Understanding the difference between padfolio and portfolio.
There are subtle differences between padfolios and portfolios, but first let's address the similarities. Both padfolios and portfolios are available in a variety of materials (leather is the most popular option), both contain space to hold papers and/or a legal pad, and both have space within them for additional office supplies (such as pens, pencils, highlighters, calculators, etc.). Padfolios and portfolios have become staples in the business world, and they are increasingly popular giveaway items for seminars or conventions.
Portfolios are generally viewed as types of briefcases. They were designed for carrying by hand, and they have two handles at the top. Portfolios have a zipper that runs from the top to the bottom to allow easy access. Logo portfolios are available in smaller sizes and larger sizes. The larger versions have carrying straps or longer handles so that they can be carried over the arm like messenger bags or purses. Larger portfolios are often used by artists and models to show their artwork or pictures to potential clients.
Padfolios are slightly different. They do not have handles at the top because they are meant to be carried under the arm. They are available in two sizes: letter size and legal size. This refers to the size of the padfolio when it’s closed. The letter size fits standard-sized pieces of paper, while the legal size holds a standard-sized legal pad. Some padfolios have zippers and some do not; many have a buckle-type closure on the front instead.
There are also "internal" differences between padfolios and portfolios. Portfolios are typically larger or thicker because they are designed to hold a multitude of items. Many of them are accordion-style to accommodate more than just papers. On one side of the portfolio there is space for a steno or a legal pad, and on the other side there are extra pockets used to store miscellaneous office items.
Generally, padfolios are thinner and more lightweight because they are designed to contain "flat" items like paper or notebooks. They have the same space on one side for a notepad or a legal pad, but instead of having extra pockets like portfolios, they usually have only one pocket. This pocket is large enough to store a thin file or several extra sheets of paper. However, there are some versions that have small storage compartments for pens or pencils.
It is very easy to become confused when shopping for either a padfolio or a portfolio! If you're not sure which you need, it's helpful to consider the items you'll be transporting. If you need a quality promotional item to take notes (or to encourage others to take notes) at a seminar, the padfolio would probably be a good choice. The largest available padfolio is less than one foot long, so it would be a lesser load to carry for an occasional business meeting. If you need a personalized gift for an executive that is constantly on the run, then a portfolio may be a better option because of its zip-up feature. Portfolios are available in the standard and the smaller sizes, but they can be two-feet-long or even larger to accommodate a variety of useful business items.
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