Shatner Shares the Stage with Portfoliobox

You never know who might end up with a Portfoliobox.

We teamed up with Interform Incorporated to create a box for a small sculpture by artist Rodger Stevens. The sculpture was to be awarded to honorees at the University of Colorado Crystal Springs 10th Annual Bachelor of Innovation Awards. We are no strangers to creating deluxe portfolios and presentation boxes for institutions of academia, but we have to admit that even we didn’t expect where this project would go.

William Shatner, Shatner, Award, Awards, Box, Portfolio, Presentation Case, UCCS, BI Bold Award
William Shatner was awarded the BI Bold Award in a three-panel folder by Portfoliobox

Captain Kirk himself got his hands on our work. Beloved actor William Shatner delivered a keynote speech at the UCCS BI Awards, encouraging young people to believe in the transformative power of science despite uncertain times. Several UCCS students were recognized for their contributions and innovations. Shatner was honored by UCCS with the BI Bold Award and he took a moment to pose with presentation packaging by Portfoliobox.

The award is a stupendous design by Rodger Stevens. Few symbols are more representative of innovation and ideation than the lightbulb and Stevens captures that essence succinctly in curving wire. But that bulb would look pretty lonely all by itself. A three-panel folder with a French panel provides a sophisticated platform. Silken World Cloth 540 Black on the exterior and suede-like Prestige Black on the interior create an extravagant textural experience. An insert was placed in the base to cradle the lightbulb sculpture.

Surprises like this don’t come around very often and we at Portfoliobox were delighted to see such a familiar face with one of our boxes. We’ve always considered our work to be stellar, but this project was truly one for the stars.

Premium Swag Box for MLC Connect

Swag Box for Athletic Creatives

For the designers, art directors, creative directors and other visionary minds behind our countries best-known athletic franchises, only the finest would do for a conference swag box.

A private gathering of creatives from major league teams from the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, as well as several collegiate team, the Major Level Creative ‘Connect’ conference has become an anticipated and beloved event for attendees. The exclusive gathering helps the small, agile teams of designers share successes, failures and new ideas for telling the heroic tales of their franchises.

Swag box with black soft touch material, silver foil stamping and a magnetic closure.
Swag box with black soft touch material, silver foil stamping and a magnetic closure.

As our parent company, Taylor Box Company, was a sponsor of this years MLC Connect, hosted by the White Sox in Chicago, we were asked to put together a special swag box. We decided on 060 Black Chip as the board substrate so the package would be strong but not overly heavy for those bringing the swag box home in a carry-on. MLC requested a soft-touch material, so we wrapped the tray and folder in black Mano from Neenah (formerly a Fibermark product).

The lid panel of the swag box had a Mano-lined envelope to hold important print collateral from the show, and the package was held shut with a magnet closure for a more premium touch. The killer graphics were provided by the creatives at MLC Connect, and were foil stamped in-house. As a nod to the event’s hosts, we chose a silver metallic foil that was a near exact match for the White Sox silver PMS.

This style of package is ideal for high-end invitations, welcome kits (whether to an exclusive group, time share, etc), season ticket packaging for athletics and the arts, etc. With the addition of a platform insert, foam insert or injection molded plastic insert, this package could easily be repurposed from swag box to premium consumer goods and electronic packaging.

Swag box with black soft touch material, silver foil stamping and a magnetic closure.
Swag box with black soft touch material, silver foil stamping and a magnetic closure.

Creative Commerce & Small Business in Rhode Island

Enterprising Warren

A few things stick out when you look around the town of Warren.

For starters, you can’t go more than twenty feet without hitting a café or a bar. The old colonial houses straddle the streets with their steep, flat silhouettes. Enormous red brick mills jut out along the skyline. Even in one of the smallest towns in the state of Rhode Island, there are mills everywhere. They’re on the water, on Main Street, and tucked away in residential neighborhoods.

Like so many other Rhode Island towns, people came to Warren to make things. It’s a typical case of manufacturing in the Ocean State. Immigrants from across Europe came to find a better life in the burgeoning New England textile industry. As a result, population boomed, the economy grew, and immigrant workers fundamentally reshaped the social structure of the town. [1]

Today, Warren is undergoing something of a renaissance. Textile manufacturers have all but disappeared, but in the wake of absent industry, artists and entrepreneurs are filling up the vacant mills. It’s a trend that you can trace across Rhode Island. Small businesses are setting up shop and revitalizing their surrounding communities, and together they are creating an economy of creativity.

Town Wharf-01.jpg

Warren is undergoing it’s own small business renaissance

Repurposing our Mills

More than a century after the first wave of textile manufacturing transformed Warren, the brick mills are still standing. Some mills remain completely vacant while others find new tenants. The majority are either in transition, like the original American Tourister/Samsonite mill, or home to various new small businesses.

We at Portfoliobox got our start in a mill space in Pawtucket, where state and federal tax credits for artists as well as multi-use development policy for the old mills have brought in droves of creative, quirky small businesses. At the Lorraine Mills, the brick structure Portfoliobox used to call home, you can find everything from hand-blown glass to Paleolithic granola to screen printed shirts and posters. All this and more made the move to Warren a natural one.

