Graphic designers have a huge influence in our lives. They’re the brains behind what see on television, the Internet, in stores while we’re shopping—if it has a visual element, they designed it. Their ideas are everywhere. This list of gifts for graphic designers is filled with gadgets they can use for work and cool stuff we know they’d like.
The best calendar, ever. So hip it’s been part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for decades. This oversize calendar was created in the 60s by renowned designer Massimo Vignelli. Every graphic designer wants one of these on their wall.
A must-have for a graphic designer. With a handheld scanner they can store scribbles, pictures, notes and found art in a digital format. Files can be stored in color or black and white, and in a wide variety of file formats and written text is automatically converted into fully editable text.
Electronic Cutting Machine Set
Graphic designers love home projects. They design things on their computers all day at work, but when they get home, the creativity doesn’t stop. This electronic cutting machine connects via USB to a computer or laptop and cuts fabric and materials to exact specification.
When designers have to travel for work to make a big pitch to an important client, they take their valuable intellectual property with them—and it’s not all digitized. This carry-on connects wirelessly to a smartphone so they can keep track of all their important stuff. It’s also got a built in charger.
Famous modern abstract painter Josef Albers is known for his geometric paintings. What many people don’t know is that he designed the perfect desk, too. He applied his artistic genius to make a workspace that’s functional, beautiful, and on the lust-list for designers all over the world.
If you’re happy and you know it…say it on your car! Graphic artists are a proud bunch and once they land a job playing with pictures all day long, they’re happy as kids on the playground at recess. This license plate frame lets them share that joy with the whole world.
Deluxe Sketch Kit
Ninety percent of what graphic designers do ends up on a computer screen, but most of their best ideas start out longhand—and a napkin at a restaurant or at home on a quiet Sunday. This art kit brings the artists back to the basics: sketching, drawing, and sculpting art from the heart.
The Creative Workshop
Pro athletes practice the basics every single day. Basketball players dribble and shoot, football players pass and catch. This book treats designers in the same way. It gives them sets of exercises so they can train their skills and “work out” every day in order to “stay in shape.”
We wanted to avoid coffee mugs in this list of gifts for graphic designers, but this one it just too good. Its simple message and graphic say it all. No graphic designer has ever made it through a whole project without making a mistake—and this mug give them an office friendly expletive the next time it happens.
Digital Art Screen
There’s a whole new world of art out there that’s a step beyond what we’ve known until now. It lives in the magical land of the pixel pixies, digital Dalis, and computer Calders. You guessed it: it’s digital art. Give this epic display screen to a graphic designer and they may never leave home again.
Long days stretch into weekend hours stretch into marathon work sessions in the office cranking out the latest project. Get this cool vinyl wall print for a graphic designer and they’ll thank you for two reasons. One, they’ll dig the cool design. Two, they’ll have an office with a view.
Scratch a graphic designer and you’ll find an artist. Scratch an artist (ignore the angsty soul) and you’ll find a child at heart, ready to get out and play. Odds are that when they were kids, your graphic artist friends spent countless hours with an etch-sketch.
Aura Box Clock Speaker
This gadget takes just about every smart device you and think of and rolls it all into one cube that sits on a desktop. It’s a wireless speaker, a lamp, a digital art display, an alarm clock, a speakerphone, and a social media hub. It’s the ultimate desktop toy for the digital creative.
Those marathon office work sessions invariably involve multiple meals eaten in front of the computer or around the conference table. What’s the go-to for digital die-hards? You’ve got to know it’s Chinese or Thai. These rainbow chopsticks make the food fun, even if they won’t remember eating it.
Artists—and graphic designers are artists, no doubt—need pens that write smooth. No skips, no blotches, and no drying out. Nothing to impede the creative flow. These Sakura Pigma microns are the weapon of choice for the graphic warrior. The clear bright colors deliver a perfect line every time.
MoMa Sky Umbrella
Give ‘em sunshine on a cloudy day with this magic umbrella. Design folks live the world of the imagination anyway, so this umbrella fits right in. They’ll hold it over their head during a rainstorm, and skip right along like it’s a beautiful summer’s day.
The future is here. The Cube has arrived. Resistance is futile. The L3D cube is nothing short of mind-blowing. It interacts with music, voice, preloaded and downloadable apps, and has a feature that allows designers to input their own apps. It’s an insane visual rave on your desk.
