Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Where for art thou A4?

While I've collected a fair few binders, so far there is one size I do not own. A4.

As a design graduate I've spent most of my life dragging around various sizes of portfolio. The heaviest of which being a monsterous A2, which I struggled to lift even before filling it. Since then I've downgraded to an A3, but it's still ridiculously heavy when full, and I can't help but feel that dumping something of that size in front of a perspective employer is a bit intimidating. There for I need an A4!

I've already sent my feelers out and have found a few options to mull over.

Image via filofax UK.

A Finsbury Trifold Folio; while missing the rings the rest of my binders have, I'm not completely adverse tot the idea of a lose leaf portfolio. And it's only £40 in the local stationers.

Another option is an A4 Logic, which I couldn't find a suitable image of, also found for a reasonable price in my local stationery shop. It has both rings and a handle, giving it a more of a briefcase look. The only downside is the finish. Not being a leather binder (or even leather look) takes away any professional edge you have with alternative binders.

Image via

Goldline binders are more traditional when it comes to design portfolios, but do I want to be traditional when applying for a job, or do I want something that makes me stand out? Experience has taught me that this style of binder is weatherproof, sturdy and the rings are reliable (but destroy your fingers if you get trapped in one!). They are however cumbersome and, frankly, they always smell weird. I'd rather not take this option if I don't have to.

Image via filofax UK.

Back to filofax; Metropol Zipped A4 Portfolio. Classic, beautiful, ringed, and has loads of space for extra paperwork and business cards. Can you tell where my preferences lie in this 'decision'? It could be my new found penchant for the Metropol series, but I think something like this could serve me well... IF plastic presentation sleeves fit inside it. If they do, it might be worth considering this instead...

Image via filofax UK.

Metropol Zipped A4 Portfolio with handles! It has the extra professional kick form the handles with all the storage of the regular A4. How amazing would I look (and feel) walking into an interview sporting one if these bad boys and a nice suit? I could keep all of my documents inside it, take any notes I needed to during the interview, and have an intimate format in which to present my work.

The problem is, everything costs money, so it'll be a while before I can get any of the above. However, it does mean that I have loads of time to really think about what I want, and to tart up my work ready for the new folder.



  1. Emma
    I have an A4 Classic, it's a beautiful organiser, I didn't pay the full £150 or what ever the current price is for it.

    But whilst they 'make an impression' and they are big and can hold lots of stuff and information. Easy to print to, punches are cheap as chips, paper by the shed loads.... stuff you have already ticked the boxes on I'm sure...

    The thing that stopped me using mine on a regular basis is the size of it when open. They take up a lot of desk space! It will depend what sort of job you have but not everyone will get a big enough desk these days.

    I downsized to an A5 within months and I've stayed in the A5 ever since. You can hold A4 and A3 sheets in an A5 with some clever folding.
    But give it some careful thought before you jump in to an A4.

    All the inserts on Philofaxy are in fact sized for A4... so you won't have any calendar issues :-)


  2. I used to own an A4 Strata that I picked up quite cheaply on eBay. However, I sold it as I didn't really see much advantage (for me personally) in it over a normal ringbinder, & I didn't particularly like it being black & quite masculine looking.

    The A4 Finsbury in raspberry is lovely if you wanted something that isn't black & I'd be happy to use it in a professional setting. I recently saw one at the Conduit store & it looked huge though. Like Steve, I also have an A5 zipped Holborn which is a great size for me, but I can definitely still see the advantages of the A4 size.

    Good luck :)

  3. hi,
    nice post!I am enjoying your blog.I love the A5 zipped Holborn! Wow - that's almost a whole handbag with so many pockets.thanks for sharing!

    A4 zipped binders & folders