Manufacturing a Change

Warren is no slouch in manufacturing terms. The internationally renowned Water Rower exercise machine, designed in RI in the 1980s, is still manufactured in Warren, with worldwide distribution. Food production is serious small business over at the Handkerchief Factory where Rhode Island-famous Tito’s chips and salsa are made as well as a decadent selection of desserts from Buckleberry Foods. There is also a certain manufacturer of premium packaging on Child Street.

Creativity Driving Commerce

It’s no secret the arts are booming in Warren. O&G Studios creates gorgeous hand crafted furniture that Vogue magazine has called “heirlooms of tomorrow.” The Imago Foundation for the Arts features ever-rotating installations from renowned artists and is always open to the public. You can see some of the best theatre in the state at 2nd Story Theater. Down on Market Street, you can catch a show at Fort Foreclosure, the studio of artist Will Schaff, nationally known for his impressive cover art for bands and musicians. In fact, the maker-artist community is so strong in Warren that several creatives got together to start an artist cooperative to sell their works; Made in Warren opened last year.

Cuisine Driving Creativity

As a scrappy up-and-comer on the famous Rhode Island cuisine scene, Warren might be the best food town outside of Providence. Eli’s Kitchen serves up crab beignets worthy of the angels in an intimate open kitchen atmosphere, while on the other side of town, Chomp has a handle on the artisanal beer and burger game. At the Square Peg, locals and out-of-towners bump elbows at the bar, and just up the street the Coffee Depot gives the East Bay its due caffeine fix. Go into any of these establishments and you will meet at least one artist, likely two dining together.

Old mill buildings are being repurposed in Warren and across the state

Keeping Small Business in the Smallest State

You can attribute the success of the Warren Renaissance to an active and involved community, who stood up for preservation over mega-developments. You won’t find a Wal-Mart or a Whole Foods in Warren, instead it’s a patch work of small businesses that provide the town’s commercial needs.

For towns like Warren, and indeed Rhode Island as a whole, the future of the economy is vested in the success of small businesses and working artists. Manufacturing made Little Rhody prosperous in its heyday and there are still valiant manufacturers supporting the state, but the hope for revitalizing our mill towns and main streets is firmly placed in creative small businesses.

[1] Baronas, Deborah. The Warren Mill Project. Warren Preservation Society, Warren, RI, 2010.




Interesting Portfolio Ideas for Artists & Designers

Suffice it to say portfolios have changed since we started operations in 1984, so we put together some interesting portfolio ideas for your consideration!

The digital disruption to art presentation has imbued the physical portfolio with new purpose. Designers and artists have Behance, a Squarespace website, or even Instagram to curate and record their work, and share with millions in an instant for relatively little cost. A physical portfolio must do more than simply hold art to be of value, it must be art.

You’re busy making and designing for the future, so we at Portfoliobox have gone ahead and collected our favorite interesting portfolio ideas for your mood boards

Acrylic allure

Klo Portfolios


In design, as in life, transparency goes a long way. Some of the most interesting portfolio designs feature a solid translucent cover made of acrylic glass. It’s an incredibly modern look, even futuristic. The acrylic material can’t be hot stamped or embossed as with a more traditional portfolio, so laser engraving and mill cutting are the preferred decorative techniques. The results are impressive.


Comprised of meticulously engineered thermoplastic and decorated by use of lasers, the technology involved to create these portfolios is practically science fiction. Thick sheets of acrylic glass lend to deep, dimensional cuts in the material, and the potential for graphics and coloration is extensive.

Most commercial acrylic portfolios are frosted rather than completely transparent. This semi-clear design is visually remarkable. Frosted acrylic stirs an element of suspense in obscuring the view of the interior collateral. It makes the contents all the more enticing, goading you to guess at what’s inside. 

Utility design

David Ablett, via Behance

The multi-purpose folio is another of our favorite interesting portfolio ideas. Deceptively basic folders can be designed to separate, combine, or completely reconfigure into new forms. Consider a folio which could not only protect your work, but modify to become an easel with which to present it. What about a folio that elevates its contained collateral upon opening?



Azede Jean-Pierre SS11 Lookbook

Much like the latest tablets and notebooks, utility designs transform to accomplish different functions. It seems only natural that the same thing which transports your work is the very thing that displays it. Utility portfolios are a fascinating trend which should excite visual artists and designers yearning to make an impression at their next interview.

Harping on hardware

Above, we mentioned acrylic glass constructions, but frosted acrylic portfolios are part of a larger movement. Screw post portfolios are a surging trend in the market. While our products generally rely on a combination of glue and cover material to open, screw post designs use (you guessed it) screws. This construction tends to have an industrial look. Often composed of metal, wood, or hard plastic, they are more rugged and sturdy in appearance than paper constructions.

