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Drive By

Drive By :: George Guest Tilden Wallet

by , March 22, 2013

Top view

George Guest don’t make many products. And the products they do make are not ‘normal’. Hence the appeal…

Many of you will be familiar with their Hillside Backpack, a charmingly slim pack with a big dose of charisma. But this Drive By is all about their Tilden wallet, an engaging solution to your pocket carry.

The Concept

Flat bill and multiple card storage

The Tilden is essentially an inside-out wallet. Your bills go on the inside section, folding flat when shut. Your cards then angle into outside-facing pockets.

This is kinda sweet as bills (which are broad and flat) sit really neatly on the inside, and then cards (which are smaller but thicker) can grow outwards without creating voids.

The Result

Tilden wallet - upright

This is a fun wallet. It sits quite neatly, it grows pretty well, and the construction involves you, teasing your mind with its origami-like folds.

The format won’t suit JPY, GBP or any of the taller currencies, but it’s great for USD, AUD and the like. It can be a touch fiddly when you get more cards in there, and there is more leather than some other concepts, but you really don’t mind much because of the fun interaction it offers.

Angled side view

Going Deeper

But this is Carryology, and so we’re not finishing there. We reached out to co-founder George Keeler, and asked for more juice…

Can you talk through some of the goals/insights you’re shooting for with the wallet construction and layout?

I have always been a fan of minimal card sleeves that keep bulk down and allow for quick access to cards.  The downside is currency needs to be folded twice or carried elsewhere and cards often fall out.  Folding currency twice doubles the bulk and makes it much more time consuming to move bills in and out of your wallet.  The design of the Tilden allows for quick access to cards while allowing for currency to be stored flat.  It has the speed and minimalism of a card sleeve with the security and bill storage of a full-sized wallet.

Tilden wallet - back view

Card pocket

 You say 12+ cards. Do you have an ideal number? We’re digging it for fewer cards so you can still get them in and out easily.

Interior view with folding side

When I show people the best way to organize their cards, I tell them to put the 2-3 cards they use the most in the outside pocket on the side that folds out.  All the other cards that are used less frequently can be loaded up in the other pocket so that when you fold the flap out you can still finger through them (4-6 cards).  The internal slot cut is great for an ID or your most frequently used card.  I use the horizontal internal sleeve for business cards because it protects the edges more than the other pockets, but it fits regular credit cards as well.

 Can you tell us a bit more about the leather and edge finishing? Oiled and burnished?

Tilden wallet - side view

The leather I use is all belting leather that I get from the same supplier as Frank Clegg.  The edges are sanded, moistened, and burnished with a horse-hair brush.  I rub the whole wallet down with leather lotion including the edges, but no oil is used during the burnishing process.

 That’s a pretty serious bit of origami going on…

I piece together a majority of my designs from start to finish mentally before putting anything on paper.  I visualize how I would like the final product to function and then dive into the pattern cutting.  Through trial and error I was able to get the number of patterns from 4 down to 2.  The design evolves a lot during my trial and error process and the fact that I tend to start off with unique concepts means the end result is different than other products on the market.

George Guest Pattern


You’ve skived your leather thinner than many. Are you starting with thinner hides, or working down thick ones?

Side view with card pocket

I start out with thicker hides and split them down after the edges have been polished.  The belting leather used is extremely durable so splitting doesn’t compromise its durability, but significantly reduces bulk.

If there are any interesting bits/protos/insights, please feel free to add them in!

Tilden wallet - front view

I have a few rough photos of different prototypes I took with my phone, but they aren’t exactly post quality.  A few of the first prototypes I produced I carried for upwards of 6 months before making final changes and releasing the current version.

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