Designers are a complex group and often misunderstood. “Oh you’re a graphic designer!? It must be so cool to draw all day!”
But you, an intellectual, know that there must be something more to it. And you’re so right (High five to you, my friend). Below is a neat list of a few things that the designer in your life will thank you for (and actually mean it).
One common sighting in design studios from New Mexico to New York is the ever-present hot beverage. Chances are high that the designer you’re shopping for is a chronic coffee- or tea-drinker. So, be a pal and make it easier for them to do what they love. This MoMA design-approved mug ($16) is a great addition to any mug-cabinet and it doubles as a recipe reference for their barista-crafted favorites!
They will most likely want to keep that hot-beverage hot, so this Ember Temperature Control Mug ($80) will be greatly appreciated.
Or you can go straight to the source and buy a sparkly new coffee/hot water brewer ($100) for them.
As designers, we inevitably spend a LOT of time in front of computers. Often in uncomfortable desk chairs, we spend countless hours staring at screens. Even when we’re not presently at our desks, it’s common for stress to creep up on us and make us all tense inside. “So,” you say, ”what can I do about it?” Your designer friend will be glad you asked. The Plexus Wheel+ (from $40) is a really simple solution to the back problems they developed from hunching over their keyboards all day.
What kind of person would I be if I didn’t include at least one sketchbook on this list? So here it is, but with a twist: this one is a writing system that tracks the movements of the special pen ($179) in the paper tablet ($30) and automatically digitizes your notes, drawings, and to-do lists via the Moleskine app! So that super intricate drawing they did yesterday? It’s already on their devices, ready to be shared or inserted into that project that’s due in a couple of hours. No more fiddling with ancient scanners that never connect.
Speaking of deadlines, here are a few picks that will help keep them organized or simply make their lives a little prettier so they don’t lose their minds.
A gorgeous calendar to start their year off with a burst of color. ($40)
A planner that will help keep track of the meetings and deadlines that love to sneak up on us. ($22)
A daily creativity journal that will keep them inspired. ($15)
A 3D puzzle that will remind them to look at their surroundings in new ways. ($35)
These Jou-Jouer blocks that will likely distract them for longer than it should with its mesmerizing colors and endless combinations. ($200)
And last but not least, these adorable ornaments that look like the modern artists we know and love. ($36)
The services listed here are things that we, as designers and working professionals, are likely already using (and paying for) day after day, so why not give your friend what you already know they love? A gifted subscription to Mistobox, will get the lucky recipient a customized bag of coffee (whole bean or ground) delivered monthly to their door ($20 – $240).
If the designer you have in mind is one of those rare people that isn’t too keen on hot beverages, they probably appreciate a good snacking session. To satisfy their cravings, you have a plethora of yummy options. From mouth-puckering sweets, to international rarities, to vegan granola — there’s a snack subscription box out there for every palette and every budget.
Or, if they’re not big on snacking but they have a hard time breaking away from their projects to grab lunch, you can take advantage of Doordash’s new feature called Dashpass. This premium membership will remove all delivery fees from orders over $15 for only $9 a month.
Or, if your friend is in need of some stress relief, you can purchase a subscription to Soothe ($95.20 per month), a delivery service for massages. Yes, they will come to you. No, you probably shouldn’t send them to your friend’s small studio as a surprise. They also offer one-time purchases ($119) and gift cards.
What if you and your loved-one are at opposite ends of the state, county, or even the world? What if you can’t see them for the holidays but still want to show how much you care? Not to worry! The Internet is here for you. Here are a few things that will transcend the miles between you.
If a little music-therapy is just what the doctor ordered, there are so many music streaming subscriptions to choose from! Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, and Pandora are all great options and start at $10 per month.
Designers have a long-standing love/hate relationship with stock photos. They’re cheesy, but a real photographer is normally outside our clients’ budgets. So, bless your friend with unlimited downloads from Lensdrop ($300 per year). They offer beautiful stock that will be well-received as an alternative to the despised photos of people who are clearly faking laughter.
If stock photos are too boring, then open up their design universe with a premium subscription to Envato Elements (from $16.50 per month), a resource that will give them unlimited downloads of fonts, WordPress themes, photos, videos, mockups, graphics, and more! You may not have a clear understanding of how awesome that is, but your friend will.
The world of design is always evolving, so give the gift that keeps on giving. Cliches aside, a membership to Skillshare ($15/month or $99/year) will enable them to grow alongside their colleagues. There are hundreds of video-based classes to choose from and no rule that says they can’t take up cooking or something on the side too.