Your Helpful Holiday Gift Guide for Graphic Designers
By Lauren Elrick on 11/26/2014
That special graphic designer in your life has a specific and distinctive set of characteristics—strategic yet detailed, precise yet creative. He is always up on the tech trends, fluent in designer lingo and able to whip out an impressive sketch at the drop of a hat. She can conceptualize logos, locate phenomenal artwork for your living room and rebrand an entire company without even blinking.
Your creative loved one is uniquely innovative and now that the holiday season is here, it’s time to start considering gifts that are equally as special. We understand it’s tricky to pinpoint the perfect present, so we enlisted some industry pros to help us compile a list of great gifts for graphic designers. Take a look at what they came up with—there’s something for every budget!
16 perfect gift ideas for graphic designers
You and your designer will get to test your consumer knowledge, all while competing to win all the glory! Let’s face it: he’ll probably win every time. But at least you’ll get better at identifying some common logos and get your adrenaline pumping.
What designer doesn’t want the current versions of their favorite computer programs? Adobe has switched up the game and now requires users to pay a subscription fee to access Photoshop, Illustrator and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite programs. You can also purchase programs individually if you’re looking to lower the price tag a bit. Either way, a prepaid, one-year subscription will likely be their favorite gift of the season—and they won’t forget that when it comes time to buy your present next year!
Design files can be massive. If your designer is cranking out freelance files like it’s her job (because it literally is), she’s likely run out of space from her free trial on Dropbox. Purchasing an external hard drive will provide her with maximum storage, resulting in ultimate happiness!
Designers carry their laptops, devices and sketchbooks everywhere. What better gift than a trendy tote to transport it all when they travel, meet clients or just head to the corner coffee shop? Whether your designer is male or female, fashion-forward or old-school classic—you can find a style that suits them perfectly!
Responsive web design is all the rage now, which adds much consideration to the way graphic designers measure and create for websites. This stainless steel ruler features pixel increments and markers for mobile, tablet and desktop screen sizing. It’s small size and reasonable price make this a perfect stocking stuffer!
If you have a higher budget, this tablet will allow your designer to draw digitally with more than 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition. This is a sketchpad on steroids and will undoubtedly take creativity to the next level.
You never know when a creative thought will strike. What if he’s standing in line at Chipotle? What if she’s powdering her nose in the restroom? Designers should be armed with all sorts of small notebooks for their purses and back pockets in case a stroke of genius comes at an inopportune time.
Late nights designing call for some strong espresso the next morning. Give a durable, leak-proof and functional thermos so your designer can enjoy her favorite coffee on the bus ride to work or grab and go to meet a client. If a thermos isn’t her niche, try a creative coffee cup instead.
9. Coffee gift cards
If your designer already has a thermos, why not pay to fill it up? It may seem like a small expense but the tab for a daily cup of joe adds up rather quickly. Play it safe with a national coffee chain like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, or find a charming, local café—nobody is going to complain about free coffee. The best part is that you can choose to spend as much or as little as you want!
10. A DSLR camera
Designers often work with photographs during various projects. They also tend to appreciate the everyday beauty surrounding them and look to it for inspiration. A nice camera or high-quality lens will go a long way in creating photos of superior caliber.
Whether it has a historical focus or is dedicated to the latest and greatest trends, a lot can be learned from the written word. Finding the perfect book will not only beef up their library but could even encourage their personal development as a designer.
Free, high-resolution photos—that’s music to a designer’s ears! Unlimited access to beautiful, quality images will jumpstart your designers vectors, illustrations and photos (not to mention make life a whole lot easier.) No more scrambling at the last minute or settling for subpar photos.
13. A drafting table
Designers need their space, so why not purchase a beautiful space? Drafting tables come in all different shapes and sizes. Many include extra goodies, like removable side trays, drawers and cup holders. Find a unique style that matches your designer’s needs and personality.
Most designers do their fair share of sketching throughout the creative process. Make sure to get a quality drawing tool as designers are generally particular about their sketching instruments. The example linked above has break resistant, super-bonded lead and is available in 16 degrees. You had no idea a pencil could be so fancy, did you?
15. A clever t-shirt
Graphic designers appreciate a good sense of humor—especially when it comes to their craft. A simple, graphic tee that says “Crop it Like it’s Hot” or “Will Design for Money” is sure to get a laugh. You may not understand the joke, but your designer (and their friends) will enjoy it!
We’re going to go out on a limb and guess your designer is a techie. A nice, warm pair of gloves that allows him to browse Twitter, text clients or email his boss is perfect for the colder months. He can send a file with three clicks and a swipe, all while standing outside at the bus stop.
Got another great idea? Share with us in the comments below what you bought the special graphic designer in your life!
Brit Casady, graphic designer at Brit Casady Design
Grayson De Ritis, digital media designer at Modified Design Co.
Ellen Kling, graphic designer at Creative Lodging Solutions
Mitch Dowell, graphic designer at Branding Experiences