Are you stumped by what would make the graphic designer in your life shriek with joy? These creatives can be intimidating to buy a present for (not to mention wrapping it in a way that doesn’t offend their highly-developed design sensibilities), but don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
We’ve curated this list of 17 gifts for graphic designers with the intention of stoking their innate curiosity and delivering on their ever-present quest for inspiration. The recipients will no doubt wonder how you ever managed to get them something so…satisfying.
Your graphic designer will appreciate having the latest tools to make their projects flow with ease. Fret not, they also look smashing. Better go out and find that perfect wrapping paper…
1. Color Design Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Using Color in Graphic Design by Sean Adams
The graphic designer on your gift list is well aware that color is one of the most important elements to master: it can make or break a project. With color trends like shifting sands under their feet, designers need a reliable and up-to-date reference.
The 240-page revised Color Design Workbook will give them a solid understanding of the wide world of color meaning and psychology. It includes essential practical information (“10 Rules of Color”) along with case studies, design history and hands-on applications.
Sections including “Color Systems Trends and Forecasting” and “Inspirations for Palettes,” will give the designer in your life confidence for how to effectively choose and use palettes. Offer this gift to a graphic designer and they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and wonder how you’re so savvy about how color can convey the messaging and storytelling inherent in graphic design and branding.
2. CAPSURE™ with Bluetooth®
Creators are always creating. Even when it seems like they’re “off duty,” they’re still on the lookout for something that speaks to them or lights a spark of inspiration. Whether they find it in the stone pattern of a building they pass by daily or the color of a spring leaf, it’s essential that they capture it in the moment before another shiny object distracts.
Capsure with Bluetooth makes a great gift for graphic designers because it helps them stay up to speed and in the flow. They’ll be able to match any color they find to a Pantone Color, the universal system used by designers worldwide. A variety of settings lets them communicate clearly and share their inspirations effectively thanks to wireless Bluetooth technology.
Compact and portable, this essential tool comes with a protective case and is USB rechargeable. It’s preloaded with over 10,000 Pantone Colors, and will store up to 100 captures. To keep your designer organized, the Capsure will also record audio notes and give date/time stamps for each capture. The Bluetooth feature assures easy sync with computers, tablets and phones, and it’s compatible with popular digital design applications, including Adobe® Creative Cloud® applications.
3. Eat, Sleep, Create, Repeat Mug
(Psst.. If the 11oz version won’t hold all of their inspiration, try the large 15 oz. or mega 20 oz. version. Or, for those who enjoy a foam-topped cuppa, go with the elegant 17 oz. latte style.)
4. The Brand Strategy Kit
Give the graphic designer in your life leg up when it comes to delivering outstanding results for their clients. The Brand Strategy Kit is an all-in-one tool that will be their secret weapon for creating a smooth branding process (which your giftee knows very well can easily go off the rails in the blink of an eye) that satisfies even the most, ahem, indecisive clients.
The Brand Strategy Kit was successfully launched on Kickstarter in summer 2019, so if you’re looking for “the next thing” in the world of graphic design and branding, there you have it.
If the person on your list is who we imagine, they’ll love being on the cutting edge by using the latest in design tools.
The Kit contains everything they need: The Branding Workbook, a Brand Canvas Template, a set of 20 Tone of Voice Cards, 52 Brand Personality Cards, and 200 Style Cards categorized into 10 styles. It’s based on a decade of experience in branding, so the materials and process are proven, streamlined, and of course fun!
5. Handmade Large Journal/Sketchbook
Made from eco-friendly lokta paper and bamboo, this large-format beauty can be used as a sketchbook, journal or notebook. The hard cover and string button closure makes it ideal for spur-of-the-moment creative inspirations. At 10”x7” and with 50 sheets of natural Lakota paper, there’s plenty of room to explore and expand.
The streamlined yet handmade design will please your graphic designer’s aesthetic sensibilities. Their eco-friendly side will be satisfied too, thanks to entirely tree-free materials and environmentally friendly processes.
