The web designers' gift guide 2012

As is traditional, we have asked top designers to recommend some beautiful Christmas gifts for the geek in your life.

Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? If not, never fear, because we have asked some of the web industry's finest to use their creative minds to suggest some interesting objects you might like to buy for your favourite geek.

Below you'll find algorithmic jewellery, super hero clothes, wall art, sketchpads, reading material and all manner of handy gadgets. And of course, there's a cat calendar.

If you're still stuck after all that, you could take a look at last year's gift guide which contains further 50 suggestions.

Here's this year's presents, in no particular order:

Brian Suda

Iceland-based Brian Suda is a software developer, master informatician and author of A Practical Guide to Designing with Data.

As well as design, his passions include Microformats, XHTML and PHP.

Here are Brian's top picks for Christmas presents:

Little Printer

Pre-order now

"The line between digital and physical has always been blurring. BERG's Little Printer is the next step in that process. The first printer I've wanted to keep on the night stand, little printer is a physical embodiment of my day's tasks, news and entertainment. Its beautiful design and thoughtful attitude make it an excellent holiday gift."

Makeshift magazine subscription

Buy now

"A magazine about making stuff and getting by in unexpected ways. It's only three issues in, so the collector in me has gotten in on the ground floor with this superbly curated magazine. A beautiful stocking stuffer for your next leisurely day kicking back, reading and learning something new."

Nervous System

Buy now

"The ability to create designs and actually print your 3D models has never really been possible at a consumer scale until recently. Nervous System allows you to customise jewellery for that special someone, and encoded within it are additional meanings. Deterministic and algorithmic designs are all the rage right now."

Laura Kalbag

Laura is a freelance designer based in Surrey, UK. She is particularly excited by mobile design and development, semantic web, web fonts and design theory.

You're probably familiar with her work - she created the websites for the 'Future of...' conferences.

Powergen Mobile Juice Pack

Buy now

"The Powergen Juice Pack is indispensable for the power-tweeter. I use it with my iPhone, iPad and even to charge my wireless mouse when I'm away from home. It comes in most useful when I'm tweeting all day from a conference as I inevitably run out of battery around lunchtime and there's rarely enough plug sockets to go around. It charges up to full power from USB in less than an hour and can recover two iPhones from dead to 100% battery on just one charge."

Logitech Performance Mouse MX

Buy now

"Repetitive strain injury is a real pain and I've found that using an ergonomic mouse minimises the hand and wrist cramp I get when working on particularly fiddly design work. The Logitech Performance Mouse MX is great for creating graphics as it has a scroll wheel that lets you switch between hyper-fast or more precise scrolling, and can also be nudged from side-to-side for sideways scrolling on wide documents."

Fitbit One Wireless Tracker and Aria Wi-Fi Scale

£49.99, £99.99
Buy now

"The Fitbit trackers are beautiful little gadgets giving you the motivation to get up from your desk and move more. They'll satisfy any statistics addicts with endless data about their steps, floors and sleep patterns via the Fitbit web app.

The Aria scale is an elegant object in your bathroom. It works with your Fitbit and syncs wirelessly to the web app through Wi-Fi giving you an easy way to keep track of your weight.

Fitbit also has APIs allowing developers to make cool apps or create different ways to track data."

Brendan Dawes

Brendan is a digital artist exploring the interaction of objects, people, technology and art.

He owns a Makerbot and likes to build things by combining digital and analogue objects.

Here's what he thinks you should get for Christmas:

Belkin Cushtop

Buy now

"I came across this only recently when I was speaking at the same conference as the designers, Mike and Maaike. They design some wonderful things and when I saw this lovely modern looking "cushion" designed for your laptop I bought one for my wife as soon as I got back from the trip. She uses her Macbook Air whilst sat on the sofa and with the Cushtop it's always at the perfect comfortable angle, plus it stops her lap getting hot. Now I think I want one too."