Sleek Portfolios

Screw post constructions are more weighty than your average folio. But consequently, screw post portfolios are built for longevity. This binding solution also allows frequent and unlimited curation of the content of your folio— unlike a bound book syle. Combining the screw post closure with a hard cover material like the plastic above ensures protection of your folio contents. This interesting portfolio idea isn’t really the Portfoliobox aesthetic, especially as plastic isn’t very sustainable, but the popularity of the screw post portfolio is difficult to ignore. Give us a ring and we can make it in wood or 100% recycled chipboard wrapped in a material of your choosing.

Inspiration and innovation continue to drive the industry forward. Interesting portfolio ideas are more abundant than ever. But despite trends in design and choice material, quality work never goes out of style.


Choosing the Right Portfolio or Presentation Case for Your Budget

This week’s dispatch comes as a guest post from our amazing Digital Design Intern, Jordan Facin. Jordan is a senior at Roger William University where he is studying Graphic Design. We turned to Jordan for his unique insights into opportunities for undergrads to improve any presentation with a Portfoliobox Stock Product.

There are a variety of important considerations to address when assembling your work for an academic or professional presentation. Whether you want to display your photographs, final thesis, printmaking collection, or button up a curated array for portfolio review, you definitely don’t want to be the kid with their work in a paper folder stapled together at 2:30am the night before. Fortunately for creative students across America, there is always a great way to exhibit your work when you know about Portfoliobox.

With over 30 years of experience, steeped in a tradition of classical book binding, we at Portoliobox have perfected the art of handmade custom portfolios and are sought internationally by artists to house their work. To accommodate any budget, we also offer four different handcrafted stock portfolios. Made in the USA with beautiful premium materials, these stock options come in a myriad of different dimensions to suit your project. With all the options, however, the toughest part is choosing the right portfolio for your work. We are here to help!

13x19 Edition Folio Open & Closed 13x19 Edition Folio Open

Our Edition Folio is a timeless folio design that can be multi-functional and catered to your display needs; two stiff boards lined with acid free Stonehenge paper, 3 Stonehenge paper flaps to keep your prints in place, and an elegant grosgrain ribbon closure. Designed to hold a small volume, this would be the perfect fit for those who need to display or carry up to eight sheets of prized photographs, prints, architectural drawings, perhaps a short proposal, etc. If you are seeking a portfolio that is light, yet functional, and evocative of old school fine art portfolios, then this is the Portfoliobox for you.

With sizes up to 13” x 19”, this is a great option for students who prefer a select portfolio, and is perfect to hold those special creations being shown to potential schools, employers and buyers. With a 100% cotton, archivally pure lining, the Edition Folio is also a great place to store your sensitive works after class is done.

Available OverFlap Folio Sizes 8x10 Overflap Folio Side

Every medium has unique needs when it comes to presentation; even among the fine arts! Besides, your portfolio represents work in at least one concentration, likely two or more. If your mix media collection requires more space than the Edition Folio can provide, the Overflap Folio may be your best bet with its roomy ½ inch depth. The Overflap Folio is made of stiff wrapped board, with 3 lined flaps that fold in to offer additional structural and security support. The inside is lined with acid free Stonehenge paper to protect your sensitive photographs, and wrapped in smooth professional Arrestox.

If you have a thesis, proposal or project summary, and don’t want to be just another laminated booklet or plastic binder in the stack, the Overflap Folio can offer an elegant and singular home for your opus. Again, the Overflap Folio comes in sizes ranging from 8” x 10” to 16” x 20” so whether you’re housing small prints, large drawings or something in between, you’re certain to find what you need

8x10 Lipped Clamshell Open 11x14 Lipped Clamshell Open

Our Lipped Clamshell is a classic bookstyle silhouette that has become the gold standard for presentation boxes. The wooden construction ensures structural reliability and sturdiness, not to mention a premium heft when held that is complimented by the tactile quality of the linen book cloth wrap. The amazing1.5” depth of this portfolio guarantees all of your best work will be housed comfortably without any overcrowding, and can even accommodate certain dimensional creative works. The Clamshell itself opens to lay perfectly flat, and creates a dual viewing area framed within the two trays. This would be a great choice for any artist, but particularly photography and print students.

The Lipped Clamshell presentation is a prime selection for its luxurious materials and breadth when completely opened– perfect for showcasing during a crit or calling on galleries!

8-by-10-tray-portfolio-box5 11-by-14-tray-portfolio-box-4

While the Lipped Clamshell may be the classic choice, there is yet another option to consider. If you are looking for a portfolio with the same depth as the Lipped Clamshell, but a more contemporary and commercial aesthetic, you may want to consider the Tray Box. Our Tray Box is constructed with a heavy cover board tray, and comes wrapped and lined in either smooth black Arrestox or black Brillianta linen book cloth, for a monochromatic, chic appearance. The wrap around cover and closure flap are secured with Velcro to guarantee contents are safe and sound. Like the Lipped Clamshell, the Tray Box has a 1 ½” deep tray, which means that you can fit all of your favorite works of art, a thick business plan proposal, or even an insert to hold dimensional work like jewelry and prototype miniatures. This would be a great option for those going on interviews, who may need to carry more than one resume or CV.

Somewhere between a traditional folio and a business presentation case, a display and a storage solution, the Tray Box is an unsurpassed value for your next project.

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Stock Portfolio Products