If you’re looking for a gift for a graphic designer friend, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve put together this definitive list of unique gift ideas, which can be used for birthdays, holidays like Christmas, and other special occasions.
From inexpensive novelties like the Aqua Notes Waterproof Notepad to more generous items like the Jarvis Standing Desk, I’m sure you’ll find a creative gift that grabs you.
So, without wasting any more time, let’s dive right in!
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Technology Gifts for Graphic Designers
All graphic designers should have a light box in their toolkit. It’s an amazing tool for refining drawing skills and building muscle memory. The HUION L4S is portable and compact: at only 5mm thick and 1.3 pounds, you can easily carry it in your bag alongside your laptop.
There’s a reason why you can’t leave the house without seeing a pair of white AirPods sticking out of everyone’s ears: it’s a great product that “just works.” The Pro version has an in-ear design that allows for maximum comfort. This is a huge improvement over other versions that used a one-size-fits-all solution.
The iPad is a great tool for anyone who does graphic design or illustration work because it allows you to sketch directly into software programs like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. There are several models available, but I recommend the iPad Air. It looks—and feels—premium but costs a few hundred dollars less than Apple’s top-of-the-line Pro versions.
The second-generation Apple Pencil is an upgrade from the first-generation model, which featured precision control and flawless pairing with the iPad. The new Apple Pencil introduces wireless charging and customizable gesture controls. This means to switch functions you simply have to tap on the side with your finger.
LaCie’s Rugged Portable has been purchased a staggering six million times since its initial release, making it one of the most trusted products in digital storage. Graphic designers tend to work with large image files, so extra storage is welcome. This makes it a unique gift for graphic artists or any creative person.
If there’s one subscription all graphic designers must have, it’s Adobe Creative Cloud: It’s the gateway to Photoshop, Illustrator, and other apps that have become industry standards. Though you can sign up for each app separately, the complete Creative Cloud subscription provides the most value and is the best choice overall.
Envato Elements is a subscription service that allows graphic designers to access tens of millions of digital assets. I’ve used Envato to download graphic templates, fonts, and more. The depth of what they offer is incredible, and every graphic designer can find something useful in the vast library.
Linotype is a legendary type foundry with origins in the late 19th century. The company was founded in 1886 to market a new technology called a Linotype machine. Today, the website has thousands of fonts to choose from. To simplify things, I suggest something from the platinum collection or one of its bestsellers.
For graphic designers who travel frequently, work in noisy environments, or use music to boost creativity, these Sony headphones are a must! The sound quality and noise cancellation technology are phenomenal, and you can wear them for hours without sacrificing comfort.
Vinyl has had a renaissance in recent years as more people seek a different kind of listening experience—one that digital music simply can’t match. Fluance’s High Fidelity Turntable is one of the best record players you can buy in the low-to-middle price range thanks to its modern look, easy setup, and stellar sound. Many graphic designers would appreciate this insanely great gift idea.
Casio’s CA-53W is a reissue of the company’s original digital calculator watch that was released in 1988. Every kid who grew up in the 1980s wanted this watch (especially after it appeared in Back to the Future II), and now it’s available for under $20. It’s time to make that childhood dream a reality with one of the best gift ideas for graphic designers who grew up in the ’80s.
Work-Related Gifts for Graphic Designers
Working in a standing position increases blood flow and movement, which studies have shown promotes creativity. This makes it a great gift for a graphic designer friend who works long hours. Fully’s Jarvis Standing Desk uses eco-friendly bamboo sourced from sustainable forests. Adjusting the height is easy, it comes in multiple colors, and the space saving design is beautiful.
I’ve been using a Herman Miller chair since 2008. It’s only when I have to sit in a different chair that I’m reminded how great the Aeron is. Whether you are sitting straight or leaning back, it gives just the right amount of ergonomic support. I especially love the mesh construction, which provides good ventilation throughout the day. Graphic designers sit at their desks a lot, making it a great gift.
Graphic designers tend to work long hours. A laptop stand is a thoughtful gift because it reduces the strain on the neck, shoulders, and eyes. Rain Design’s iLevel2 Laptop Stand is sturdy, easy to use, and has a minimal aesthetic that looks great everywhere. Since it has to do with health and wellness, this is one of the best gifts for your most valued graphic design friends.
I have a drawer full of notebooks and keep a few handy at all times. I use them to write down ideas, make lists, and lots more. Papier notebooks are great because you can put your name on the cover, change colors and fonts, or add an inspirational quote. Graphic designers will love being able to customize the different elements to match their aesthetic.
