← Ideas

The promising future of portalfolios

A concept for collaborating with clients straight inside portfolios

Ben Issen

Recently, I've been excited with the idea of portalfolios. Portalfolios are client portals built on top of portfolios.

The idea is simple: potential clients browse your portfolio and can also create accounts to get access to your creative services. Client portals aggregate all files, contracts, communications and invoices in one convenient space for your clients.

As an agency or freelancer, you:

  • streamline your processes,
  • create a unified client experience
  • own the communication channel.

And your clients just go holy shit this is cool

If the portfolio is the designer's shop, the portalfolio is the designer's office. This way, clients don't just buy your services, they buy *how* the service is provided. In a world where portfolios are the new resumes, portalfolios can help many other types of people other than designers.

Transparency, short feedback loops or the entire experience facilitated with your portalfolio can become your unique selling point, your differentiator, your secret weapon.


Portalfolios have drawbacks though:

  • More upfront work to set up than regular portfolios
  • Clients need to adapt to your process
  • People naturally default to emails
  • If your work sucks, portalfolios just won't change that :)

Setting up your own portalfolio

To share an example with you: I built a portalfolio for Supercreative entirely inside Webflow, using Zapier, Stripe, Daily co, Crisp and embedded Figma.

A quick demo:

I went searching for other ways to turn portfolios into portalfolios.

  • Designer social networks are easy to set up but not customizable
  • White-label solutions are customizable but can be long to set up
  • Freelancing marketplaces have many portal features but cost the most

Here's a list of other portalfolios I found, built with @DuncanHamra's Memberstack (on top of Webflow), @laurium's Client Portal (on top of Wordpress) and @Vinrob's ManyRequests.  

Another way to switch from portfolio to portalfolio is with Notion! It's super easy to set up and has many portal features: to share moodboards, service agreements, design files, invoices and chat almost exclusively on there. I'm preparing an interesting article about this. Get it here 👇

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Time to create
Time to share
Last edit: 
Apr 27, 2022
Special thanks for feedback: 
Image credits: 
Ben Issen

Recommended next

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.