Web designers are known for applying their design eye to every product they own, so they can be tricky to buy for at Christmas – and at other points in the year. But don’t worry, we won’t let you go wrong. The gifts below are a selection of useful tools, books, amusements and other things made by brands that are well-loved by designers for their attention to detail and stylish, practical products.
We've organised our gift guide into different price bands, too, so there's a gift to suit your budget and the recipient's tastes. If you're buying for a few different creatives, fear not. We also have gift guides for graphic designers, illustrators, design students and even creative kids.
Best gifts for web designers under £20/$25
Power users are often dissatisfied with the charging cables that come with Apple devices because they start to break after a while and are expensive to replace. This ultra-strong reinforced one from Native Union is much more suitable for someone who pushes cables to their limits: it's 4 feet long and claims to be six times stronger than standard Lightning cables. It has a cool print design, a luxurious leather strap to stop it from tangling, and even comes with a lifetime warranty.
This may seem excessive, but bear with us. No-one likes a dirty keyboard, and cleaning the crumbs out of the little gaps between your keys requires a dedicated tool. Help your developer friend keep their workspace hygienic with this handy little jointed brush. It has two rows of bristles of different lengths for removing debris from every crevice of your laptop, and it's made from oiled beech wood and goat/horse hair.
Did you see the video of the racist soap dispenser? If not and you don't want to click, it's an automatic soap dispenser that only works for white people; a darker skin tone gets no soap. This book is essentially about that: the processes, biases and assumptions that lead to digital products that fail us in horrible, cringeworthy ways. Anyone who designs products will benefit from reading it.
The design world is full of aphorisms such as 'there are no new ideas', 'rules are there to be broken' and so on, which are often assimilated into the minds of young designers without question. In this fascinating and entertaining read, multi-award-winning design director Craig Ward dissects each of these mantras in turn and gives many of them a good debunking. The result is a handbook that will make any designer wiser about how they approach their craft.
Best gifts for web designers under £50/$75
This portable wooden stand gives you the ergonomic layout of a desktop setup wherever you go. If you're only working for a few hours a day you might get away with putting your laptop on a desk, but having to look down for long periods will start to hurt eventually and cause neck and back problems. This stand allows you to put your laptop at eye level for a healthy sitting position.
- Price: $54.95 (around £41.50)
Many web designers like to sketch their ideas on paper first, and if your loved one is a big user of notebooks then this set will go down well. Field Notes is a brand loved by designers because so much thought has been put into every element of the product, from the choice of paper and typography to the dimensions and rounded corners. This set has four different types of notebook and a set of carpenter pencils.
Tabletop board games are a favourite among web designers and developers, so this could be the ideal gift that doubles as something fun for everyone to do over Christmas. We asked the people at board game cafe Chance & Counters what they would pick for a web geek and they recommended The Networks. "It's so good," said Steve Cownie. "You play as upstart TV networks, trying to amass the most viewers over five seasons. It's a solid combination of silliness and strategy, with lots of funny parodies and pop culture nods throughout."
Best gifts for web designers under £100/$125
Let the web designer in your life back up their data in style with this fantastically retro external drive, lovingly crafted from an original SNES Street Fighter II game cartridge. Inside there's a 1TB hard disk (or 2TB if you go for the pricier option), which is more than enough for them to safely store all of their important stuff, and its USB 3.0 connection means everything gets transferred nice and quickly. Other games such as Zelda or Super Mario World are also available.
This stylish leather case has a clever design element: it holds your phone tightly and is lined with felt so that the screen gets a polish every time you use it. It's the right size for an iPhone X, but you can do a custom order to get other dimensions.
Best gifts for web designers over £100/$125
If the web designer in your life is a freelancer, a decent set of headphones is a must for getting work done in cafes or coworking spaces. These ones aren't a new model, but T3 still ranks them at the top of its list for wired, over-ear headphones because they have yet to be outdone in terms of comfort, sound quality and style.
The double-hinged headband makes them highly portable, the ear cushions are soft and comfortable so you can wear them for hours, and they sound fantastic. Noise cancelling headphones are another option, but you’ll have to go into a higher price bracket for those.
A hybrid smartwatch is a way to get a fitness and sleep tracker that looks like a normal watch, and the Nokia Steel strikes a great balance between functionality, style, battery life and budget. It tracks walking, running, swimming, calories burned and distance, as well as providing sleep cycle analysis. The battery lasts up to eight months and it looks good enough to wear all day, even with a formal outfit.