Semplice – is a self-hosted customizable 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 an advanced portfolio system, which helps you gain the attention of potential clients and impress them by its appealing responsive design approach.
The website builder comes not as a template but as a full-scale technology with access to the source code, limitless drag-and-drop functionality, advanced customization, design capabilities, blogging, SEO and other features that deliver exceptional 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 that requires thorough exploration. Thus, it may take some time for a subscriber to get used to it.
Another thing you should know about Semplice is that it 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 site to use the system for portfolio creation and customization.
If that sounds fine to you, let’s continue the review and have a look under the hood.
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. To find out what other features and tools the system has in stock, let’s review the issue in details now.
Due to its simple web design approach, Semplice does not require in-depth technical skills. The system is quite easy to master for beginners yet it certainly takes some effort and time to get used to its dashboard and the process of portfolio creation in general. As mentioned above, the builder does not provide standard pre-designed templates you can pick and edit as required. Instead, it allows creating projects from scratch and customizing them using the drag-and-drop functionality.
The software is available as a downloadable version. It means that you will need to choose and buy a plan first. 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. As a self-hosted solution, Semplice implies the need to select and connect a third-party domain and hosting. This may become a problem for beginners.
Having selected 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.
The dashboard of the system is quite intuitive and understandable. All the pages are listed in one place here. You can track their current status and creation date, if required. Likewise, it is possible to sort them or use the navigation bar for quick access. By the way, the system has recently improved it to provide a better user experience and to make it more user-friendly. Just create an account and proceed to the DIY project creation.
Blogging and SEO
The builder provides an opportunity for blog connection. However, don’t expect deep flexibility and functionality from the system as blog creation is not included in its major specialization. What you can do here is to set up a portfolio and then connect a standard blog to it to establish better interaction with the target audience and to keep them updated with recent industry news. You can add a blog with a click only. 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.
Visual Content Editor
As stated earlier, the system comes with unlimited options in terms of page customization. The builder excels at visual editing solutions that contribute to your portfolio project design, performance and the overall impression it creates upon the target audience. Users may add new sections, change fonts, customize margins, change background colors, upload images, add buttons, etc.
Case Study Development
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.
Advanced Typography Tools
The software comes with 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.
The system makes it possible to integrate a new next/prev module, which is dynamic and completely customizable. The module encourages the system users to conveniently keep browsing the projects they are interested in. Additionally, the software has introduced new navigation presets based on the most popular user requests and preferences. It has now become possible to hide your project logo, stack the menu, align project elements in any required order etc.
Another module you can integrate into your portfolio to make it more impressive and interactive is the Before/After Gallery. It is created to show your clients the difference between your project quality on all the stages of the development process. The high end image module demonstrates the way your website evolves, thus, driving user attention.
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.
Convenient Asset Organization
Due to the availability of the new media library, the website builder allows keeping your assets properly organized. You can drag and drop the required elements to the desired positions. Likewise, it is possible to upload files or sort the selected assets into folders for more convenient organization.
Multiple Portfolio Support
The platform does not impose any restrictions as to the number of portfolios you can create with it. Having bought a package, you will be able to independently decide on the number of projects you would like to launch and manage. Whatever this number is, the system will let you filter the projects by category on the homepage or use the selected portfolio grid module in order to set up multiple websites.
Landing Page Creation
You may face the need to create a landing page for your clients just to present your major works/services and to make them interested in further cooperation. Apart from portfolio development, the system allows setting up landing pages without any extra budget investment. The process takes a few minutes only.
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.
Semplice has introduced a new edition for agencies and studios. It unlocks powerful features that can enhance the quality of any project, making it more immersive and cinematic. TSome of the features include Advanced Portfolio Grid module, Mailchimp and Blocks modules, Gallery Grid module, Instagram Live Feed, Master Blocks, advanced navigation and customization, Unsplash integration, Newsletter sign up feature, etc.
As far as Semplice is a self-hosted software, it implies the need to pick a third-party hosting provider and a domain name. The system, however, offers premium hosting access as they team up with Flywheel – a trusted hosting provider. The offer is not included with the Semplice license, so, everyone can opt for it individually in case of necessity.