Olfa Magne Touch Knife

Buy now

"This is one of my most used products. When you need a blade to open that parcel, that DVD or anything else that requires cutting, I just reach for this little – but very sharp – cutter from Olfa. It's beautifully designed too - as you slide the blade out of its shell the little slider tightens by way of a small piece of ramped plastic at the end of the travel. No complicated locking mechanism, just pure wonderful simplicity."


Buy now

"It's Lego for electronics. Combine discreet electronic circuits, simply using magnets – no soldering – and you can create small, fun interactive circuits. Easily one of the best things ever, great not just for kids but for grown-ups too!"

Keir Whitaker

Keir is co-founder of Viewport Industries, which makes products for web professionals, including the Insites book of interviews.

Keir lives in Bath, UK, and loves coffee, cocktails and slow media.

Herb Lester maps

Buy now

"Herb Lester produce an ever-expanding range of beautifully designed pocket maps. Thankfully these are not your average kind of map. Want to know the best place to get a coffee in Brooklyn or perhaps an interesting place to work in for the day whilst visiting London? If the answer is yes then there are for you. At £4 each you can afford to splash out a little. Herb Lester also produce a lovely array of cards and stationery."

Muji Bag in Bag

£12.95 - £14.95
Buy now

"I have been using an early version of the Muji bag-in-bag for sometime now. As well as giving you an extra layer of laptop security it also allows you to keep your pens, notebooks and other accessories neatly filed away. These newer versions also come equipped with handles for further flexibility. It comes in two sizes and is suitable for tablets and laptops. Prices range from £12.95 - £14.95."

The $100 Startup

Buy now

"Chris Guillebeau's latest book is one of the best business books I have read in a long time. This is not the tale of long nights coding, eating ramen and selling for a billion dollars. Rather it comprises inspiring stories from people who, for many different reasons, found themselves starting out their own solo, or very small, businesses. From someone selling mattresses after being made redundant to a passionate coffee shop owner the book serves to highlight how paying our bills by running our own ventures is one definition of success we can all achieve."

Jonathan Smiley

Jonathan is Partner and Design lead at ZURB, and is the man behind the responsive framework Foundation.

He loves sci-fi, games and front-end code, and is a self-confessed nerd, as you may be able to tell from his gift selections:

Cosmonaut by Studio Neat

Buy now

"If you like to sketch on your tablet like I do, you'll probably love this wide-grip stylus. It feels more like using a white board marker or a big sharpie, but you can still do pretty fine work with it using the right software (I recommend Noteshelf for iPad). I much prefer it to the small, golf-pencil styluses you usually find."

Mamaroo by 4moms

Buy now

"Okay, this one is pretty situational, but I just had a daughter and as a designer I really appreciated this nifty little rocker. It's well packaged, super easy to assemble and clean, and the way it works is just pretty damn clever. Bonus: my daughter seems to really like it, especially once we loaded an old iPod with baby music and plugged it into the base to play through the built in speakers."

Custom Sweatshirts by Volante Design

Buy now

"I just received my first order from this small-time, custom clothier and it was worth the wait (and every penny). You have to be a nerd to appreciate his work, and the ordering process is frankly pretty sketch, but the results are amazing."

Phil Coffman

Phil is the founder of Method & Craft, a website that explores behind the scenes of great design, and he is Creative director and Principal at full service agency Element.

He's also a husband, a father and a prolific photographer.

Apple TV

Buy now

"This is one of my favorite devices from Apple. Sure, the content offerings such as Netflix is great, and the ability to AirPlay from your iOS devices or Mac is simply amazing. We use one all the time in the office while presenting to clients."

Skala Preview & Skala View

Buy now

"These two apps, paired together, are the backbone of my mobile app design process. While running Skala Preview on my Mac, I am able to stream my active Photoshop comp directly to my iOS devices and get updates in real-time. That kind of immediate feedback without having to save an image and sync with my iOS devices is easily worth the cost."

Dot Grid Book

Buy now

"Super handy book for sketching UI elements, icons, rough site or app layouts etc. The grid is minimal enough as not to distract, but helps you establish margins and consistent sizes with your elements while sketching."