It’s available in a delicious array of colors, including Saffron, Denim Blue, Aqua, Olive Green, Royal Blue and others. Tactile and useful, this journal/sketchbook hits all the marks of a thoughtful gift for a creative soul.
6. Limited Edition Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencil Gift Set
With 36 colors, a “Clic&Go” Water Cup and high-quality #6 watercolor brush, the graphic designer in your life will feel truly pampered by this thoughtful gift. Because the pencils can be used dry or wet, numerous effects can be created. The pigments lay down with buttery ease, and when wet, they are blendable and act as watercolors. For the graphic designer who likes options when they’re in a creative flow, this set will do the trick.
Faber-Castell products use a unique color matching system that ensures compatibility across all projects and media. Break-resistant thanks to extra thick lead, these pencils are water-soluble and the handy cup affords grab and go ease.
7. Rise Up – Issue 06 of the Viewpoint Colour Series
For the designer who wants to be ahead of the pack (don’t they all?), the Rise Up edition in the Viewpoint Colour series projects design forward through a lens of cultural perspective, in particular how younger generations are impacting consumerism and hence design. Edited by Franklin Till, the 176-page Rise Up is a comprehensive look at what’s happening now and how that will affect the next 12 months of design (Autumn/Winter 20/21).
Younger consumers prioritize social responsibility, and this affects how they view brands and what they respond to visually. This means that designers need to understand this sea change, where color takes on new meaning (“From fiery reds and feminine pinks to sea blue, forest green and deepest black, color is political.”) and a careful balance is required for telling a brand’s story.
In addition to four color trend palettes, Rise Up covers topics such as: “Wild Child – The Colours of Ingenuity” “The Colors of Climate Change” “Co-Designing Colour – Creativity + Collaboration” and “Going Off Grid – Spotlight of New Lifestyles.” With contributions from artists and designers from around the world, Rise Up goes from global to local, for a comprehensive view on color stories that will give your designer sound foundation for color choices today and moving forward.
8. Yoko Ono Peace Pencils
Give your designer the gift of imagining…with pencils & peace. This exclusive set from the Museum of Modern Art was designed by Yoko in her ongoing efforts to promote peace. She and her husband John Lennon had a special relationship with New York City, and Ono’s work is represented in MoMA’s permanent collection.
This set of five blue ombré Peace Pencils sport the messages that have been relevant from the 1960s through to today: Peace is Power, Think Peace, Act Peace, Spread Peace, Imagine Peace. From one artist to another, these pencils are a beautiful reminder of how we can all create positive change through art.
9. Lavinia Pencil Cup
Is there a better way to display the Peace Pencils than in this edgy graphic pencil cup? We think not! Unique and eye-catching from all angles, the Lavinia Pencil Cup will be the outlier that gets the most attention. Made from sturdy hand-painted stoneware, it could also be a lovely home for the pens, markers and stylos that make up your designer’s collection of favorite tools.
10. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
Ask any writer, painter or designer and they’ll probably tell you that their biggest fear is not being able to come up with the next creative idea. This book will keep them in the groove thanks to a little humor, some tough love and a lot of badass advice.
Steal Like an Artist is full of essential insights about how to cultivate creativity that break the mold and remind even seasoned designers to stay in their zone of genius. It reminds that inspiration can be found anywhere, from the supermarket to the dog park. The key is being curious and keeping the creative juices flowing – this book will help your designer giftee do just that via exercises, examples and illustrations.
11. The Slate 2+
Sometimes it’s all about hand to paper. Other times, digital rules. The Slate 2+ satisfies a graphic designer’s desire for both by combining the sensations of paper with the efficiency of digital. This drawing tablet is super versatile: designers can use the removable iskn ring on their favorite pen or pencil and draw on any type of paper or use it in graphic tablet mode. This makes It perfect for home, office or on the go.
The Slate 2+ works great with design desktop apps such as Photoshop and Illustrator. The designer you gift this too can also easily boost its capabilities with the Imagink app. All of it is compatible with iOS, Android, macOS and Windows. The screenless mode also allows for use without being connected to a device. It’s a perfect gift for graphic designers who love options! Then again, don’t they all?
