If you’re comparing padfolio vs. portfolio, congratulations: you’re already ahead of the curve. Most folks don’t even realize they’re two different things. While there are some clear similarities between padfolios and portfolios, there are also notable differences. On the side of similarities, padfolios and portfolios both offer space for a notebook or legal pad and a few writing instruments. Here, we’ll quickly break down the most important differences between the padfolio vs. portfolio:
Padfoliosare typically smaller than portfolios. They normally come in either a letter size or legal size (referring to the padfolio’s size when closed and/or the type of notepad it’s intended to hold). Padfolios do not have handles, as they are intended to be carried under the arm. To secure its contents, a padfolio will usually have some sort of zipper, snap, or buckle closure.
Portfolios, the larger of the two, function more like briefcases. Designed to be carried by hand, portfolios generally have handles and a zipper closure. Much larger portfolios exist as well (picture a large portfolio carried by an artist), and these typically have longer straps for carrying over the shoulder or across the body like a messenger bag.
In addition to being smaller in exterior dimensions, the padfolio is also smaller in overall heft. Padfolios are slim and lightweight, designed to hold just a pad of paper on one side and minimal contents (like a few notes or a file and a couple of pens) on the other.
Portfolios, on the other hand, are designed to hold more items, so they include more pockets and organizational details -- some even open accordion-style. Normally, even a smaller portfolio will easily accommodate a laptop, multiple files, a charger, and other accessories. (Much more, of course, if it’s a large portfolio.)
The most important factor in your padfolio vs. portfolio decision is how you’ll be using it. If you need something simple to bring to a lunch meeting or interview, go for a classic leather padfolio. Need something to carry at that three-day conference? A nice portfolio may suit you better.