Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers (that they might actually use!)

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Most “gift ideas for graphic designers” articles are full of lame gifts. They are either totally kitschy (a CMYK mug! a Pantone brand stapler!) or stereotypical (it’s contemporary! something written in Helvetica!). From one graphic designer for another, here’s a round-up of gifts I would actually use/want.

Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers:

1. Pantone Swatches

I don’t need a Pantone ornament/mug/mousepad/thermos/paintcan. What I do need are Pantone Swatchbooks. Most graphic designers probably don’t have their own set at home. The basic coated and uncoated sets should cover most needs.

2. Tea for One

This idea is kind of a gimme – but still a good one. Designers are at their desk. A lot. It’s always nice to have a fun mug on hand (I personally love this Harry Potter mug from Etsy seller 312INK). Most workplaces supply coffee (hoorah!) but many don’t have a large tea assortment. Along with mug, wrap up a few kind of herbal teas and a nice jar of honey for an afternoon sweet.

3. Tech-y Gift Card

Graphic designers are usually linked to some sort of technology a good deal of the time. An Apple App Store gift card will only feed their tech-frenzy. Plus, there are a lot of great photo-editing and typography apps out there that I would probably never justify buying on my own!

4. A Massage

There are some days that I am working that I literally could sit down at my desk and not get up for 12 hours if it weren’t for basic human needs. Most people in the work force these days are doing a lot of hunched-over-sitting, but designers especially so! Help us regain our posture and relieve muscle tension with a massage.

5. Modern Art History Book

Graphic designers should know and understand the progression of art history and theory. Even after a year of taking art history, I felt like my classes only scraped the surface of art history in the last 200 years. The book What are you looking at? by WIll Gompertz is both entertaining and informative.

6. X-Acto Tool Set and Self-Healing Cutting Mat

Any designer who is creating their own invitations/posters/namecards/print media will need an X-acto Knife set and this Alvin Reversible Self-Healing Cutting Mat Kit to make sure all their edges and corners are straight as an arrow. (You may want to include a metal straight edge too!)

7. Prismacolor Marker Set

You know that feeling when you are a kid and you have a brand-new box of crayons that are perfectly sharpened and untouched. That’s how I feel about markers as an adult. Perfect for sketching or doodling, the Prismacolor marker set is as good as it gets. Prismacolor marker sets can be purchased individually by color or in an assortment of sets. If you go to Michael’s don’t forget your 20% off coupon!

8. Letterpress Class

Where the fundamentals of graphic design really began – on the letterpress. Research local classes and look for a one-day letterpress or printmaking workshop.

9. Membership to an Art Museum

Oftentimes purchasing a membership to an art museum will more than pay off if you go several times through the year – and there are other perks as well! With 2014 coming quickly, consider buying a year-long membership at their favorite museum so they can stop by whenever they want. (A bonus of membership? You don’t feel guilty for only stopping by for an hour or two!)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my fellow designers.

Any other graphic designers out there? What would you add to this list?

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