The 2014 designer holiday gift guide

Maya Lekach

Still stumped on what to get your design-loving friends and family this holiday season? 99designs is here to help with our annual designer gift guide!

Whether you’re looking to pamper your loved ones with a heartfelt present (or hoping to be pampered yourself), here are 26 irresistible designer gifts that are perfect for the holidays.

Gadgets n’ things

Wacom Inkling

inkling

Once again, one of the most innovative tools for a designer comes from Wacom. Using the Wacom stylus pen and the Wacom scanner, which you can attach to any kind of paper, you can turn your handmade (literally) pen-on-paper drawings into vector files quickly and painlessly. You can even create layers while drawing!

For more info, check out tutorials and videos here. Designing could be getting a whole lot more sketchy.

$70 at wacom.eu

Moleskine Smart Notebook, Creative Cloud Connected

MoleskinePaper

Similar to the Wacom Inkling, this product comes with its own notebook. Instead of attaching a device to paper of your own, this Moleskine (one of the most popular and iconic notebooks of the last century), comes readymade for you to create and capture.

With an accompanying mobile app from Adobe, you can quickly snap a shot of your creation and have it instantly vectorized on your computer – ready to be tweaked and perfected, printed, sent off, and used for a multitude of designs.

While it’s not yet available, you can pre-order the Notebook now.

Preorder for $32.50 at moleskine.com

Wacom Intuous Pen & Tablet

WacomTab

This is one of the first and foremost tech tools for a designer. When graphic design moved from sketchbooks and layout boards to the computer, one of the toughest drawbacks was the need for a computer mouse.

With the Wacom tablet, you’re back to having a pen in hand. Needless to say, it feels darn good. A must-have for designers and computer artists of all sorts.

From $79-$379 at wacom.com

Dart Laptop Charger

Dart

What started as a project at MIT is now a full on start-up, created what is hailed as the world’s smallest laptop charger, Dart will make the days of lugging around tons of cords and power boxes to your favorite coffee shop and home again.

Four times smaller and 6 times lighter than your average computer charger, Dart can also charge your phone at the same time. Perfect for a savvy designer on the go.

It’s important to note that while Dart is currently available to PC users in a variety of sleek colors, Mac chargers are still in Beta.

Add yourself to the waitlist at finsix.com

MyType Keyboard

MyType

Office and creative mobility is the name of the game this year. So meet the MyType keyboard, a BlueTooth-powered, pocket-sized keyboard that folds out into a standard desktop keyboard.

Pop it out whenever you need to send emails, code and on-the-go copy directly to your Smart Phone! Its great to always be prepared.

$70 at mytypekeyboard.com

Extra Long Charging Cord

LightningCable

Ever struggled with a far-away electrical socket that leaves you dancing around the room while attempting to charge your device?

Well, worry no more. This extra-long charger is a Mac-approved, ultra-simple solution. Compare that with trying to add a new outlet to your wall or hunting one down in a packed cafe and you’ll be breathing nice and easy.

$40 at thenextweb.com

Health and Sleep Tracker

iHealth

Working from home or coffee shop can often make it tough to maintain a regular schedule and healthy habits. Before you spend 3 sleepless nights in front of your computer busting out a project, get this health and sleep tracker as a wearable reminder that you’re more than clicks and scrolls. And you need sleep and physical activity too!

$40 – $70 at thenextweb.com

Desktop 3D printer

MAkerbot3d

To say that 3D printing is all the rage these days would be an understatement. What was once a sci-fi fantasy can now be yours for a (semi)-affordable price. This device is meant to be easy to use and links up with CAD software. Perfect for those with deep pockets or deep dreams who want to take creativity to another dimension.

$2000 via Makerbot

DrawType Keyboard

DrawType2

 

For those who prefer to draw instead of write. Texting just got a lot more exciting!

$0.99 via iTunes

Creative Cloud Membership

CreativeCloud

The ultimate gift for a designer. Give them the gift they’ll never forget and they (and their career) will be thanking you for years to come.

$600 per year; $75 per month via adobe.com

Books

Designing Here/Now by Allan Chochinov and Eric Ludlum

designing-here-now

With the subtitle “A global selection of objects, concepts and spaces for the future”, you can be sure that this book from Core 77 is on the cutting edge of every variety of design. The large 500-page volume comprises a variety of award-winning designs from 2014.

Entries range from equipment to consumer products, packaging to transportation. Some are directly related to the day-to-day of work graphic designers, while others are simply awe-inspiring to look at – much like the actual book itself. Perfect for your coffee table.

$30 via handeyesupply.com

The River by Alessandro Sanna

TheRiver

This beautifully illustrated children’s book is great for your kids, but also ideal inspiration for those illustration projects you have in the pipeline.

$18 via amazon.com

50 Years of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegan & Caroline Roberts

50yearsillustration

It’s no doubt that illustration is one of the most stunning visual techniques available to designers. With uses ranging from artwork to poster design, the medium has seen quite a history over the past 50 years, collected here in one stunning volume.

$40 via laurenceking.com

The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe

WhimsicalLettering

For a craftier take on typography, follow the instructions and tips from this author and you’ll be thinking of typography as more play than work in no time. Also a great way to get others involved in this kind of work!

