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Society6

15 Geeky Tote Bags For Lugging Around Your Books

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Society6

Ever have too many books to possibly hold under one arm? We know the struggle, and that's why we did some digging to find you some excellent tote bags to hold all your stuff—books or otherwise.

1. STAR WARS; $70

Whether you're with the Rebels or the Empire, this bag has the right patches to match your current alliance. And, should you ever change your allegiance, just flip the bag over to display the correct designs. The twill and faux leather tote has a document pocket on the Imperial side that closes with a magnetic snap. There's also an interior pocket with a zipped pouch for transporting important memory drives across the galaxy.

Find it: ThinkGeek

2. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE; $18

Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak once drew an illustration for a child who was so excited by it, he ate it. We assume you won't bite into this canvas tote bag, but it is still a pretty thrilling design. The double-sided bag features an extended version of the iconic cover printed in vibrant color. And, when you purchase this tote, a book goes to a community in need. 

Find it: Amazon

3. GIANT CAT FACE; $19

Turn heads with this bold statement tote that's shaped like a gigantic cat head. No one can question your love for felines while you're slinging this 23-inch polyester bag with added ears on your shoulder.

Find it: Amazon

4. DINOSAURS; $18

Is there anything more exciting than a parade of dinosaurs? Dustin Harbin researched dinosaurs and other creatures who lived among them for this highly detailed design. Each ancient beast is drawn to a relative scale and gets its own nameplate stating its length. The design later spurred a leporello (a 6.5-foot infographic that folds out), which features over 100 illustrated creatures.

Find it: Society6

5. COMPOSITION NOTEBOOK; $20

Now you can put your writing journals into a bag that looks like a giant composition notebook, sort of like how you put all your grocery bags into another grocery bag for safe keeping. This cotton canvas bag comes with a small inner pocket for things like pens and knickknacks. 

Find it: Amazon

6. POKEMON; $60

This faux leather tote features the four starter Pokemon from the beloved Japanese franchise. Each pocket monster is designed in a traditional sailor tattoo style with flowers, leaves, and banners that say "Gotta Catch 'Em All!" There's even a matching wallet that you can store inside. The 16-inch tall bag has plenty of room for all your potions and Pokeballs.

Find it: ThinkGeek

7. RICK AND MORTY; $20

Need to get something done? Maybe have some books carried with ease? Mr. Meeseeks is here to help with this blue, polyester tote. Just make sure you follow through or you'll have a lot of angry Meeseeks on your hands. 

Find it: Redbubble

8. MOBY-DICK SENTENCE DIAGRAM; $22

Lovers of order and diagrams are definitely a fan of the classic Reed-Kellogg system, which converts sentences into organized trees. This 16-inch wide tote sports the first and last line of Moby-Dick in parsed trees on either side of the bag. 

Find it: Pop Chart Labs

9. UNICORN TAPESTRY; $18

Even a unicorn can be prone to tsundokuThis book-centric tote is based on the famous tapestry "The Unicorn in Captivity." Thankfully, in this version, the unicorn is free and surrounded by books. 

Find it: Society6

10. GUDETAMA; $40

Japan's favorite lazy egg cartoon now comes in bag form. This faux leather tote is 18 inches tall and comes with two little egg arms that hang from the side. The inside is lined with a yellow and white polka dot pattern and has an inner pocket for smaller items. And, it comes with a sunny-side up Gudetama coin purse that closes with a zipper and clips into place.

Find it: ThinkGeek

11. THE LEGEND OF (FOX) ZELDA; $18

What if Link was a fox? It would certainly make running through Kokiri Forest a lot easier. This charming design is featured on both sides of the bag, which comes in three different sizes. 

Find it: Society6

12. BROKEN IMAGE; $30

Sorry—the tote bag image you were looking for is no longer available. This internet savvy design is printed on an American Apparel cotton tote. Hopefully items inside won't become corrupted like the outside. 

Find it: BZA

13. SOLAR SYSTEM; $18

The whole solar system (sorry, Pluto) is lined up on this colorful tote. The vibrantly printed bag is covered on both sides and comes in three sizes. 

Find it: Society6

14. COLLECTION OF CAMERAS; $25

Cameras have undergone a lot of shape and design changes through the years. This collapsible canvas tote shows a variety of camera incarnations, starting with the first Kodak in 1888. The design cuts off before contemporary times, but its matching print shows modern options like the iPhone and GoPro.

Find it: Pop Chart Labs

15. NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS MOVIE; $9

This screenprinted, light-weight tote takes an old expression and modernizes it. We have to agree, there are a lot of great books out there with terrible movie counterparts.

