12 days of holiday gifts for designers

Carrie Cousins.
December 12, 2016
12 days of holiday gifts for designers.

There’s just 12 shopping days to go until Christmas, finding the perfect gift in that time can present a challenge. To relieve some of the stress of the holiday season we’re making it easy for you with this list of 12 great gifts for the more creative-minded person in your life. There’s a range of options at a variety of price points, and each one will bring out your inner child. Happy shopping and happy holidays!

1) MacBook Pro (from $1,499)

The new MacBook Pro is powerful, lightweight and has the look that Apple fans love. The new display is bright and features a second screen” in the Touch Bar that’s above the keyboard. The bar changes based on your application to enhance working features. And the biggest bonus for designers? The graphics render 130 percent faster than previous models. macbook-touch

2) Lap Desk (from $89.99)

Designers tend to work wherever the inspiration strikes and sometimes that includes on the couch or in the bed. (Particularly if travel is a big part of the job.) The sleek and lightweight Slate 2.0 Lap Desk provides a great set up for putting it all together with places for a laptop, mouse (with built-in pad) and phone holder. Plus, you can customize it for left- or right-handed users. lap-desk

3) Moleskine Planner (from $18)

Every designer loves a great notebook. A Moleskine Planner is a new spin on that classic with pages for mapping out projects for work or play. Notebooks come in a variety of sizes and colors with hard- and soft-cover options so you can find one that really is a personality match. moleskine

4) Web designer shirt (from $20)

Help your favorite designer or developer show off their geek” style with a fun t‑shirt. Zazzle has a large collection of designer” shirt styles that come in plenty of sizes and colors. The best part, all the designs in the online shop are curated by designers. Options range from career-based concepts to downright silly. shirts

5) Creative Cloud subscription (from $9.99/month)

If a gift card is more of your idea of a great present, consider a gift card for an Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription or buy a package outright. The set of design tools is used by most of the graphic design industry and is a must-have for working professionals, freelancers, students and anyone who wants to create for print of the web. Individual apps start at $9.99 per month, gift/​prepaid cards available from Amazon​.com in varying amounts adobe-cc

6) PopSockets collapsible phone grip (from $10)

Need something for that person who already has every gadget known to man? The PopSockets Phone Grip is an interesting find. Just attach the grip to a phone or tablet to make it easy to hold (or prop up) at different angles. Telescope it for a selfie or mount it to pretty much any surface with a PopClip. The tiny gadget makes it easy to work hands-free. popsockets

7) Pocket projector (from $145)

Presentations are a big deal for many designers. From showing off portfolios to presenting projects to clients or coworkers, a quick and portable video projector is a practical solution for designers on the move. The Magnasonic model connects to a mobile phone so you don’t have to carry any bulky equipment. (Hint: Freelancers or one-person firms will get a lot of use out of this tool.) pocket-projector

8) Oculus Touch ($199, with Rift $798)

Virtual reality is the next big thing. Designers want to play with it and need to think about it to design for this next wave of technology as well. The Oculus Rift is one of the leading devices in this market and the new Touch hand controllers take VR to the next level. Here’s the catch, you need an Oculus Rift to use the Touch. Gift the Touch alone for someone who has the headset or buy both! oculus-touch

9) Magnetips Pens ($39)

Cool pens are always a good option. Magnetips Pens are refillable fineliners (great for sketching, writing or even coloring) with super-strong Neodymium magnets inside. Pens connect to each other or stick on any magnetic surface so that you’ll never be without one. There’s one little catch to this gift though: While it is super cool, the estimated ship date is January. (So you’ll have to come up with a creative solution for how you give this gift in a box.) magnetips

10) Refold desk (from $160)

For the heathy conscious designer, a standing desk can be a practical and healthy idea. The Refold desk allows the owner to assemble and move the desk as needed. The nifty design is made of tough cardboard and folds into its own carrying case. (It’s hipster chic.) Order with a waterproof top to prevent coffee mishaps. refold

11) Fingerless gloves

Fingerless gloves

are one of those little items that you don’t know you need until the first day your hands get chilled at the office. Working on a computer all requires that your hands be warm and comfortable. Fingerless gloves provide enough room to move, come in lots of fun colors and fabrics and are totally functional. Available at a huge range of price points. gloves

12) Coffee subscription box (from $20)

It’s the coffee of the month club for java lovers. The Mistobox delivers fresh-roasted artisan coffee right to your door. The neat thing about this service is it takes preference into account so you don’t just get a random box of coffee. A curator looks at your taste selections and picks something you are sure to love. Each shipment includes a 12 ounce bag. coffee-subscription

5 last-minute stocking stuffers (that you can get practically anywhere)

Have you waited just a little too long to order a gift online? Here are a few stocking stuffers you can get practically anywhere. 

  1. Fun sticky notes: Mix and match colors, shapes and sizes to create an almost custom gift pack.
  2. Evernote Premium subscription: Take digital notetaking to the next level. Upgrade to a premium subscription with a few clicks. (The best premium feature is sharing.)
  3. Coloring book/​pencils: Grab a cool coloring book – even grocery stores seem to have them these days – and a box of fun pencils. Personalize the gift with a handwritten note inside.
  4. Character bookends: Stores seem packed with typography-inspired bookends. Combine a few letters to spell a name or showoff a favorite character. (Ampersands are always a designer favorite.)
  5. Flash drive: Look for one that reflects the personality of the person you are gifting. Practical favorites include keychain options or stainless steel flash drives that are cap free (no pieces to loose) and water resistant.

Carrie Cousins

Carrie Cousins is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience in the communications industry, including writing for print and online publications, and design and editing. You can connect with Carrie on Twitter @carriecousins.

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