The Action Book is a clever notebook for all types of creative people. This means it’s a fantastic gift for graphic designers. Each page is divided into four different zones to encourage productivity and the flow of ideas. This sturdy notebook is ideal for anyone who has multiple projects going on simultaneously. In terms of price and usefulness, it is one of my favorite gift ideas overall.
The bold and colorful Reference Bookends were created with heavy books in mind, but you can use them for just about anything. Designed by industrial designer Henry Julier, they were originally part of an art exhibit at Norma Studio called In Support of Books. Now available via Areaware, they are perfect for graphic designers who like to keep a library nearby.
Designer Ellen Van Dusen was inspired by neuroscience and art history for her eponymous line of textile and home goods. The Everybody Bin is characteristic of Dusen Dusen products, which use bold colors and geometric shapes. Graphic designers will love its unique and striking appearance.
Hay’s Paper Paper Bin is made from recycled paper, hence the double name. It is ideal for storing shoes, toys, or other dry objects. However, since it is made with paper, you will want to keep wet objects away. The colorful and sculptural design brings beauty to an everyday object and is sure to light up the room.
There’s a reason why people come up with their best ideas in the shower. It’s one of the only places where your mind is allowed to wander, which is an essential component of creativity. That makes Aqua Notes a perfect gift for your graphic designer friend. So, they can record ideas before they go down the drain.
Blackwing has been around for a century, and many famous graphic artists have used the pencils. That includes Chuck Jones, who used them to draw his Looney Tunes characters. Made of cedarwood, they have Japanese graphite and an adjustable ferrule to replace the eraser. Graphic designers tend to sketch ideas out on paper, so this is one of the most practical gift ideas.
Creative Gifts for Graphic Designers
Poketo collaborated with Areaware on this set of playing cards that feature bright, vibrant colors and irresistible abstract shapes. What graphic artist wouldn’t want to play cards with a hand that looks like Matisse Cut-outs? Simply put, this is a fun gift idea for all creative people.
Etch A Sketch’s inventor, a French electrician named André Cassagnes, stumbled upon the idea for this drawing toy in the 1950s. He released it at the height of the baby boom, and it was an instant hit. The National Toy Hall of Fame inducted it in 1998, and now it’s one of the most iconic playthings of all time. Graphic designers of all ages are sure to appreciate this fun drawing tablet.
Shape Stamps is a fun activity for both children and adults alike. Each set includes 13 stamps and five color pads, which you can use to create people, animals, landscapes, and more. This attractive set of stamps is one of the best gifts for graphic designers who have kids or simply enjoy creating things by hand.
Andy Rementer is a graphic artist whose distinctive work is colorful, bold, and charming. Produced in collaboration with Areaware, each Andy Puzzle consists of 500 pieces and measures 18 x 24 inches when complete. It makes an excellent gift for your graphic designer friends since puzzles promote creativity.
Andy Rementer’s Block Party is a set of wood figurines that can be stacked, mixed up, and rearranged into countless configurations. Graphic designers (and many other creative people) will love being able to decorate their workspace with these irresistible and colorful painted objects.
This list contains several items by Dusen Dusen, including these bold and abstract Pattern Puzzles. Inspired by fine art and neuroscience, designer Ellen Van Dusen has translated her vision into a series of charming puzzles that are just satisfying to put together as they are to look at.
With video conferences becoming more normalized these days, W&P’s Virtual Happy Hour Cocktail Set makes for a timely and convenient gift for graphic designers. The set comes with all the ingredients (minus the alcohol) to make a Moscow Mule, Old Fashioned, and Margarita.
The Nintendo Switch is a beautiful piece of technology that is both nostalgic and forward-thinking at the same time. Whether you plug it into your TV or take it with you, the Switch is a ridiculously fun device that makes for an awesome gift for graphic designers who enjoy gaming.
These bold and colorful terry towels by Dusen Dusen will add style and panache to your trip to the coast. Each beach towel measures 37 x 70 inches and comes in several different colors to choose from. Constructed of brushed cotton, they are incredibly soft to the touch. These make a great gift for graphic designers because of their vivid and eye-catching appearance.
The England-based brand aptly named The Art of Ping Pong makes products for ping pong lovers at the intersection of art and graphic design. The Candy ArtTable hangs on your wall one minute and serves as a fully functional ping pong table the next. It is one of the best gifts for graphic designers who work a lot and could use a fun activity throughout the day.
Pantone (which means “all colors”) is the industry-leading color matching system used by creatives everywhere. This makes it an ideal gift for graphic designers. Produced with Chronicle Books, it includes 100 cards in a beautiful gift box. The paper and printing are top-notch, and the price is outstanding for what you get.
