Portfolio Buying Guide for Medical and Surgical Professionals
Nov 2020 - This is now our 4th update to this article and reflects the changes we have made to our Medical Portfolio Collection.
Hartnack and Company hand make very high quality, bespoke and custom binders. We have been making portfolios for Medics since 2014 when we got a call to make a "very large binder to take 100 plus plastic sleeves".
Our specialty in medical portfolios (and any portfolio for that matter) is the quality of the cover, the binder mechanism, and also the fact that you can choose your own colour, the material, size and type of binder mechanism and style and type of personalisation.
The benefit of commissioning an H&Co portfolio is that you have a professional, distinctive, personalised medical portfolio to present for interviews. .
Your medical portfolio, or evidence portfolio at a core training interview, will be seen before you, therefore your objective is to have a portfolio that makes a statement about you before you face the panel yourself.
While presentation is key, so is ease of use by the interviewer. Quick and easy, no hassle navigation is another vital ingredient to scoring as many marks as possible and our bespoke portfolios provide this.
2020 Update - The Bespoke Portfolio & The Standard Medical Portfolio
The Standard Medical Portfolio.
We now offer a standard or basic medical portfolio. Over the last few years we have been asked to provide a simple to order, personalised lever arch portfolio. It is still individually hand made and the covers are still a chunky 4mm outer cover and a 1.5mm inner cover. These are then covered in a robust and hard wearing black outer cover, platinum inner cover, buckram book cloth. The binder mechanism is a 65mm lever arch mechanism, so still the largest lever arch mechanism available and lastly, your name and speciality are printed in white on the front cover.
Our home page for medical and surgical portfolios can be found here
The Bespoke Medical Portfolio
Hartnack & Co's speciality is custom and bespoke (It is 90% of what we do). Business's, professionals, collectors, enthusiasts and of course Medics, approach us because they want something individual and special, and/or something that can't be bought 'off the shelf'. It is made from scratch to your specification, but is also made to our very high standards. The outer cover is 4mm and the inner cover is 1.5mm.
For the bespoke medical portfolio, you choose,
The cover material.
Your name and title, the typeface and where you want it placed.
A contents page holder.
brass corner protectors.
You also get to choose the binder mechanism, it's size and therefore its capacity.
With the right choice of options, your medical or surgical portfolio will last you all the way through from your Foundation years through to ST3 and if required, beyond.
What type of binder mechanisms are available to you?
(Updated November 2020)
If there is a binder mechanism available in the world, we can probably lay our hands on it, and indeed, may have used it for other commercial orders (that doesn't necessarily mean it right for a medical or surgical portfolio).
For medical portfolios probably our most popular choice mechanism is the 65mm lever arch binder. This will fit 100 high quality page protectors and 16 plastic dividers (as per the banner image above). We have noted that certain specialities, have mentioned using a "large lever arch binder", whether this suggestion is based on interviewers wanting a lever arch mechanism specifically for practical reasons, or using it as a generic term for a large binder, we can't say.
For those looking to put in more than 100 page protectors, (or say 120 pp's of a lesser grade/thickness), then we suggest a 2 ring Q binder which is available in either 80mm or 100m sizes.
There is a consideration that if you want a Medical Portfolio to last into ST3 interviews, where you might be presenting a great deal more evidence than you did previously, then a portfolio with a large 100mm binder would be a good investment, over trying to squeeze everything into your old 65mm or 55mm lever arch file.
Why a 2 ring binder?
We recommend a 2 ring binder because certain medical specialities have made mention in their portfolio guidance to use a "lever arch file". Whether this is mentioned for a specific practical reason, or because it's a generic name, we don't know.
Practically speaking, you can flip through a 2 ring binder mechanism quicker than you can a 4 ring one - There is just less metal to pass plastic over and in an interview we are told that navigation is key.
Does this rule out big 4 ring binders? No, in fact we've had ST3 applicants specify 4 ring binder mechanisms, why? Well, for a very practical reason. Strength and stability. A large portfolio with 150+ pockets in it , standing up in a bookcase (it's main habitat out of an interview) is going is going to be more stable than a 2 ring one. Just bear in mind that our large 80mm and 100m binders use a thicker grade of metal than a 65mm lever arch binder.
What about screw post binders?
For a small number of pages, screw post binders are ideal as they give the effect of a bound book. The pages are held tightly at the spine so read like a book, but that means getting access to the contents of a portfolio is not easy, which in an interview, could count against you. In fact for Medical and Surgical portfolios we now strongly recommend not using a screw post binder.
