The top 10 birthday gifts for designers

If you're a designer there's little doubt that you'll have been told how difficult you are to buy gifts for! Anyone trying to find a good present for the designer in their life has experienced the same challenge: how to find something that's worthwhile, and meets the stringent criteria someone who works in the design industry would place on something they'd buy for themselves.

Well fear not, as we've carefully trawled through thousands of different birthday present ideas for designers, whether they're male or female, graphic designers, web designers, product designers or interior designers. It's a tricky process, and we have to confess to immediately buying several of these ourselves in the process of curating the list, but we've gathered our top 10 birthday gift ideas for designers below.

We've carefully chosen a range of items that covers the full gamut of cost too, so whether you've got a fiver to spend, or £500, we've got you covered! Check out our favourites below, and let us know in the comments if you've found a good gift for the designer in your life!

01. Industrial Metal Letters

You've got to love these hand-welded industrial letters

Available in a range of sizes and styles, these fantastic hand-welded industrial letters would be just as funky in the office or the home. Different letters can be bought to spell out a particular word, or simply opt for a single initial. If you're really pushing the boat out, they also come in a massive size that will dominate a room!

02. Adjustable Clampersand

The perfect bookend for typography obsessives
  • Price: $48
  • Manufacturer: Tony Ruth/Tim Haley/Core77
  • Available from: Hand-Eye Supply

A brilliant typographical-inspired clamp created as part of Core77's crowd-sourced design approach. This clamp is adjustable, making it perfect for a range of different uses including as a bookend per the illustration. A good choice for any wordsmiths as well as pixel pushers!

03. Magnetic Blackboard Wallpaper

Get creative with this chalkboard wallpaper

If your designer likes to get creative in their environment, this excellent wallpaper makes it easy to create a chalkboard that's also magnetic anywhere you can hang the sheets! Available in a range of different sizes, and made from high quality coated PVC, it's an excellent alternative to the old-fashioned approach of blackboard paint.

04. DIY SLR Camera Kit

What designer wouldn't love this retro camera?
  • Price: £29
  • Manufacturer: Lomography
  • Available from: Lomography

A fantastically retro gift, this build-it-yourself 35mm SLR camera from Lomography offers the option of interchangeable lenses as well as the fun of constructing the camera itself. A fun project that also provides a useful and usable design tool at the end!

05. DSR Chair

A new version of a design classic
  • Price: from £220
  • Manufacturer: Charles & Ray Eames
  • Available from: Design Museum

This chair is a design classic reworked. Based on the original fiberglass design, this reboot is constructed in polypropylene and is available in a range of fabulous colours. There are also a variety of different bases available, but we like the simple lines of this option.

06. Letraset Transfer Sheets

A nostalgic gift that designers of a certain age will love
  • Price: from £2.88/sheet
  • Manufacturer: Letraset
  • Available from: Letraset

If you're older than 35, you probably encountered Letraset transfer sheets as a child. If not, these brilliant inventions allowed letters to be rubbed off onto a sheet of paper using nothing more than a coin. A great hark back to a bygone era, and still very useful and usable! Available in a range of fonts, you're bound to find an option that will work well as a gift.

07. Pantone necklace pendant

This pendant comes in a variety of Pantone colours
  • Price: £24.75
  • Manufacturer: SugarSidewalk
  • Available from: Etsy

Don't overlook the handmade bespoke gift options available through the likes of Etsy. This simple but effective Pantone necklace pendant is made to order and available with a variety of different colour chips, to suit the recipient's preference.

08. Belroy Slim Wallet

Wallets made with a design aesthetic in mind
  • Price: from £39
  • Manufacturer: Belory
  • Available from: Belory

This range is not just for the men, as Belroy also offer a range of slimming pouches for passports and other essential documents. These wallets are designed to reduce the amount of bulk created by carrying around your cards and cash. Made with design sensitivity, they're perfect for someone who cares about the aesthetic of their profile as much as their designs!

09. Sock Subscription

A fresh pair of quirky socks, delivered monthly to your door
  • Price: from $9/month
  • Manufacturer: Foot Cardigan
  • Available from: Foot Cardigan

Lots of designers like to express their creativity in the way they dress, so what better way to pander to this love of things couture than through a subscription to some amazingly quirky socks? The Foot Cardigan service delivers a fresh pair of socks monthly, having successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign (and if you have kids, they've just launched a new campaign for a child-friendly version too!)

10. Cambridge Satchel

The stylish way to carry your laptop about
  • Price: from £99 for an 11-inch satchel
  • Manufacturer: The Cambridge Satchel Company
  • Available from: Paperchase

The Cambridge Satchel company produce a range of lovely designs, optimised for laptops of different sizes, and finished in some very bright colours! The red option shown here is one of the more sedate options, but it's also worth looking out for some of the patterned offerings that come available from time to time!

Words: Sam Hampton-Smith

Have we missed your favourite gift idea for designers? Let us know in the comments below!