Oblique Strategies will get your creative juices flowing. It includes over 100 cards, each of which suggests a course of action or new way of thinking. Designed by legendary musician Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, these cards have been used by countless artists the world over since their initial release in 1975. All graphic designers experience creative block, so these cards will come in handy.
Blockitecture makes a perfect gift for graphic designers who have little ones. However, don’t be surprised if the adults want to play too. Designed by James Paulius, these wooden building blocks will allow you to construct cities and greenways from the comfort of your home or graphic design studio.
Created by CMYK, the same studio that brought us Wavelength, Monikers was called “the perfect party game” by the New York Times. Think of it as a mildly inappropriate cross between Catch Phrase and Charades. Games make excellent gifts for graphic designers because they stimulate and mind and spur creativity.
MYNT3D’s 3D Professional Pen allows you to draw objects in mid-air, magic-like, through a heated, plastic-like substance called filament that comes from the pen’s tip. It has been called “the best 3D pen under $100.” It offers temperature, speed, and flow adjustments, giving you complete control over the filament.
Home Gifts for Graphic Designers
Design studio Upton makes art accessible through its affordable canvas wall hangings. Beautiful, bold, and geometric, they will add a splash of color to your home of office. The Litha Canvas (pictured below) measures 36 x 48 inches and includes a cedarwood bar for easy hanging. Graphic designers will love it.
Hario, aka “the King of Glass,” is a Japan-based company that has existed since 1921. The glass and olivewood design of the V60 is simple yet effective, while its compact size makes storing it a breeze. Many graphic designers work long hours, and coffee breaks are a must.
Fellow products are designed to be beautiful yet functional, appealing to everyday coffee drinkers as well as more experienced connoisseurs. The Stagg EKG Electric Kettle has temperature control so you don’t burn your mouth and a gooseneck spout for a steady pour. The beautiful simplicity of the kettle speaks to graphic designers’ sense of shape and proportions.
I bought a Theragun Mini two years ago, and it has changed my life! With powerful vibrations that can be turned on or off with the click of a button, it’s like having your own private masseuse available at a moment’s notice. It’s a perfect gift for your graphic artist friends who work long hours at a desk.
The Stacking Planter by designers Chen Chen and Kai Williams cleverly combines the planter and saucer into a single shape. At just 3 x 3 x 4 inches, it’s small enough to keep on a small shelf or next to your computer. This is a great gift for graphic designers who like to decorate their studio space with beautiful, organic objects.
Studies have shown that scent is closely related to memory and can spur imagination. That’s why candles make great presents for graphic designers. I recommend Dusk by PF Candle Co. Described as a “nostalgic scent,” it comes in an earth-toned tin vessel designed with a California-inspired motif.
LEVOIT’s Air Purifier measures air quality and automatically adjusts the fan accordingly. It’s a “set it and forget it” device designed to cleanse the air around you. In 2021, Good Housekeeping named it the “Best Quality Air Purifier” on the market. Give the graphic designer in your life the gift of clean air!
One common complaint about laptops is the poor speaker quality. So, if your graphic designer friend listens to music at work, this device will be clutch. The A1 is minimal, compact, and beautifully designed. It’s also waterproof, so if you happen to spill a coffee on it, the liquid won’t damage the speaker.
Flensted is a Denmark company that has been making mobiles since 1953. The Mirage mobile has a modern feel that is reminiscent of sculptor Alexander Calder. It can be hung in various places around the home or office, so your graphic designer friend will have a subtle reminder to stay balanced while working away on deadline!
Design Within Reach is best known for selling modern furniture and objects, from iconic mid-century pieces to contemporary classics. The store also curates an art section, which includes prints from companies like Herman Miller and Block Shop. This beautiful print gives a graphic designer something besides the computer screen to look at and is sure to inspire and delight.
Sculptural, stylish, and practical, this bottle by designer George Sowden is a suitable companion for the office or car. With a screw-on lid and sleek stainless-steel build, it can handle both hot or cold liquids alike. This is one of the most unique graphic designer gifts that is sure to get lots of use.
At first glance, a toaster might be considered an odd graphic design gift. However, the Sowden Toaster was designed by George Sowden, a founding member of the legendary Memphis Group. This makes it a unique gift for a graphic designer that is sure to be appreciated for its beautiful lines, shape, and colors.
The Beast Blender was invented by Colin Sapire, the blending guru who gave us the NutriBullet. I’ve owned both, and the Beast is my favorite blender, by far. This is one of the most handsome blenders you’ll come across. However, it’s the performance that counts, and the Beast delivers in that department too. The graphic designer in your life is sure to appreciate the beauty of this everyday object.