Capacity of our Mechanisms.
5.5cm Lever Arch Mechanism, which will hold approximately 70 plastic page protectors and dividers.
6.5cm Lever Arch Mechanism, which will hold approximately 100 plastic page protectors and dividers
10cm Q Ring Binder Mechanism, we are sorry, but we haven't done a plastic page protector count on this.
Portfolio Cover Materials
There are no restrictions to which colours are available and in which combination. Bear in mind though, that your portfolio is making the statement about you before you've been seen.
Our fabric swatch page to see the options open to you can be found here.
Our best advice on portfolio outer cover material is this
The cover should be a durable material - Buckram has an acrylic coating, so is water proof and can be wiped clean. Like wise Faux Leather is also cleanable, but doesn't take as much wear as Buckram in the long term. Book cloth is not water proof, therefore it will stain immediately.
3.5mm full hide leather - Has been popular, but it is a veg tan un-protected material. It will show its scratches and marks. We have also had one instance where someone at pre-interview stuck an adhesive label on the cover of a 3.5mm brown leather portfolio and when it was taken off marked the surface.
Leather bound portfolios - Are beautiful, but very expensive. We use a thinner chrome tanned leather hide which we bind onto the cover boards. The hides are expensive and the process is longer than a faux leather or buckram portfolio. But if you really want one!...
There is no ideal colour combination (we get asked). It has to be something that you are comfortable with. Our advice is look at all the Gallery pages, even for other categories like creatives, car collectors etc, as there might be an example that appeals to you there.
Personalising your portfolio
This is essentially one the key points of having a 'personalised' medical portfolio isn't it? Things to bear in mind are;
There are a choice typefaces that you can see below.
There are no 'standard' medical typefaces or layouts, therefore if you have seen something on our website you like let us know and we will do our best to re-create it.
What are your choices? Your portfolios can be personalised in a number of different ways.
Blind DebossColour FoilName Plaque
- Where can it be placed?Your personalisation can be placed anywhere you like on the cover. For instance, the bottom right hand corner or centre and a third of the way up. In order to do this we make a metal die plate of your name. (below) Having made the metal stamp of your name for the cover, we can also use the same die plate to stamp elsewhere, i.e. On the spine which is currently a free option on bespoke portfolios.
- Can I have a different one elsewhere? Yes, you can have as many as you like, but each new personalisation will require a new metal die plate (as above) and therefore an extra charge.
- Choose Your Typeface.When ordering you will be asked to choose a typeface/font. A clearer version can befound here, but for reference please see below.
If none of the above appeal to you, you can tell us another font, but it would depend upon whether we have it available in our Adobe Fonts system.
Page Protector Pockets
We sell very good quality, A4 sized, top loading, polypropylene plastic page protectors that are 110 micron thick and glass clear. These are archive safe, so will not affect the printed contents in future years. They can be ordered either hereor while ordering your lever arch portfolio on tis page.
This can be the important bit, because having dealt with the portfolios appearance, you now have to effectively deal with organisation and making sure your portfolio can be quickly navigated (very important!)
Unfortunately we do not supply dividers. The photo above features dividers from medicalportfolios.com which are just one of the options we think you have.
The first and cheapest option is to purchase either numbered or blank tabbed dividers which you either number or label yourself. These can be bought through Office World, Ryman or Amazon. Make sure whatever you buy is described as A4+ or large A4. This is important, as if they are just A4 they will not protrude beyond your page protectors. The issue we see with these, are that for A4+ sized dividers, they come in sets of either 5 tabs, 10 tabs or 20 tabs. This is not a calamity, it's just that some specialties have 16 or 13 sections, therefore buying numbered ones can be tricky - probably better therefore to buy blank sets.
The section option is to go to medicalportfolios.com and buy their dividers which are sold as per the specialty you are applying for. As you can see from the photo, they look very good and are clearly legible.
The third option is to go completely bespoke (like your portfolio). A company called Carlsson Express Tabswill print up a bespoke, colour coded version. The problem is that each bespoke set requires bespoke printing plates and they therefore cost between £100 - £150 a set.
Out of the ordinary medical portfolios
Double Lever Arch Files
Double lever arch files as the name suggest are two lever arch files in one as per the examples below.
Clamshell Box Portfolios
Our final offer is the clamshell box portfolio or box file. We haven't done many clamshell box medical portfolios, but we have certainly done some.