Semplice – is a self-hosted portfolio builder powered by WordPress. Michael Schmidt and Tobias van Schneider founded it with the idea of creating a tool built by designers for designers. As a result, we have an example of a website building system that comes not as a template but a full-scale technology with access to the source code, limitless drag-and-drop functionality, advanced customization, and design capabilities, blogging, SEO, and other features that deliver a great experience on top of the WP CMS.
A powerful engine makes it easy to create stylish and capturing portfolios with no coding. However, it is not a pre-designed layout where you can only change block positioning or drag-and-drop images. It is a comprehensive portfolio-building instrument and it may take some time for the user to get used to it. Also. Semplice is not an all-in-one solution with a domain and hosting included in the plan. You are supposed to have an already running WordPress site.
If that sounds fine to you, let’s continue the review and have a look under the hood.
1. Pros and Cons
On the one hand, Semplice makes it easy to get started with a stunning portfolio in no time. It has an intuitive visual editor that does not require coding. On the other hand, to make the most of the system you may need some designer tools or at least have a clear understanding of such terms as animation, fonts, grid, etc.
| ✔ Endless design and customization tools.|
✔ Drag-and-drop functionality.
✔ Lifetime license.
✔ SEO and Blogging features.
✔ Mobile editing.
✔ Responsive layouts.
✔ Advanced portfolio grids.
| ✘ Requires separate domain and hosting management.|
✘ A WordPress- powered system. Cannot be used with other CMS.
✘ May require some time and a few technical skills for more complex projects.
2. What Is It Good for?
As stated earlier, the main motto for the project says, “developed by designers for designers”. It offers a range of advanced tools to create portfolio cases, highlight creative works, engage with potential customers, or launch email marketing campaigns. The system offers simple integration with social media as well as video streaming tools. It all helps to bring more customers and promote your works via several channels.
Semplice does not offer ready-to-use layouts. It gives a chance to bring some of your own sketches to life and execute a unique design. For these reasons, newbies may find the system a bit complicated from the start although it still lets them create projects with no coding.
What we try to say is that the platform is not for users who only want to fill in blank spaces with texts and go live. It is for those who want to try out various designs, customize their portfolios, add effects, and make the most of the visual editor for maximum creativity.
It is time we checked some of the Semplice website examples to see how good projects may look.
Hailing from Denmark, Kasper Laigaard is a well-recognizable UI/UX designer and director. He works as a freelancer and helps businesses and individuals improve their users’ experience and present complex digital solutions in a simple way.
Her portfolio has several baseline sections with news, works, and studio. Semplice made it possible to create several unique grids and highlight Kasper’s works in an engaging manner. They are easy to browse through and navigate.
Megan works as a graphic designer in Los Angeles. Her mission is to deliver the main idea of the product to the target audience through brand, digital, and print designs. Her website offers an engaging portfolio presented in stylish grids. Here we also have an About section as well as a separate page with some of Megan’s best works.
Another example of a simple, stylish, and easy-to-use portfolio built with Semplice. Christina is a talented art director and graphic designer. Born in Austria, she moved to New York where she has been helping companies represent their brands in the most appealing way since 2014.
3. Ease of Use
On the whole, Semplice does not require in-depth technical skills. It is not pre-designed a template you can edit. It helps to create projects from scratch and customize them using the drag-and-drop functionality. The system comes as a self-hosted solution, which means you are supposed to take care of the domain and hosting in advance.
The software is available as a downloadable version. It means that you will need to choose a plan first and pay for it. Once downloaded and installed, the platform will provide access to the original source code, visual editor, and other tools to build your first portfolio. The good news is that users are free to customize the code without limits.
After choosing the plan, you will need to provide some personal details including address and billing info. Complete the purchase to be forwarded to the page with a downloadable file for your particular OS. Run a simple installation process and run the program to start the building process.
Semplice has an intuitive dashboard with all pages listed in one place. Here you will see their status as well as the creation date. You may sort them or use the navigation bar for quick access.
To create a new project, you need to give it a name and indicate the type.
The editor offers several ways to create a new portfolio. Here we have covers, modules, and blocks. Simply pick the element from the panel on top of the page and drag-and-drop it to the designing area.
Create the layout for the page, add texts, upload images, build custom sections, and more. Each element can be customized and edited in accordance with your preferences. When you are done, preview the page and publish it. The system offers a preview mode to check how the project looks live. It takes little time to build a ready-to-go page.
General settings offer simple ways to indicate the website tagline and edit the title to make it visible in the search engines. Additionally, you may choose the type of homepage. It may depict the latest works or posts or you may use it as a static page.
To go live with the project, you will need to have WordPress installed and configured. That might be a challenge for newbies. What’s more, you will not be able to go live without having a domain. This is where WP-optimized hosting solutions may be a good way out. For example, Bluehost offers a 1-click installation with an automated setup and WordPress integration. So, you will not need to handle the process manually.
