Let’s be honest with each other, designers can be a fussy bunch. I am sorry, but it has to be said. Although, I am not actually saying that being fussy is an altogether bad thing, I mean when it comes to creativity that very fussiness is what makes their work great. We all know that. But it also makes them very hard to please, especially when it comes to buying them gifts.
In my attempt to find the perfect gift for a designer friend, I reached out to many of the creative folks here at Envato and asked them for some gift ideas. Their recommendations were fantastic.
So, I have taken all of their ideas and suggestions and created this post for you lot that have to regularly buy gifts for designers and have no idea what to get them.
These prototype clocks should be seen as a limited edition art piece than a consumer-grade alarm clock. Ferrolic uses ferrofluid – a liquid that becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field, to display the time in digital format.
I was in love with these paper trophy idea the very first time I saw them. I do believe they are a bit pricey, but if money is not a factor this might be a gift they will remember for years to come.
DC Super Heroes Pop Up Book
If your friend is a big fan of DC Super Heroes, you can stop reading now and get this DC Super Heroes Pop Up Book by Matthew Reinhart. Trust me, you really don’t need to look at the rest.
CMYK Playing Cards
Now who wouldn’t like a bit of healthy gambling with friends once in a while, these CMYK Playing Cards are perfect for that. The idea behind this project is very simple they swapped out the suits for colours of ink used in printed media (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) and the numbers on each card for a percentage of ink on the surface.
Popup Lighting these brilliantly simple, yet elegant, light fixtures will enhance the ambience of any room with an air of mystery. According to the designer, the inspiration for this comes from popup books. Please be warned, they are quite an expensive gift.
SwatchMate is a small, portable cube device that captures the colour of any surface. Using Bluetooth, it then sends the colour data to a smartphone or even to Photoshop. With this little gadget, designers can use colour inspiration from everyday objects and transfer it to their projects.
With the Leap Motion Controller, you’re the instrument! Working a little bit like the Kinect (but for Macs and Windows PCs), it senses the natural movement of your hands, allowing you to control your computer screen in a highly original and creative way.
Perhaps not that great for real productive stuff, but it does look a lot of fun.
Designers simply love their Evernote Notebooks by Moleskine. It apparently uses specially patterned lines that allows the Evernote software to recognize and capture your writing or drawings from the page. It would make a great gift for those designers that like to sketch on the go. Our CEO loves em and that is good enough for me.
Moleskine partnered with Livescribe to offer a new notebook that can transfer your pen-and-ink scribbles to your digital device in real time via the Livescribe+ companion app. This could be a great gift for anyone who likes to have a digital copy of their notes.
Just like the Evernote Notebooks above, creatives are also obsessed with Field Notes. Mind you, any notebook with the tagline of, “big enough to accommodate ideas from both sides of your brain”, certainly warrants attention.
This one is pretty straightforward. You can order M&M’s with a custom and personalized message, or even a photo for that matter. And the thing is, and trust me about this, ALL designers love M&Ms!
United Pixelworkers Home Town Tees
I can guarantee that your designer friends will already have a huge collection of custom t-shirts. They all do.
If your designer friends incorporate wireframe sketching into their design process, then they will love the Stencil Kit series from UI Stencils, which includes stencils for both web and mobile app design (iPhone and Android).
Does you designer friend use cable-ties to make sure their cables don’t run all over the place. Probably not. It’s about time they did though. Say hello to Leaf Tie, an elegant spaghetti-cable solution.
Stress Buster Desktop Punching Ball
After meeting with a client, the chances are your creative friends will be needing the Stress Buster Desktop Punching Ball. I am not going to say that all clients are from hell, just a few too many of them.
Pencils and Pens
Designers can never have enough pens and pencils and this high quality set from Palomino has been highly recommended to me. If you are after a mechanical pencil set, then perhaps the Staedtler graphite 925 might be a good choice as well.
Muji products offers simplicity achieved through a complexity of thought and design’. Perfect. Designers are going to love this a gift.
Thanks to Catherine Hills for this tip.
Speedball Oblique Pen Nib Holder
Any calligrapher friends? If so then this combination of the Speedball Oblique Pen Nib Holder with the Brause 361 would be a great gift for them. In the hands of someone with enough skill these pens can create the same kind of magic you can seen in the above GIF.
Die Gestalten Books
Chances are your designer friend’s bookshelf is already stacked full of Die Gestalten’s books, if not you get to be the hip friend who does get them one.
MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer
The MakerBot Replicator is a full-featured consumer 3D printer. With this gizmo you can 3D print whatever you want all from the comfort of your own home. Every designer would want one of these. Heck, I wouldn’t mind one myself.
The Cloud is an interactive lamp and speaker system that has been designed to mimic a thundercloud, and using motion sensors detects a user’s presence and creates a unique lightning and thunder show dictated by their movement.
This is quite possibly the coolest gift ever. Although the price is more than likely going to be in the “never going to happen” category – designers can dream though.
Hopefully I have given you a few gift ideas for your designer friends.
I’m also sure you folks will have your own gift ideas as well, I would love to hear about them in the comments below.
This post was originally published in 2014.