20 gifts for the designer in your life that aren’t Pantone-related
With all that’s going on in 2022, this Christmas offers a good opportunity to focus on the things that matter. Family and friends. Rather than feeding the Amazon machine, we’ve listed some of our top gifts from independent businesses, where each purchase could be the difference between make and break. So why not treat your creative buds (or even yourself) to one of these joyful gifts.
Handmade in London, The Pin Prick is run by designer Jarrell Goh. Inspired by architecture, design, and the LGBTQ+community, he creates unique minimalist soft and hard enamel pins and accessories that bring joy to any creative soul. Pins include familiar design tool icons, such as the pen tool and the eyedropper, making for a quirky stocking filler for designers and digital artists.
2. 80’s Party Pooch hanging decoration by Ohh Deer
This little guy is the life and soul of the party. With a hand stitched boom box and colourful 80s leotard, they’re bound to make even the biggest of Scrooges smile. As if that wasn’t enough, they are made from 100% sustainable New Zealand wool using traditional needle felting techniques, making this 80’s Party Pooch entirely plastic-free.
3. Monday morning socks gift set by Happy Socks
Socks that aren’t just for Christmas. Spreading happiness and colour to every corner of the world, Happy Socks aim to inspire authentic self-expression creativity, fun, and socks. This milk carton of socks is a failsafe way to make Monday feel less ‘Monday’. And with reinforced heels and toes for that extra long-lasting comfort.
4. Bridgewater backpack by Kula
Kula is a UK based business committed to using sustainably sourced materials. All their bags and backpacks are vegan friendly using reinforced paper material recognised by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). Washable, showerproof and as durable as any canvas bag, this everyday backpack has plenty of secure internal pockets for all your gadgets, and a pocket for either a 13” or 16” laptop makes it great for commuting.
5. Original reusable cup by Frank Green
It’s not a person, it’s a philosophy. Frank Green’s mission is to create lifestyle solutions that are great for the planet and are built to last. Their original product with classic curves, perfect proportions, and custom colours, this cup is bound to be the envy of all reusable cups. Easy to operate with one hand, this cup is made to last with stain and odour resistant materials and an outer non-slip grip that won’t burn your hand off.
6. Hand-thrown ceramic mug by Pieces of the Puzzle
Starting with beautiful jigsaw puzzles, Pieces of the Puzzle have expanded their range to include everything you need for a cosy night in. Handmade in Wiltshire, this mug has a smooth glaze that is unique to each piece. Perfect for a large coffee, hot chocolate or warming tea, these mugs are made with traditional processes and a sustainable philosophy at heart.
7. The Gaia Jigsaw Puzzle by REJIG
Speaking of puzzles, this 1000-piece jigsaw will keep you occupied. REJIG creates beautifully designed jigsaw puzzles fit for the modern age. Finding the range of puzzles often leaving them wanting, they decided to create their own, and started commissioning some of the best illustrators around to bring a fresh look to this age-old pastime.
8. Yum Ramen poster by Fox & Velvet
The design duo Mark Scott-Davies and Kiwi Suumin combine their love of travel, music, and food to create quirky mid-century inspired art. All their prints are professionally printed with vibrant, fade-resistant pigments on gorgeous museum-quality archival matt paper. A real showpiece for any designer’s home.
9. Ampersand A3 risograph print by Matt McMillan
Designed by type lover Matt McMillan, this limited edition risograph print is a celebration of the ampersand. A great backdrop to any Zoom meeting, the unique finish achieved with risograph printing gives a wonderful vibrancy to the colours. Each ampersand is even numbered and referenced for fellow type-obsessed designers.
10. 2023 A3 wall calendar by RISOTTO
With lunar movements and plenty of space to jot down those all-important dates, this colourful calendar brings your week’s plans to life. You can even learn some Italian along the way with the inclusion of key Italian vocabulary throughout. RISOTTO is a small team creating products at their in-house workshop in Scotland. They are a great example of the power of small-scale artisan craft.
11. Dot grid journal by Yop & Tom
Yop & Tom started with two friends who couldn’t find the perfect planner for their goals. Creating their own meant they have not only achieved their original goals but also created a business of their own. Using high-grade vegan materials from sustainable sources, Yop & Tom promote digital detoxes that are good for you and the planet. So stop scrolling, putdown that phone and get creative.
12. Joy 2023 Diary by Papier
Speaking of goals, you can organise your hopes and dreams in this easy-to-use 2023 hardback diary. Inside are weekly, monthly, and yearly overviews for ultimate planning. There’s also plenty of space for all your goals and important to-do lists. With paper sourced from FSC certified forests and plastic-free packaging that can be recycled at home, this is a great guilt-free gift.
13. Pigma Micron fineliners by Sakura
“A pen as a gift!?” I hear you exclaim. This isn’t any pen. These pens are the first technical pen to use archival pigment ink making it acid-free, chemically stable, waterproof and fade resistant. That means no smears, feathers, or bleed-through on most papers. It is no surprise this range is a firm favourite by artists, writers, and illustrators globally.
14. Know Your Onions: Graphic Design by Drew de Soto
If you have a young budding graphic designer in your life, this is the gift for them. With practical advice written in an accessible way, it is like having a mentor in your pocket. Drew De Soto passes down years of advice in how to think like a creative, a business person and design like a god. There are even blank pages allowing you to add your own references and notes.
15. Jean Jullien by Phaidon
The debut book on the globally acclaimed artist, Jean Jullien, these witty and joyful illustrations will brighten your coffee table. Including never-before-seen artwork and sketchbooks, this book is a piece of art in itself.
16. Designing graphic props for filmmaking by Annie Atkins
Annie Atkins is a Welsh graphic designer and prop maker for film and TV. Best known for her work with director Wed Anderson on The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs and The French Dispatch, she gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the extraordinary world graphic design for film sets.
For only £8 a month you could have a different independent magazine delivered direct to your door. Launched in 2008, Stack is an independent magazine club helping people discover the best independent publishing around the world. You never know what they’ll send next, but you do know it will be beautiful, engaging – and probably not something you’ve seen before.
18. Typographic world clock by Auraglow
Add a unique designer piece to your home with our illuminated word clock from Auraglow. Readable from top to bottom, it displays the time in bright, LED-powered letters which update in five-minute increments. Although it’s there to tell the time, it is also a unique conversation piece guaranteed to attract attention.
19. Smart book light by Gingko
Founded in Oxford, 2011, husband and wife team Paul and Natalie Sun create stylish, high-end products for the home. This smart book light masquerades as a leather notebook when closed but is transformed into a sculptural lamp when opened. An ambient warm glow emits through the pages that are tear-proof and water-resistant. Assembled by hand, this multifunctional light is great for book lovers.
20. Reto3D 35mm film camera by Reto
A 3D film camera that is small, lightweight, and easy-to-use. What more could you want? This camera simultaneously captures a picture at three different angles, creating a 3D image by stitching them together. You can edit the effect in Photoshop or on Reto’s very own smartphone app to quickly create GIFs.