4. Features & Flexibility
Semplice is a niche-oriented product. However, it delivers everything needed for that niche. Graphic and web designers will appreciate a set of design and customization tools in addition to full source code access, additional SEO and blogging features, and a powerful visual editor.
Visual Content Editor
As stated earlier, the system comes with unlimited options in terms of page customization. Users may add new sections, change fonts, customize margins, change background colors, upload images, add buttons, etc.
Semplice “philosophy” revolves around case studies. It’s a way to build beautiful, custom case studies that are specific to each client/project rather than using the same one-size-fits-all template.
The tool has a powerful set of typography tools. It works great for proper content formatting. You may set heading and subheading for a chosen section as well as implement any of the available custom fonts to make the page look more user friendly.
What’s more, users will appreciate the cover preset function. Choose a pre-designed layout to customize it or create your own cover from the blank. Every template you build can be saved as your own theme. Besides, users may keep all their digital assets in the integrated media library for fast and simple access.
Advanced Portfolio Grids
To showcase your projects, you may choose from a variety of grid types. They may include text, visual or split grids. Users may add custom navigation to see how each block will be located on the page.
It is possible to position works and text descriptions on separate sides or put them side-by-side using vertical panels. It is up to your likes and preferences. Centered text grids deliver an up-to-date approach with images sticking to the mouse or appearing as soon as users scroll down.
Blog and SEO
Users will have a chance to add a minimalistic blog with a click. It can be managed either from the WordPress control panel with all the content editing tools you may get inside the CMS or right inside the Semplice dashboard. To make the content more search engine-friendly, the system makes it possible to optimize page titles and descriptions.
Integrated Video Tutorials
A great feature for those who do not want to be left stranded during the building process. You may benefit from video prompts and tips right on the editing page. Play the video in case you do not know what to do next without leaving the editor.
With Semplice, users may grow their mailing lists thanks to integration with MailChimp. Code modules make it easy to add custom code to any page. A Private Project feature will keep your portfolio safe. You can decide whether to provide access to the project or not.
5. Design & Templates
As we have noted, the system is not a pre-designed template. You should not expect ready-made themes from it. You will need to create new pages from the blank. To make them more engaging, users can add animations and effects. The system currently has 27 pre-built animations with the ability to create and add one of your own. You may not only add interactive animations but also preview them before enabling them.
With automatic gallery returns, you will enable the last slide transition back to start. Besides, it is possible to add gallery making elements fading in or out as well as sliding between images. Create full-screen galleries, add customizable arrows, style pagination, and more. With SVG support, all icons and elements will run smoothly on any device with different screen dimensions.
6. Customer Support
Semplice does not offer customer support in a typical way. It does not provide a Live Chat feature as well as support via phone. However, it provides super fast email support. On the other hand, users will get full access to the comprehensive FAQ and knowledge base with some of the most common topics described.
Here you will find info on how to connect a domain, install and configure WordPress, etc. The Help Center contains information about all the product features as well as price and licensing. Also, we should not forget about integrated video tutorials on every page as well as a comprehensive video guide on how to get started or implement some of the available options. Last not least, Semplice has an active goring community on Facebook and Twitter.
7. Plans and Pricing
The platform does not offer subscription-based plans. It comes as a downloadable version in the box with lifetime ownership after you complete the purchase. Users may currently choose from three available packages:
- Single costs $99 with all baseline features that include access to the visual editor, gallery sliders, code modules, etc.
- Studio costs $138 with an extra MailChimp module, advanced grids, Instagram module, and more.
- Business costs $599 includes all features from Single and Studio packages with 10 more licenses to use the system for commercial needs.
8. Website Examples – Semplice Showcase
Users may benefit from the annual list of top portfolios built with Semplice and published on the official website. We picked several projects to show how the system evolves over time.
Cori Corinne – independent multi-discipline designer
Vincent Dumond – art director and motion designer
Alt Creative, Inc. – motion graphics, VFX, digital/concept art
Ars Thanea – design and craft studio
Darcy Moore – design and art studio
Contino – elastic agency
Semplice is a self-hosted portfolio system based on WP CMS. It will be a perfect option for web and graphic designers as well as companies that work on establishing brands in the digital environment. It delivers a set of design and customization tools with a powerful visual editor and advanced building technologies. Users will appreciate lifetime ownership with unlimited source code editing.
We can say that a system is a professional tool for professionals. Beginners, artists, and photographers without special web and graphic design skills will find it a bit complicated and pricy. They would rather opt for all-in-one solutions like Carbonmade while Semplice is a self-hosted platform that additionally requires WordPress installation and setup as well as domain configuring. This is where WP-optimize hosting from Bluehost may be a worthy solution.