Backpacking In Style with Sidgl

                                    About the Designer

I am a 4th generation printer. My great grandfather and grandfather both were printers. My father was a college professor who started a book-arts press at a small college in Colorado. I began my apprenticeship at the age of 12 with him. I learned how to set type and how to print. I learned how to design a book and how to bind books.

More importantly, I learned the language of design. I learned the science of proportion. I learned that something well-designed looks and feels good. It delights the senses. I learned the practical skills to go from idea to finished product with the best practices possible.


                                     From Books to Bags

Design is not simply about the material, it is about the space. How an object fills the gaps of space in the surrounding world.

How does something fit, and how does something create space for other things to fit. For a book, it starts with the white space of a page. Everything falls into proportion around that choice.

I began to design messenger bags because I could not find what I needed. When I thought about what I wanted and how it would look, the first thing I drew was a rectangle.

Like the page of a book, each component is derived from the proportions of that shape. Like the white space on a page, the pockets and compartments of a bag have to be well-designed. Everything has to be so well-designed as to feel transparent. It should just work.

To quote Jan Tschichold:

White space is to be regarded as an active element, not a passive background. And asymmetry is the rhythmic expression of functional design. In addition to being more logical, asymmetry has the advantage that its complete appearance is far more optically effective than symmetry.

                                            The Problem

The Art Bag (our messenger bag) was born out of multiple frustrations.

  1. I wanted to be able to carry my plein air painting supplies easily.
  2. I wanted a messenger bag that didn’t slip.
  3. I wanted a bag that I could travel with easily, that could comfortably take a weekends worth of clothing, and have an accessible pocket for my keys, wallet, etc.
  4. I wanted something I could bike with, go to work with, and go to the gym with, without having separate bags and while looking professional.

Further, the problem that I saw was two-fold: While waiting at a bus-stop in Seattle, I noticed that everyone was carrying a bag. And that the bag was invariable loaded up beyond its capacity. It was either an old backpack or a cheap give-away shoulder bag with a company logo on it. the people carrying the bags were so uncomfortable that they were now treating their bags and the bags of everyone around them as invisible. It was a bus-stop full of non-smiling hunchbacks.

I wanted to solve all of these problems. I wanted to design a bag that was comfortable, that worked in multiple contexts (bike, bus, work, gym, airport) That did not sacrifice a professional design, and in fact was dare I say it — beautiful. I thought it would be nice to take something as ubiquitous as a messenger bag and through its function and its design, make it pretty. I wanted to make something that, if someone saw the bag, say, on a bus, that their eyes and brain would register the proportion and the texture and just have a moment of “aaaaahhh”. A brief moment of design-induced pleasure.


                                   What Does Sidgl Mean

“Sidgl” — or — “Sigil” is a symbol that represents an idea. As a typographer, the word had good meaning to me. It also represented what I saw the company could be.

From the very start, I wanted Sidgl to represent my values — I wanted to say that design could be a revolutionary act. That design can change the world for the better.


  1. We can design durable goods (bags, pants, shirts) that not only look great, and are comfortable, but can also help a person navigate their day more easily.
  2. We can source all of our raw materials within the United States. (Let’s support other businesses).
  3. We can keep all of our manufacturing in the United States.
  4. We can be Sustainable. Sustainable means not only using well-sourced materials, but making things that will last a long time.
  5. We can partner with other small businesses to revitalize manufacturing in the U.S.



How do we do all that? By staying small. Our business model is so simple it can be contained in one word: Enough. We make and sell enough products to pay the bills and to pay living wages. Enough is not about trying to make 30,000 of something or 100,0000 of something. Its about making a thousand or five thousand of something.

Making something that expresses exceptional craftsmanship, attention to detail, and above all — a direct relationship with our customer. You. We want to give you exactly what you want, and by staying small, we can respond to your needs directly.



If you want to contact me directly, my email is


*Shop online here  


Stay Stylish Chicago,