Dan Mall

Dan has worked as a designer at Happy Cog and Big Spaceship, and this year he founded his own venture, SuperFriendly.

He also co-founded Typedia, he's a husband, a father and he plays keyboards for @four24.

Dan's gift choices reflect his passion for good design:

Qlocktwo Touch

From $599
Buy now

"All good designers need to know how to manage time. The Qlocktwo Touch gives us the approximate time in the most stylish way possible."

CyberPower Uninterrupted Power Supply

Buy now

"With all of our electronic gadgets, it's silly to lose valuable work due to power outages. This is a great product for making sure we can keep working even if the power isn't."

Black Leakage

Buy now

"Good wall art is tough to come by. Swedish designer Rob Lindstrm gives us a great option."

Shane Mielke

Shane is a designer, developer, photographer, husband, father and Cyberdyne Systems Model 101. He has designed, developed or animated six Adobe sites of the Day, 27 FWA Sites of the Day, and two FWA Sites of the Month.

He's an active, sporty chap and this is reflected in this year's gift choices:

Nike Fuel Band

Buy now

"The perfect gift for all of those sedentary designers stuck behind a desk pushing pixels all day that need motivation to get outside. Fellow fitness freaks like me will enjoy competing against friends for the best Fuel Score of the week. Turn every day into a game. Challenge yourself to capture records, reach new milestones, and unlock special achievements."

Oakley Airwave™

Buy now

"You don’t need to be an alpine enthusiast to want these amazing goggles with a built-in heads up display that integrates GPS, maps, music playlist control, buddy tracking and Smartphone connectivity to view your text messages and caller id. Onboard sensors give you instant access to performance analytics that show max speed, distance, height and airtime of your jumps."

Anna Debenham

Anna is a freelance front-end developer living in Brighton, UK. She runs Scrunchup, a resource for young web designers and developers, she campaigns to keep ICT on the National Curriculum in the England and she also runs code workshops in schools.

She's currently interested in game console browsers.


Buy now

"A cosy pair of slippers is essential for anyone who works from home. Or anyone who wants toasty feet in the office. Wool-lined slipper boots are the best kind of slipper."

Wii U

Buy now

"The Wii U is new a game console from Nintendo that has a lot of really interesting browser features. Considering devices like this while designing and building websites is important. I imagine it's quite fun to play games on too."

Chupa Chups Wheel

Buy now

"Because who wouldn't want 200 lollipops?"

Jenn Lukas

Jenn is a front-end developer with a passion for coffee, cats and semantic markup. She is Interactive Development Director at Happy Cog.

Jenn teaches classes for Girl Develop It, which teaches young women how to code, and she writes for The Nerdary. She's also a monthly contributor to .net.

Birthday Street, Volume 1

Buy now

"For the comic book lover on your list, give the gift of funny, occasionally raunchy, printed laughter in drawing form. The book version of the website created by Kevin Cornell, Matt Sutter and Peter Dalkner, is sure to bring smiles as each artist continues a theme from the previous story before them."

The Manual

Buy now

"Published by Andy McMillan,The Manual is a printed journal that looks at the web design profession through six different stories and lessons from our industry. Printed three times a year, this hardbound illustrated book has come upon its first year and now has three offerings. While each is a beautiful gift on its own, at this year's Build conference in Belfast, Andy announced that they'd be released as a gorgeous box set in time for the holidays."

Lil BUB Calendar

Buy now

"Lil BUB is just about the cutest cat on the internet. She'll turn even die-hard dog over cat fans into cat-meme believers! Why restrict our BUB viewing to the computer and phone? Ring in the new year with the 2013 Lil BUB calendar!"

Thanks to all our contributors: Brian Suda, Laura Kalbag, Brendan Dawes, Keir Whitaker, Jonathan Smiley, Phil Coffman, Dan Mall, Shane Mielke, Anna Debenham and Jenn Lukas.

Please share your best gift ideas with us in the comments.

You know what else make good last minute gifts? Magazine subscriptions! Head over here to get 35% off a subscription to .net.