With all the high tech gadgetry on this list, you might be surprised to see the Kit-Cat clock here. But you know what? Graphic designers love these. Love. When we asked out designer friends what to put on this list, every one told us not to leave this off. So there you have it: a graphic designer gift par excellence.
Field Notes Notebooks
It’s a graphic designer thing—don’t even try to understand. Field Notes notebooks are what they all carry, what they all want to carry, and what they’re all constantly ordering whenever they run out. Buy this gift for the graphic designer in your life—no, buy them a year’s supply.
It’s a brain-teaser for the visual learner. A mind-puzzle for the tactile procrastinator. A desktop brainstorming device that takes a million shapes and then folds flat and fits inside a narrow box. The desktop helicone is based on the Golden Mean and the Fibbonacci spiral.
If graphic designers appreciate anything, it’s an elegant, functional, inspired design. Like bookniture. This amazing product was created by a Chinese designer who wanted a place for his friends to sit in his tiny apartment. He came up with this: a full functional stool that folds down into a book.
Tim Burton Playing Cards
Tim Burton is a long-time favorite or alternative, artsy crowd. From punk rockers to visual artists to people that make a living wearing black, Tim Burton has pleased the intelligentsia since Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. He brings his inimitable genius to this deck of cards.
Graphic Artist’s Handbook
How much should I charge? How long should it take? Can I use this image? Do I have to credit it? These are questions graphic designers wrestle with every day, especially the freelancers. This handbook is the go-to reference for pricing and ethical best-practice in today’s constantly evolving digital media world.
Quattro Desk Lamp
Form, style, and function converge in the Sonneman Quattro. It’s got rotating pivot points on the arm and the base, allowing the lamp to cast a perfect pool of light on the graphic designer’s workstation from any possible angle. The surface is totally modernist, with no switches or wires in view. It’s a designer’s dream.
Let’s not fool ourselves: designers love elegant form, but they also just want to find a good place to park, just like the rest of us. They’re only human, after all. They can mount this sign over their desk, or in the parking garage for fun. Warning: “violators will be photoshopped.”
It may come as a surprise that graphic designers have a taste for the retro—but it might not, if you have them as friends. Odds are they have an old electric guitar and a tube amp at home—that’s why this replica Marshall amp makes the perfect Bluetooth speaker for them.
Space Shuttle Poster Kit
Here’s another thing our graphic designer friends told us they want: anything from Draplin Design. This spaced shuttle poster is something they’ll appreciate. We all know and love the Space Shuttle because it was America’s last great space project. When will we go back? Are we alone? I want to believe.
3D Doodler 2.0
Sure they like to doodle old-school with a pad and pen. They might even take pride in being that retro designer who starts all projects that way—but give them one of these 3D pens and we guarantee they’ll lose hours making 3D sculptures. And they won’t feel guilty at all.
Like the Etch-a-Sketch, the Spirograph is probably responsible for launching a thousand careers in the field of graphic art. This version of the game comes in a classic collectors tin. Your designer friends can pull it out at home to while away the hours, or to teach then next generation where it all started.
We’ve seen a lot of touch screen gloves out there on the interwebs, but these are by far the coolest. They look like a regular pair of wool gloves—albeit far more stylish and hip than your garden variety wool glove—but they interface seamlessly with smartphone and tablet screens.
iPod, Blackberry, iPhone, Tablet, laptop—a graphic designer probably has all five of these smart devices in their personal arsenal. Which means they need a heavy hitting charge station to give them all the juice they need. As Murphy’s Law 2.0 states, they will all run out of batteries at the same time.
Lumino Book Lamp
Shed some light on the subject. Why? Because this is only the coolest lamp design we’ve seen in, well, forever. This is the lighting version of bookniture: it’s a lamp that collapses down to book size. It’s throws out forty watts of incandescent illumination and get this: it’s totally portable and runs on batteries.
Wow. Optimus Prime meets abstract bowl—but don’t worry, this piece of functional art won’t jump up of the table and start doing battle with the Decepticons. Although we’re not sure, because it looks like there’s far more than meets the eye with this bowl.
