Bags of Art & Design

Discover this amazing partnership between Pentagram, Cass'Art and Bags of Ethics

Bags of Art & Design is a new exhibition that sees Pentagram Partners Angus Hyland and Jon Marshall, art supplies retailer Cass Art and bag manufacturer Bags of Ethics collaborate on the redesign of the humble tote bag.

Making its debut at Cromwell Place as part of this year’s London Design Festival, Bags of Art & Design includes 12 unique tote bag designs with bespoke pocket designs and artworks. These will be exhibited alongside prototypes, mock-ups and original artworks.

It also marks the debut of a new special edition Cass Art tote bag which will be available to purchase exclusively at the show for £14.95 and available across selected stores later in the year. The reusable bags have been prototyped and manufactured by Bags of Ethics using responsibly sourced cotton, and are tailor-made by a workforce that’s over 80% female.

On a mission to ‘fill this town with artists’, Cass Art is the UK’s most popular independent supplier of art and design materials. Angus Hyland has a longstanding relationship with the retailer, acting as its creative director, as well as designing its brand identity and best-selling range of own-label art products.

Jon Marshall is an industrial designer who designs everything from Quantum computers to wind-up flashlight kits for child refugees. Sustainability is a core consideration in everything he designs, which is something that’s also at the heart of tote bag manufacturer Bags of Ethics’ business.


“The new bags are an evolution from the very popular series of artist’s colour totes that I first designed for Cass Art nearly twenty years ago,” explains Angus Hyland. “They’re based on the idea of creating specific bags for specific tasks, and are really an extension of the Cass Art retail experience—a wonderfully inspiring cross between a sweet shop and a hardware store.’”

The starting point for each design is an A3 landscape bag, sized to fit a Cass Art drawing pad. The tote bags have multiple pockets in A4, A5, A6 and A7 sizes as well as bespoke-shaped pockets to fit artists’ materials such as brushes, lino rollers, paint tubes or drawing pens. Inspired by the walls in workshops that hold these tools, some of the bags feature screenprinted silhouettes of artists’ tools.

The designs follow the A-series sizing system which is based on the ISO 216 international standard for paper sizes, used all over the world except in North America and parts of Central and South America. Each ISO paper size is one-half of the area of the next larger size in the series, and the paper sizes are all based on a single aspect ratio of the square root of 2 (or approximately 1:1.41421).

Jon Marshall and his team translated the concept into three dimensions, and worked closely with Bags of Ethics to create a product that was both beautiful and useful.

The bags are made from responsibly sourced cotton and printed using sustainable inks in a colour palette that includes shades of blue, shades of grey, orange, and a bright (fluro) yellow. The Cass Art bag features popular artists’ shades Prussian Blue, Cerulean blue, and French Ultramarine.

Smruti Sriram, Chief Executive at Bags of Ethics comments: “It has been a real pleasure to zoom in on what makes the perfect bag for artists. Our production teams in India have worked collaboratively with Pentagram on precise design details, and have given their own advice on repurposing colourful deadstock, whilst positioning the screen print perfectly against the pocket panels. We are also delighted that our longstanding clients at

Cass Art have chosen one of the twelve designs to be available for purchase by customers across selected stores later this year.”

Jon Marshall adds: “With this project, we had the chance to step into Cass Art’s world of pure joy in making. The most successful aspect of the collaboration for me was the harmony we achieved between 3d design, material and form married with graphic design, print, proportion and colour, made possible through the dialogue between my team and Angus and his team as well as the extensive prototyping process with Bags of Ethics”

The exhibition will also feature original artworks on canvas by Angus Hyland, as well as mockups and samples showing the design process for the Tote Bags. A special limited edition newspaper will also be available throughout the exhibition and at selected Cass stores

Mark Cass adds: “It’s great to be able to recognize the last twenty years’ successful partnership between Cass Art and Pentagram, and to celebrate one of our truly iconic Cass Art products. Our totes have been loved and worn with pride for many years, and we’re excited to welcome these beautiful new editions our tote range – expertly constructed by the wonderful Bags of Ethics team. We look forward to ‘filling this town with totes!’ and a huge thank you to all involved.”

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