Format CEO, Lukas Drya, describes the tool as a portfolio builder designed for creative minds.

Format started off as ‘4ormat’ back in 2008 and launched under the same name in 2010. At this stage, it was one of few portfolio builders designed specifically for creatives – but the market has since become much more competitive.Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 00.07.06.png

In 2014, the company relaunched as ‘Format’ and unveiled a number of upgraded features. But has it done enough to stay ahead of the pack, in a market that’s become increasingly saturated over the past few years?

A busy schedule doesn’t always allow for ‘trial and error’; especially not when it comes to choosing a platform to showcase your work. So, I decided to take a look at what Format has to offer and do the groundwork for you.

Once you’ve read through this review, you should have a good idea of whether or not Format is the best platform to present your talents.

Getting Started

The first thing you’ll do is create your account. You will then see 4 more steps pop up on the screen which you will work through until completion.

It goes like this:

  • Create your account

  • Upload images

  • Choose and customize your theme

  • View your site

  • Create your custom domain

And it looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 22.25.42.png

You definitely won’t get lost when you’re navigating through Format, that’s for sure. Right from the start, the ‘tour’ video pops up and gives you a demonstration of how to use the site. You’ll come across these tours every time you go back into Editor mode also – which can be pretty useful.

Usability

As you can see from the set-up stage, Format seems to take user friendliness pretty seriously. The interface is very intuitive, everything is where you expect it to be, and the step-by-step approach makes the whole process very easy.

Once you’re finished with one section, you’re swiftly directed towards the next building block – and the tour is always on hand if you need a recap.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 22.40.09.png

Adding Content

Content is managed in the Pages section of the site editor – and it’s not all about visuals either.

Format differs from other creative themed portfolio builders I’ve come across, by allowing users to upload text items to their portfolio also (automatic brownie points from this writer).

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 22.48.01.png

In addition to Pages, you can also add content to the in-built blog.

The blog is fairly minimalistic, so you might not be impressed if you’re used to a more comprehensive system. It offers the key features that you need and nothing more, but I actually like that about it. So it all depends on what you’re looking for.

Themes & Customization

Format’s themes are grouped by gallery display type and there are a decent selection to choose from.

You’ll also find multiple presets available on each theme, which will allow you to view the theme with different fonts and colors before making your selection.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 21.08.49.png

Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can head over to the Design Page which offers some a few surprise customization options that aren’t always available on these platforms – such as letter-spacing and line-spacing.

On the Design Page, you’ll also see 3 tabs for Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile. All themes are responsive and you can customize the site for each platform by clicking on the individual tab.

Customer Support

The Help section is very comprehensive, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to contact these guys very often. But if you do, they promise to get back to you within 1 working day.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 23.45.27.png

Pricing

After your free 14 day trial, you can choose from 3 packages on Format: Basic, Pro, and Agency. Prices start at $5.75 for the Basic package, with $10.75 p/m for the Pro package, and $20.75 for Agency.

There’s a pretty big gap between the Basic package and the Pro package in terms of content allowance (e.g. 100 Images Vs 1,000 Images), so I’d say it’s worth forking out the extra fiver a month to upgrade.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 21.14.53.png

Final Verdict

I’m definitely a fan of Format. It offers everything that I’d expect from a decent portfolio builder and it offers some nifty extras too. Format makes it simple for anyone to create a beautiful, clean, and professional website that has just enough ‘pzazz’ to stand out amongst its competitors.

If you’re looking to branch out into ecommerce in the near future, then it’s not the website builder for you. And it won’t be a hit for anyone who needs a comprehensive Content Management System either. But that's fine, because it wasn’t built to do any of those things.

Format is what it is. And that's a feature-rich, simplistic, and easy to use website portfolio builder. So if that’s what you’re on the market for, I highly recommend checking it out.

What’s your portfolio builder of choice? Let us know in the comments below.