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Portfolios & Cases Overview

We've all been there... looking for the most convenient, cost-effective solution to storing our work.  Preferably in the simplest, most compact way, right?

Designed with this express purpose in mind, portfolios & cases are always the best option.  However, as with all things in the art world, there are a lot of options out there & it can definitely get a little overwhelming.  So we've put together this short blog detailing some specifics & the kind of terminology you should keep an eye out when browsing.

Now, you may be thinking, "But what makes you the experts?".

It's a funny story actually...

History Lesson

You may already have some knowledge on portfolios & cases, but what you maybe didn't know, is that they originated right here with us...

You read that right, Leonard Cowling (one half of our namesake) was responsible for designing & developing the very first portfolio case of its kind.  It all started in Soho back in the Swingin' 60s, where Leonard made a simple, yet profound, observation;

"Creatives, at the time, had no way of transporting their work safely & securely"

This spark, much like all moments of inspiration, struck Leonard like lightning!
Before it had a chance to fade, grabbing a nearby scrap of paper, he drew out a rough initial design draft.  Taking this draft to an East London luggage manufacturer, in no time at all, it was brilliantly realised, fabricated & in his hands.

Thus, the first artist specific portfolio case was born!

Portfolios & Cases... what's the difference anyway?

Long story short, Portfolios feature a ring mechanism to hold sleeves and Cases simply don't.  Of course, we won't leave it at that, after all, there are several key differences to be aware of when looking for the right one for your needs.

Whilst there are specific design choices unique to each brand, we're instead going to focus on the fundamentals & build a basic guide to help you understand the concept as a whole before providing a quick cheat sheet...


Simple, user-friendly and available in a wide variety of size & style options, top-loading cases forego sleeves & instead incorporate additional features such as interior clips, pockets or elasticated straps to secure their contents.

All brands share common features such as lightweight construction, cushioned handles, a water-resistant outer layer & shoulder straps, but if you spend a couple of minutes browsing, you're sure to spot some more notable unique features in each. 

Some prime examples are the distinct reflective stripes found in the Quartz range from Mapac or the recognisable textured surface of the Matrix range from Teloman.


Whilst yes, these function in much the same way as Cases, an important distinction is the addition of a burst-proof ring mechanism.

With the addition of sleeves, Portfolios function in a fashion similar to a large-scale lever-arch file, allowing for a quick, simple method of showcasing their content in a number of creative or corporate environments.

Again, taking a quick browse through our site, you'll see that there's a general consensus in regard to their shared traits (water-resistant, shoulder straps, double zips etc.), but much like the Cases, several brands also add their own distinct features.  The Teloman "Tech-Style Presenter" portfolios feature a stylish leather grain finish for a further sense of professionalism, for instance.


Synonymous with archival storage, sleeves come in several flavours, dependent on your needs.

Teloman vinyl sleeves for instance, are a lightweight, cost-effective range designed to be as universally acceptable as possible & made using clear, acid-free vinyl with reinforced holes.

If you're looking for style & sophistication, we recommend the Goldline Archival Sleeves from Clairefontaine, available in sealed packs of 10.  Incredibly refined, with a glass clear body for viewing your work, these sleeves are Archival Quality, preventing yellow, damage or deterioration for years to come.

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