The best Christmas gifts for graphic designers
Designers can be a tricky bunch to buy Christmas presents for. Phoney fonts and naff products are all too prevalent on the high street, so this festive season let us help you out with some certified high-quality, sure-to-please, designer-approved gift ideas, to suit all tastes and budgets.
Alternatively, if there's a budding designer you need to buy for, take a look at our round-up of the best creative christmas gifts for children (you might just find something in there for yourself too!).
Best Christmas gifts for designers under £20/$25
01. Designer pin badges
Perfect stocking fillers for pin-lovers
Enamel pins are for life, not just for Christmas! This is one bit of flair you'll be proud to wear. In fact, I love pins so much I had to include two... StudioCult based in NYC with their Pantone picking pin, and TwoGirlsCo in Bristol with their Designers Rule measuring pin have both created brilliant visual puns no designer will want to take off.
02. Oh Sh*t What Now? by Craig Oldham
Part book, part educational and motivational slap on the bum
Craig Oldham is not only one of this generations finest designers, he's also one of its sharpest and most vital voices – he writes brilliant books that are both useful and beautiful – no matter what career point you find yourself at. This book from Laurence King books is particularly helpful for the designer trying to figure out what's next, so it might just be the most valuable gift you could give.
03. Koh-I-Noor Clutch pencil set
Almost everlasting and practically indestructible designer pencils
We couldn't resist sneaking this set in, because its an absolute bargain for the use you'll get out of it, and every designer needs a reliable (and virtually everlasting in this case) pencil in their pocket.
Want more art supplies? Don't miss our list of the best pencils available to buy right now.
Best Christmas gifts for designers under £50/$75
04. Posca Black Pen set
The only black pens you'll need next year
Uni POSCA markers are simply the raddest pens out there, their water-based pigment ink is lightfast, water-resistance and writes on virtually any surface without nasty bleed-through. Whether for an amateur doodler or a professional letterer, this set of 7 black pens with nib sizes ranging from 0.7mm to 15mm will be sure to go down well, but beware, they are addictive.
05. Design Dice
Take a roll of the dice on this genius design aid
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign you can now order these smart designdice, which are the brainchild of Andy Neal. Give them a shake when you’re unsure where to start, are stuck and need a change in direction, or want to take a sideways leap in your thinking. They sadly can't do all your work for you, but they're basically the next best thing.
06. The Process is the Inspiration by House Industries
Finally, a House you can actually afford
Almost a year ago House Industries co-founder (and one of the nicest guys in design) Rich Roat suddenly passed away. This fantastic book is a testament to the incredible company he, Andy Cruz and Ken Barber have created, and delves right into their process and portfolio. It is a beautiful piece of print you will probably want to order a couple of – one to keep and the other to give away.
Best Christmas gifts for designers under £100/$125
07. Computer Arts magazine
Give the perfect gift this Christmas for less
Our sister magazine Computer Arts offers insight and inspiration for the global design community. And it's not just for Christmas either – buy your designer friend a subscription and they'll get a new issue through their door every month.
Every copy includes in-depth analysis of trends, working practices and business issues, incisive opinions from the design world’s thought leaders, an inspiring roundup of the very best new work from the global design community, profiles of influential agencies, and behind the scenes access to cutting-edge design briefs. Plus, there are some ridiculous offers on this holiday season, so now's the time to buy!
08. Made by Folk Prints
Heavyweight prints from heavyweight creatives
Earlier this year Formfiftyfive did a little pivot and became Made By Folk, with a focus on offering more beautiful prints and products. This typographic treat from lettering maestro Loz Ives (aka IdleLetters) is a limited edition Giclée Print that would look right at home on a wall in any studio, office or den, and is a mantra every creative will relate to.
09. Audible 12 book Annual Membership
Audiobooks are awesome and Audible has the lot.
Design can be a lonely profession at times – long hours spent staring at the screen or travelling – and sometimes you need more than a radio station, playlist or podcast for company. Audiobooks can let you travel the world, encounter new people and expand your mind without leaving your seat, and for around the price of a burger per book, this is a great value gift that will last well beyond Christmas day.
10. Stack Magazine subscription
A magazine-shaped surprise delivered every month
Another gift that keeps on giving, Stack is a curated magazine subscription service which has been delivering the best of independent publishing to doors every month for over a decade. You'll discover all kinds of weird and wonderful things throughout the year, and each time one lands on your doormat it's like a little mini Christmas all over again.
11. Misc Goods Ceramic Flash
Don't drink and design!
Tyler Deeb creates unique and beautifully designed miscellaneous goods, or as he puts it, "products with practical purpose – keepsakes which are set apart" manufactured in America and shipped around the world. From leather wallets to playing cards, hip flasks to deodorants – these are some of the most desirable goods money can buy.
12. Unit Editions Designers Republic A-Z
An A-Z of the influential studio The Designers Republic
It's almost impossible to put together a gift-list and not include a Unit Edition, the incredible design-publishing company founded by living legends Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook. Their latest offering, still fundraising on Kickstarter at time of writing, is sure to be on every designers wish-list. Finally we get a book about the influential Sheffield studio The Designers Republic.
Best Christmas gifts for designers over £100/$125
13. Field Notes Desk Kit
The only little notebooks you will ever need
Field Notes, co-founded by Aaron Draplin & Jim Coudal, probably needs no introduction... these useful little notebooks have become the industry standard, and no designers pocket is truly complete without one. This Desk Kit includes a planner, 10 notebooks of various sorts for all your doodling and designing needs, a leather cover and pen – and it rules.
14. Jackery Laptop Powerpack
A powerful solution for designers on the move
There's little more infuriating for the train-travelling coffee-shop-hopping designer of today than running out of battery mid-work. This travel-friendly power pack will give your laptop the boost it needs to get you through the day, and with 3 USB outputs, you can also charge your phone/tablet at the same time.
15. IKEA Electronic Standing desk
Desks don't have to be boring, or stupidly expensive.
We all know hunching over our work is doing terrible things to our bodies, so with a bit of Swedish help you can now set your skeleton free for a reasonable price with a standing desk from Ikea. This smart bit of kit transforms easily (and electronically) from a standing to sitting position, meaning you can keep things flexible – in more ways than one.
16. Apple iPad Pro
If you really want to make someone's year, look no further!
Another staple of the wish-list, Apple continue to produce industry leading gear and the new iPad Pro line is hard to ignore – liquid retina display, intuitive gestures, 'all-screen' design, face ID, a super-duper 'bionic' brain (well, chip) and lots of other fancy features... With the news that Adobe apps are finally coming to the tablet in 2019 and the new Apple Pencil actually charges in a sensible way, this might be the time to sell that hardly used kidney and make someone very happy indeed.
17. Bellroy Slim Backpack
Help designers carry their accessories in style this Christmas
Give the designer in your life some style this Christmas with this gorgeous Slim Backpack from Bellroy. The elegant design holds laptops up to 15 inches and has extra compartments for water bottles and chargers. There's also a handy discreet zipped pocket on the side for safe storage and easy access to your phone or pocket-sized notebook.
18. Classic Timor Calendar
Finally, a calendar you won't want to hide away
The classic Timor Perpetual Desk Calendar designed in 1967 by Enzo Mari has remained in production by Danese Milano ever since. This desk accessory will not only look great but more importantly help keep the designer in your life on schedule and hitting deadlines.