Art Portfolio Case Buyers Guide

Art Portfolio Case Buyers Guide

How To Select A Portfolio Case For Your Art, Photography, Or Graphics 

Selecting the right portfolio case is a crucial decision for artists, students, and professionals alike. However, the term "portfolio case" can encompass a wide range of options, including bags, books, and cases designed for various purposes. In this guide, we'll explore the different types of portfolio cases available and provide insights to help you make an informed choice. 

Portfolio Cases or Bags for Loose Items


This category includes cases and bags designed to carry individual pieces of artwork or graphics that are not bound together. These loose items can be drawings on paper, student art assignments, or various other materials. Here are some common options within this category:

Traditional Zippered Portfolio: These portfolios are the quintessential image that comes to mind when you think of art portfolios. They typically feature semi-rigid vinyl or fabric stretched around a wire frame and a zipper running along three sides and across the top. Traditional zippered portfolios are commonly used for drawings on paper and student art assignments. When choosing one, consider factors like the rigidity of the sides, the materials used, the quality of the zipper, and the warranty.

Some limitations of traditional zippered portfolios are:

  • Flexible sides may cause bending or slumping when held upright.
  • The zipper spanning sides and the top can be inconvenient and may potentially scratch or damage artwork.
  • Limited depth restricts the types of materials that can fit inside.

Canvas Art Bags (Student Portfolios): These affordable portfolios are often used by students with temporary portfolio needs. They are typically made from inexpensive canvas and are flat pouches without depth. Some come with disposable cardboard inserts to prevent folding. Canvas art bags are suitable for carrying drawings on paper that don't require significant protection.

Expandable Art Portfolio Cases (Expandable Portfolios): Among the most versatile options, these cases can accommodate a wide range of materials, from paper to foamboard to framed art. What sets them apart is their ability to expand to carry thicker items. They are suitable for graphics printed or mounted on foamboard, event signage, trial exhibit boards, architectural drawings, engineering drawings, advertising concept boards, flat panel TVs, X-Ray films, and product samples with some thickness.

When choosing an expandable portfolio, consider factors like the expansion depth, ease of inserting and removing materials, the strength of hardware, and the portfolio's structure. 

Portfolios With Pages


If you need to present a series of related documents, graphics, photos, or an assembled collection of work in a particular order, portfolio books, presentation books, or presentation cases are ideal. These options feature individual pages for your materials, binding them together for sequential viewing.

Presentation Cases: These resemble zippered artist portfolios but come with a binding system in the spine to hold sheet protectors (page protectors). They are typically made of vinyl with a simulated leather grain or actual leather. Presentation cases are commonly used for carrying and displaying graphic design work, photographs, sales and marketing documents, and artwork on paper. Factors to consider when buying a presentation case include the type and quality of material, binder system capacity, handle location, and additional features like interior pockets and business card holders.

Portfolio Books or Presentation Books: These have front and back covers and a means of binding a stack of page protectors. They are typically open at the sides and are commonly used to showcase collections of graphics or photos. Look for variations in materials, binding systems, sheet capacity, and imprinting options when choosing a portfolio book.

Display Easel Binders: These are similar to presentation books but have features that allow them to stand upright on a table like a flipchart. They are often used for business presentations to individuals or small groups sitting around a table. Consider factors like the capacity/size of binder rings, the presence of handles, and the size and format when shopping for a display easel binder.


Art Portfolio Case Shopping Tips


Before making your final decision, here are some valuable tips:

Check the Manufacturer's Warranty: Look for a portfolio case with a minimum one-year warranty, or consider high-quality brands with longer warranties to ensure protection against breakage or hardware failure.

Buy for the Long Term: Unless your need for a portfolio case is very short-lived, consider investing upfront in a case that will last for years and maintain a professional image. This can save you money in the long run and contribute to environmental sustainability.

Read Customer Reviews: When making your purchase, it's helpful to read product reviews on portfolio websites. If reviews aren't available, you can often find buyer reviews and video reviews on platforms like

In conclusion, selecting the right portfolio case involves considering your specific needs, materials, and budget. With the right information and careful consideration, you can choose a portfolio case that not only protects your work but also enhances your professional image.