12. “I’m Silently Judging Your Font” Keychain
Need a stocking-stuffer for your favorite graphic designer? Poke a little fun at their ability to spot Comic Sans across the coffee shop with this cheeky keychain. Surely they’re never actually judging anyone’s font, but, well yes, they totally are. All the time.
This perfectly-sized 2” stainless steel keychain is lead and nickel free. It won’t rust or change color, and it’s hypo-allergenic. So, if your graphic designer friend breaks into hives when looking at your website, consider changing the font you used…it’s not the keychain making them itchy.
13. The Brand Cards
Does the graphic designer on your list love creating moodboards? Do they relish the process but then crash when it’s not what the client thought they had communicated? This is probably the most frustrating issue that designers and creative teams encounter, and it happens way more than any of us want to admit. What’s the answer? Communicating in an efficient, effective, and creative way using The Brand Cards.
Give the gift of clarity and fun that will help your graphic designer save time while nailing every presentation. Featuring carefully curated of-the-moment design work from around the world, The Brand Cards will spark fresh ideas and insights. (And give everyone a well-deserved break from the computer.)
Included are 200 Style Cards, 20 Tone of Voice Cards and 52 Brand Personality Cards. This comprehensive set will lead to easily-shareable design directions and will make the entire process fun and truly collaborative. We might be a little biased 😉 but we think a set of The Brand Cards is one of the ideal gifts for graphic designers… combine with a mug and they’ll think you’re a mind reader.
14. Gentlemen’s Hardware Multi-Tool Pen
#allthetech is great, but there’s nothing like pen to paper for getting those creative juices flowing. This brass-plated, six-inch beauty is a pen with superpowers. Not only does it write like a dream, it’s also a level, stylus, ruler and has interchangeable screwdriver bits. Your designer will be prepared for anything!
Gentlemen’s Hardware has, “a passion for building durable and responsible goods that equip modern gentlemen for the rigors of life,” though we’re guessing some can-do gentlewomen will also love this pen that would make Macgyver jealous. The company is known for its focus on quality, function and of course, style, which is what it’s all about, right?
15. David Bowie Limited Edition Notebook
A tribute to a creative genius and visionary, this limited edition notebook is a special gift for the special graphic designer in your life. If they like simplicity with a rock ‘n roll edge, look no further.
Stealthy packed with meaningful Bowie-esque details, it’s both useful and deeply inspiring.
Available in white and black, it features Moleskine’s trademark elastic band closure and lie-flat design. (Did you know Moleskine notebooks are vegan not leather? Bonus points all around.) Hint: if you’re buying for a hard-core Bowie fan, check out the Collector’s Box. You’re welcome.
16. Graphic Design: The New Basics
If you’re looking for a gift for a graphic designer “in the making,” this bestselling introduction to design will be a valued resource that keeps on giving. Revised with 80 pages of new material, the authors explain key concepts that can be applied across the spectrum, from simple logos to complex websites.
Graphic Design: The New Basics presents essential information in a straight-forward manner, including visual demonstrations and real-life examples of student and professional work. A must have for any designer’s library, this updated classic is a clear winner.
17. Metro Vertical Device Bag in Orange Yellow
Trim and sleek, this sturdy and practical backpack will help keep the graphic designer in your life organized while on the go. It’s got enough space to hold all they need without lugging around extra bulk. Give them the gifts of comfort and joy, thanks to breathable materials and a zippy saffron color.
Made by Moleskine, this bag will become their favorite thanks to padding in the right places, fully-opening design and supportive shoulder straps. Compartments inside and on the front (along with a reflective logo for night safety) complete this well-designed bag.
With all these juicy ideas, we know you’ll find the perfect gift for the graphic designer in your life, a gift that says: I see your creative genius and I know you’re rocking it. After all, that’s what each of us truly want, right? To be seen for who we are… to be supported in our choices by our loved ones… to know that we are more unique than a generic gift card and more cherished than (yet another) solid-color turtleneck.
Happy gift buying!