$20 via amazon.com

Make Your Own Luck: A DIY Attitude to Graphic Design and Illustration by Kate Moross

MakeYourOwnLuck

If only you could give luck itself… This book encourages designers to find and make their own success. So while luck can’t be rung up at the cash register, you can still help others discover the key to success.

$25 via amazon.com

Thoughts on Design by Paul Rand

PaulRand

This is one of the most seminal books in graphic design written by one of the most prolific, legendary and famous designers of all time: Paul Rand. Reprinted for the first time since the 1970s and a great deal in paperback. It’s always time to learn from the greats.

$15 paperback; $10 Kindle via amazon.com

40 Days of Dating: An Experiment by Jessica Walsh

40DaysBook

This online illustrated story went viral thanks to its forward-thinking story and ultra-modern medium: a daily updated and superbly designed website with daily illustrations from big-name designers like Paula Scher and Stefan Sagmeiser. The compelling story was written – and lived-out – by two graphic designers: Jessica Walsh (collaborator with Stefan Sagmeister) and Tony Goodman, both NYC-based.

Now it’s available, in all of its visual and narrative glory, in book form and sure to be just as enjoyable on the printed page. This way, you can tell all of your friends that you knew about it before it became a big Hollywood movie.

If you’d prefer to save this story in its more artistic form, you can also purchase prints from each of the day’s design works on the website for roughly $35 each.

$20 via amazon.com

Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists by Danielle Krysa

CreativeBlock

Creative block is one of those pesky realities embedded in the life of any creative. Learn how graphic designers and some of the world’s artistic greats managed to get over creative block just fine. From the creator of The Jealous Curator.

$20 via amazon.com

The Best American Infographics 2014 by Gareth Cook

InfoG2014

Don’t let the illustrations have all the fun! The debate of art versus information ends now with the infographic. These beauties prove that it does not have to be mutually exclusive.

$12.50 via amazon.com

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon – $8

ShowYourWork

The creation is only half the battle and this book will help you get started on some of the most crucial parts of being a designer. Self-promotion can often be hard, especially for those who are more used to being behind a computer screen. Kleon gives you tips for doing this often schmaltzy yet necessary task while maintaining some of that humble pie.

$8 via amazon.com

Criterion Designs by The Criterion Collection – $79

Criterion

Criterion supports not only great film, but also great design, by re-releasing films for their collection since 1984 and commissioning fresh artwork for each film at the same time. Now you can see all of these works in one beautiful compendium.

$79 via amazon.com

Educational gifts

Lynda.com Access

Lynda

There is nothing quite like the gift of learning. With classes ranging from photography to design to web design and 3D animation, you can gift new skills that will benefit your designer for both work and pleasure. Great for beginners and experts alike.

$25 – $300 via lynda.com

Tuts+ subscription – $15-360

tuts

Tuts+ offers comprehensive tutorials, with dozens of new courses added monthly. Whether you want to master illustration and web design or branch out into DIY crafts and take a few business classes, this site is a leading resource for online education. Try it out now with one of their free courses.

$15 – $360 via tutsplus.com

Thoughtful treats

Mast Chocolates – $40-44 for 5 bars

MastChocolates

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 12.28.20 PM

Let’s be real. Just about everybody loves chocolate. But when it comes to buying gifts for a designer, standard wrapping just won’t do. These ultra dark and organic blends come from a variety of Southern America cacao beans and are created in Brooklyn using traditional and time-approved techniques.

Their goal is to show that chocolate is not just a candy, and their ultra-grown up wrapping conveys this. The designs are created in house by the Mast Brothers’ family and friends and make these wrappers ones that are too pretty to rip.

$40 – $44 for 5 bars via mastbrothers.com

CMYK puzzle – $65

CMYKpuzzle

Puzzles are one of life’s mysteries in that they manage to be simultaneously soothing and incredibly frustrating. With this 1,000 piece puzzle from the Lamington Drive Gallery in Melbourne, a designer will have a serious boost on their friends with their intimate knowledge of the depths of the CMYK field of colors.

$65 via lamingtondrive.com

DIY gifts

diy

Photo: berries.com (via Flickr)

If you’re a designer, you’re great at creating! So when you’re thinking about giving gifts, why not give something that’s truly from the heart. There are all sorts of ways you can turn your designs – or designs you’ve bought – into great gifts for your loved ones.

These days there are tons of options for things you can do with your designs. You could consider getting your work printed and framed like art. Have your design printed on t-shirts, canvas wallets and more with Lumi. Over at Society 6, you can print iPhone cases for the clumsy tech-lovers, but also t-shirts, pillowcases, and framed printed artwork.

Moo is a great one-stop-shop for more holiday specific gifts, such as self-designed cards with your art and messages to send to your loved ones. Once you’re done compiling all your other gifts, head on over to Spoonflower to print your own wrapping paper!

With so many options, you’ll have plenty of time to relax and enjoy what the holidays are all about: friends, family, and appreciating all the gifts – both real and tangible – that you have in your life. Happy Holidays!

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