Find it: Etsy

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IA Collaborative
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Design
Lovely Vintage Manuals Show How to Design for the Human Body
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IA Collaborative

If you're designing something for people to hold and use, you probably want to make sure that it will fit a normal human. You don't want to make a cell phone that people can't hold in their hands (mostly) or a vacuum that will have you throwing out your back every time you clean the house. Ergonomics isn't just for your office desk setup; it's for every product you physically touch.

In the mid-1970s, the office of legendary industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss created a series of manuals for designers working on products that involved the human body. And now, the rare Humanscale manuals from Henry Dreyfuss Associates are about to come back into print with the help of a Kickstarter campaign from a contemporary design firm. Using the work of original Henry Dreyfuss Associates designers Niels Diffrient and Alvin R. Tilley, the guides are getting another life with the help of the Chicago-based design consultancy IA Collaborative.

A Humanscale page illustrates human strength statistics.

The three Humanscale Manuals, published between 1974 and 1981 but long out-of-print, covered 18 different types of human-centric design categories, like typical body measurements, how people stand in public spaces, how hand and foot controls should work, and how to design for wheelchair users within legal requirements. In the mid-20th century, the ergonomics expertise of Dreyfuss and his partners was used in the development of landmark products like the modern telephones made by Bell Labs, the Polaroid camera, Honeywell's round thermostat, and the Hoover vacuum.

IA Collaborative is looking to reissue all three Humanscale manuals which you can currently only find in their printed form as historic documents in places like the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York. IA Collaborative's Luke Westra and Nathan Ritter worked with some of the original designers to make the guides widely available again. Their goal was to reprint them at a reasonable price for designers. They're not exactly cheap, but the guides are more than just pretty decor for the office. The 60,000-data-point guides, IA Collaborative points out, "include metrics for every facet of human existence."

The manuals come in the form of booklets with wheels inside the page that you spin to reveal standards for different categories of people (strong, tall, short, able-bodied, men, women, children, etc.). There are three booklets, each with three double-sided pages, one for each category. For instance, Humanscale 1/2/3 covers body measurements, link measurements, seating guide, seat/table guide, wheelchair users, and the handicapped and elderly.

A product image of the pages from Humanscale Manual 1/2/3 stacked in a row.

"All products––from office chairs to medical devices—require designs that 'fit' the end user," according to Luke Westra, IA Collective's engineering director. "Finding the human factors data one needs to achieve these ‘fits' can be extremely challenging as it is often scattered across countless sources," he explains in a press release, "unless you've been lucky enough to get your hands on the Humanscale manuals."

Even setting aside the importance of the information they convey, the manuals are beautiful. Before infographics were all over the web, Henry Dreyfuss Associates were creating a huge compendium of visual data by hand. Whether you ever plan to design a desk chair or not, the manuals are worthy collectors' items.

The Kickstarter campaign runs from July 25 to August 24. The three booklets can be purchased individually ($79) or as a full set ($199).

All images courtesy IA Collaborative

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Theo Rindos
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Design
Graphic Designer Visualizes America's Major Rivers as Subway Routes
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Theo Rindos

Mark Twain spent his early years navigating America's winding waterways, but the steamboat pilot-turned-author was also a fan of modern transportation: He was one of the first passengers to ride the London Underground's longest tube line—the Central Line—when it first opened in 1900. Needless to say, Twain would probably be a fan of the map below, which visualizes U.S. rivers as subway lines.

A map depicting U.S. rivers as subway routes, by graphic designer Theo Rindos
Theo Rindos
 
 
A map depicting U.S. rivers as subway routes, by graphic designer Theo Rindos
Theo Rindos

Created by graphic designer Theo Rindos (and spotted by CityLab), the map is inspired by Harry Beck's original London Tube map from the 1930s. It's based on data culled from the U.S. Geological Survey, Google Maps, and Wikipedia.

"I have always been fascinated by transit maps and river systems, and I thought, 'Why not put them together?'" Rindos tells Mental Floss. Beck's design style "has been kind of a staple for many city transit systems because it's so easy to understand and is so beautiful. The rivers of the United States are complex, and I wanted to see if I could achieve a similar outcome."

The source of each river is denoted with a solid-colored circle. White circles indicate where these waterways converge and split, and neighboring cities and towns are marked as "stations." That said, the map doesn't feature every single U.S. river: It includes ones important to the transportation and shipping sectors, but for aesthetic reasons, Rindos opted to leave out awkwardly shaped rivers and turned smaller ones into bus routes.

You can purchase Rindos' map here, or visit the designer's website to learn more about his work.

[h/t CityLab]

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