The Laws of Simplicity
KISS: Keep It Simple, Silly. Graphic designers are on a lifelong mission to create visual statements that are simple, direct, and get their point across in the blink of an eye. This book on design in the digital age explores the idea of simplicity across a wide variety of media.
Draplin Design Longhand Set
From the industry favorites at Draplin design comes this set of longhand writing tools. It’s a complete set of designer’s pens, pencils, and markers. For graphic designers who spend all day getting their hands dirty on the factory floor, this kit is the perfect gift.
Put nature at their fingertips. If you’re looking for a gift for a graphic designer who also has a love of the outdoors, then we’ve found something unique, beautiful, and practical. These quills from Orvis write like pencils and last for up to seven years each.
Isosafe Data Safe
Lock it up tight and don’t worry for a minute. Nor fire nor flood nor cyber-attack can penetrate the Isosafe Data safe. This gift is for the graphic designer who’s into some very serious, very heavy designing for high-end companies. Securely stores up to eight terabytes of data.
By designers, for designers. These daypacks were created with one kind of person in mind: the modern digital professional. They have pockets designed for all manner of smart electronics and you can choose one to match the exact model laptop you need to carry. All that and they look great.
Laptop Bed Stand
For graphic designers, the all-nighters didn’t end when they graduate from college. No—they’d only just begun. Some designers do their best work in the wee hours of the morning when no one else is around to distract them. This industrial laptop bed stand makes those all-nighters easier.
If they don’t have one of these yet, get it for them now. This design pad from Wacom is the latest in digital design technology. Designers can draw, animate, revise, and create straight to the screen with this tablet. It comes with a stylus, software, and it’s PC and Mac compatible.
If we included a mug, you knew we had to include a t-shirt on our list of gifts for graphic designers. Everyone in the office thinks they’re a badass, and that goes for the graphic geeks, too. But who’s got the guts to wear a shirt that comes right out and says it? We think the graphic designers might be just brave enough.
9 DIY Gifts for Graphic Designers
Designers appreciate creativity above all else, and most like things that are beautiful. This great DIY shows you how to make an abstract, impressionistic mousepad for the graphic designer in your life. It’s not just a painted mouse pad—it’s made from scratch.
Gilded Pencil Stand
Help them keep all their art pens and colored pencils in order with this gilded pencil stand. This tutorial has six basic steps and the end product it a classy looking piece that’s a perfect gift for a graphic designer. They can take it to work, but it’s so nice, they might want to keep it at home.
Home Design Center
An entire DIY designer’s workstation for the home is within reach. Just follow the steps and ideas in this tutorial, and you’ll be there. This is a great idea for the spouse of a graphic designer to build for their hard-working better half. Get them out of the house for an afternoon, and wow them when they come home.
Business Card Holder
Make this gift for a graphic designer who’s stuck with a tired old business card holder. The instructions are straightforward, and whether you uses an electronic cutter or do the cutting manually, the whole process should take about an hour. The style and color are up to you—match them to the personality of the person you’re giving it to.
This DIY shows you how to make a monitor stand that looks store bought. It’ll save space and elevate the monitor for easier viewing, and less neck strain. You can get the materials at any hardware or home improvement store and have it finished in an afternoon.
Are you constantly amazed that someone (read graphic designer) who can create clean and economical designs has a workspace that’s messier than a teenage boy’s bedroom? Help them out by making this hanging organizer. It will get the clutter up off the desk, so they can more clearly and create, create, create.
Office Chair Makeover
Take that boring black office chair and give it some pizzazz with this DIY. We know you don’t want your creative designer type sitting on anything less than perfection, so take charge of the situation. Go get that chair, choose some fabulous fabric, follow the steps in this tutorial, and restore the universe to balance. You are a super hero, after all.
Tetris Bulletin Board
Tetris champions of the world, let’s go back in time to when you spent hours and hours trying to beat this ridiculously simple game. Simple, yet addictive like no other. All you need it cork tiles, scissors, paint, a paintbrush, and some tape. Design geeks will absolutely love this DIY.
This DIY gift is for the graphic designer who likes things a little bit rustic and retro. It’s a lap desk made from a simple piece of wood and four metal hairpin legs. It’s got to be one of the most straightforward DIYs we’ve found—yet it’s also one of the best.
(You may also like: 28 Wonderfully Creative Gifts for Artists)