The portfolio builder grants access to multiple modules you can drag and drop onto your project pages. These include MailChimp email sign up, Instagram feeds, code module, Dribble module and many more.
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. Advanced motion effects can make your portfolio elements animated and more visually-impressive to make a project stand out from the crowd.
The builder offers video support options to let you integrate video files into your portfolio for more effective online presentation. You can embed videos from well-known platforms like YouTube and Vimeo as well as upload them directly to your website. Likewise, you have an opportunity to integrate full-screen background videos, apply video sliders/galleries and even enable a video autoplay mode.
Semplice Design and Templates
To create a new project with Semplice, you need to give it a name and indicate the type. As we have noted, the system does not offer pre-designed templates. You will need to create new pages from scratch here. To be precise, 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.
To make your portfolio pages more engaging, users can add animations and effects. The system currently has 27 pre-built animations with the ability to create and upload one of your own. You may not only add interactive images 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. It’s up to you to create full-screen galleries, add customizable arrows, style pagination etc. With SVG support, all icons and elements will run smoothly on any device with different screen dimensions.
When working on your project creation, you also have an opportunity to add texts, design layouts for all web pages, upload images, add custom sections, new modules etc. Each element can be customized and edited in accordance with your preferences.
The system has recently introduced seamless responsive editing. This has made it easier to make quick breakpoint refinements in order to give your project better mobile optimization. You will be able to update content on mobile and desktop devices, while other breakpoints will automatically adjust. What’s more, you can avail better control over your project responsive content by hiding/showing certain sections on mobile and desktop devices. As a result, your portfolio visitors will avail the best browsing experience, irrespective of the device/screen size/dimensions they have.
General settings, in their turn, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 License ($119) for individual creatives – 1 license, content editor, custom fontsets, fully responsive projects, fullscreen cover, gallery slider, Dribbble Module, Code Module, Private Projects etc.;
- Studio License ($168) for small studios and agencies – design options with blocks, Instagram module, Gallery Grid, Before/After Module, advanced grids, MailChimp Module, more navigations etc.;
- Business License ($699)for commercial client projects – opportunity to run the system on 10 domains, 10 licenses for commercial use etc.
Semplice is not the cheapest portfolio builder. A nice opportunity is to be able to pick a suitable license that comes with fixed one-time pricing. You won’t have to provide any credit card info or make recurring payments to keep working with the system. Just buy it once and use it to create quality portfolio projects on the specified terms.
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 Alternatives and Competitors
Semplice is a professional portfolio builder, which delivers an exhaustive collection of niche features and tools. The system makes it possible to design and customize individual layouts from scratch to showcase the author’s products/services. Along with a worthy selection of advanced tools, the system has a number of issues that may prevent users from choosing it.
Even though, Semplice positions itself as a simple portfolio software, it still takes time, skills and baseline coding awareness to master and use the platform. What’s more, the system is quite expensive for ordinary users. Thus, web developers frequently face the need to switch to a simpler website builder, which will grant access to a powerful feature set to create all types of portfolio projects. This is where Squarespace is definitely worth the attention.
Semplice and Squarespace have much in common yet Squarespace still offers more extensive design customization opportunities, flexibility and powerful functionality. According to the comparison between the platforms, both systems can be a top solution for all those users, who need feature-rich portfolio projects.
Unlike Semplice with its strong portfolio focus, Squarespace is the all-in-one website builder. This means that the sphere of its applications goes far beyond portfolio development. The system can be used to launch all types of web projects, which makes it a more feature-rich web design system.
Squarespace also comes with a large gallery of professional portfolio templates, a set of niche design customization tools, integrated blogging/eCommerce engines, Logo Maker, Unfold App etc. These features make it possible to set up and customize feature-rich portfolios, create impressive show windows, connect blogs and web stores to your projects etc. What’s more, Squarespace includes integrated hosting and affordable pricing. It offers several subscriptions that encompass different tools, services and features to come up to various user requirements. This makes the website builder a worthy alternative to Semplice.
Semplice is a self-hosted portfolio system based on WordPress 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 or Squarespace. What’s more, Semplice is a self-hosted platform that additionally requires WordPress installation and setup as well as domain configuring. This is where WP-optimized hosting from Bluehost may be a reasonable option.