Porter’s Insulated Bottle is an ideal commuter’s cup. Whether you’re drinking a hot or cold drink, it will maintain it’s temperature for hours. The inner ceramic coating makes for a clean, non-metallic sip. At the same time, the silicone exterior gives it a soft, grippy feel. Graphic designers will love the colorful appearance.
Porter’s Seal Tight Bowl is ideal for graphic designers who bring food to the office. It has a silicone exterior that provides excellent grip for hands and surfaces. The container comes in a 16- or 24-ounce size and five colorways. Leak-proof and reusable, it’s an insanely practical design gift that will get plenty of use.
The key difference between this and the Porter Seal Tight Bowl (see above) is that this one is not leak-proof. Therefore, the Porter Ceramic Bowl is better for dry foods such as salad, chicken, pasta, rice, etc. This is perfect for a graphic designer who travels or brings food to the office.
It’s impossible to overstate the influence of designers Charles and Ray Eames on modern design. This makes it an incredible gift for any graphic designer. The Hang-It-All was designed in 1953 for Herman Miller and is a perfect example of the Eames’ playful yet functional design ethos.
If you didn’t already know, coffee mugs make perfect gifts for graphic designers. This particular mug is an excellent idea because it features a 1980s-inspired splatter pattern, comes in a four-set, and has many different colors. This makes it one of the best graphic designer gifts you can buy.
This sculptural and minimal Hemisphere Wall Clock was designed by Henry Julier, a New York City-based industrial designer who works at Standard Issue. The clock is pared down to its simplest form so we are left to admire its beautiful shape and colors. Of course, this makes it a perfect gift for a graphic designer.
Book Gifts for Graphic Designers
Sarah Urist Green is the host of the incredible PBS series The Art Assignment. In this book, she gives 50 prompts borrowed from artists geared towards sparking creativity. It is a valuable resource for beginners and more experienced artists alike.
Ellen Lupton’s Thinking with Type is a must-have gift for any graphic designer. It offers a ton of valuable insights that will make you think about type differently, no matter where you’re at in your career.Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet for good design, but Lupton provides the fundamentals needed for making better choices.
In 2021, I interviewed Briar Levit about the People’s Graphic Design Archive. She spoke about the importance of highlighting other voices beyond what is typically regarded as canon in the history of graphic design. In Baseline Shift, Levit brings to light some of the women who influenced, shaped, and defined visual communication as we know it today.
The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook is not the kind of book you read cover-to-cover. Rather, it is an as-needed guide. For example, if you’re offered a graphic design job and want to know how your salary stacks up, this book can serve as reference point. All of these books are excellent gifts for graphic designers, but this one, in particular, is essential.
The History of Graphic Design is the most ambitious and comprehensive visual compendium on the subject. That’s why it’s a perfect gift for a graphic designer. Hundreds of beautifully reproduced images are accompanied by original and insightful commentary. I flip through my copy whenever I need to find inspiration.
These days, online tools make it easy for graphic designers to choose colors. However, understanding why certain colors work well together is essential for any design education. Josef Albers (my favorite graphic designer) was a lifelong student and teacher of color theory. This classic book condenses his wisdom about color into 208 succint pages.
W. E. B. Du Bois created these data portraits for the World’s Fair of 1900 in Paris. Through a series of modern graphs, charts, and maps, the Harvard-educated sociologist presented his findings on the lives of Black people in America. From a design standpoint, the illustrations in this book are incredible in that they predate the Bauhaus by two decades.
Educational Gifts for Graphic Designers
Even if you aren’t trying to become a full-time programmer, learning basic coding skills is an excellent tool in your arsenal, especially for web designers. SuperHi is unique in that it offers coding classes geared toward creatives. It is a great way to beef up your graphic design toolbox with an in-demand skillset.
Skillshare offers classes for graphic designers from the beginner level all the way to advanced. One thing that separates Skillshare from other online course platforms is the specificity of its course offerings. As such, it might appeal to more experienced designers who know EXACTLY what they are looking for.
Photography Gifts for Graphic Designers
The i-Type Instant Camera is Polaroid’s updated version of its iconic OneStep Camera from the 1970s. This version has a couple new tricks up its sleeve, including a built-in double exposure function, a two-lens autofocus system for sharper photos, a self-timer, and USB charging.
There you have it! That concludes my list of the best gifts for graphic designers. Whether you’re a graphic designer or just shopping for one, I hope you found this guide useful.