one box, though there is if your choosing non stock materials.

    To see our full range of materials, please go to fabric swatch page here.

  • Personalisation is also possible, with either blind debossing, foil stamping or UV printing. A popular customisation is using a plaque or a recess to place a card or photo.

  • Deadlines
    Our lead times fluctuate depending upon the time of year. In quieter periods it can be 2-3 weeks and busier times 4-6 weeks. Check our up to date delivery lead times. When you buy your portfolio online, we will send you a Confirmation Order.  At the bottom of your confirmation order, you will see a production week. Your order will be delivered the week after.

  • Pricing
    Our pricing is based on size. Personalisation increases prices, while format and fabric choices do not. Delivery and VAT (tax) are not included in the price (we export a lot of what we make, so that impacts the both those factors)

    Ways to ensure you get the best price:

    1. Try and order in a class or group, you can all have different specifications but you’ll get a group discount.
    2. Have as many of the portfolios delivered to one address, that way the cost of delivery is split between you.
    3. Students get discount! The earlier you order the better the promotion!

    Any questions, just give us a ring or drop us an email via the Contact button above.