A Christmas Gift Guide for Designers That’s so Useful it Feels Illegal to Share

Christmas is that beautiful time of the year made for sharing love and gift-giving…but also for wild and dirty consumerism. While many of us might receive meaningless gifts during these holidays, our fellow designers may rest assured, as we have their backs when it comes to finding something meaningful and sustainable for their liking.

Elsie Ralston

18/11/2022 6 min read LOUD

This Christmas, your designer sweetheart, friend, or family member will wonder if you’re taking Design Thinking classes or if you’ve been illuminated by a sudden ray of Adobe holy light. Use this guide with precaution and care, expectations might arise after you’re crowned the best gift-giver of the season!

Our guide includes:

  • Sustainable gifts
  • Gifts from our community
  • Analog gifts for digital talents
  • DIY gifts for empty wallets
  • Some extra ideas

Sustainable Gifts

Giving is already hard, and giving a present with no environmental consciousness whatsoever to someone who cares about the planet might result in a complete disaster. So, break that piggy bank with confidence, because these gifts will win you a big hug and a cleaner future: 

Blooming tea balls

From Unsplash

A hand-picked blue lotus whole flower tea is the perfect gift for a busy designer who needs to unwind and disconnect at home. Plus there is no tea bag, so you can make sure your designer friend gets to avoid ingesting some microplastics. There are many different brands making excellent blooming tea balls, so even if you don’t end up buying this specific one we listed, you know what to look for!

Reusable digital notebook

From Business Insider

Not into paper anymore? This reusable digital notebook is a game changer and a tree saver.

Ocean plastic mouse

From PC Mag

Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse: This eco-clicker is made from plastic waste collected from the ocean. I guess rubbish does attract rodents…

Ceramics course

From Unsplash.

Worried about finding something your person would like aesthetically and also find useful? Well, let them make it themselves, so nobody will blame you for gifting something ugly. This type of activity has boomed recently, so I’m sure you will find a workshop or a course in your city.

Zero-waste razor

From Green Matters

Does your planet-conscious designer insist on keeping that terrible mustache and you want to drop a hint? In that case, maybe a zero-waste razor could be a fun present to give – make sure they can take a joke first, though. There are a bunch of brands producing razors that have no plastic components and will last a lifetime, exactly like your friendship. Find a few examples here.

Gifts from our community

Over the years, Design Matters has met many talented designers and digital creatives who continue to inspire our work. Here’s a very small collection of their works, which you can purchase to put a smile on your favorite designer’s face this Christmas:

The book “What the fuck is this” by Celeste Mountjoy

From QVWC shop

What the fuck is this. Australian artist and author Celeste Mountjoy (aka Filthyratbag) aims for the heart (and loins?) with her first book, a stunning collection of illustrations and observations on being young, female, and occasionally seriously fuckedup. Celeste’s art explores anxiety, feminism, addiction, body image, relationships, and societal expectations. This book is a gem and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

Read more about the author, Celeste Mountjoy, in an interview we did with her here.

Data visualizations by Tiziana Alocci

From Tizianaalocci.com

Fascinated by data art and data visualization? Find plenty of inspiration on Tiziana’s website. Tiziana is an award-winning Italian information designer, data artist, and lecturer based in London. She has worked for over a decade as an information designer, collaborating with creative studios, brands, and art organizations worldwide with clients including the BBC, the British Library, Corriere della Sera, Wired UK, the Open Data Institute (ODI), and more. Read more about how she transforms data into meaningful stories here.

The book “Cross-Cultural Design” by Senongo Akpem

From A Book Apart

Cross-Cultural Design, by Senongo Akpem. A Book Apart publishes detailed, meticulously edited examinations of single topics, and Senongo’s book is no exception. Here, he’ll guide you through a clear and accessible methodology for designing across cultures: from performing socially conscious research to building culturally responsive experiences. Use the code DESIGNMATTERS10 for a 10% discount.

Blush pro account

From blush.design

A Blush pro account. Creativity is something that lives inside of everyone, but sometimes we just need a little help unlocking it! Gift Blush to a designer who hasn’t yet uncovered her illustration talents. The tool is easy to use, affordable, super-fun, and most importantly: it helps people uncover their creative powers.

Knowledge, networking, and new friends

From Design Matters 22

Get all these things with a ticket to a Design Matters conference: an in-person or livestream ticket to Design Matters comes with a 1-year subscription to designmattersplus.io, a platform with hundreds of Digital Design talks and learning content for the avid learner. Alternatively, you can gift a subscription to designmattersplus.io

Analog gifts for digital talents

If your designer of choice is constantly in front of a screen, gifting something analog is going to be a much-appreciated detox. Pick the one that is most likely to make your person skip a heartbeat: 

Cyanotype kit

From Maine University

If you have an artsy designer who’s looking to find a new outlet for their creativity, a Cyanotype kit is for them. Cyanotype, for those who don’t know, is a photographic printing process that produces Prussian blue monochromatic prints. It’s a remarkably simple process that employs two inexpensive chemicals and sunlight/UV. Prints can be made on any natural fiber: paper, cotton, silk, wool, wood, etc. Pretty cool, right?

Graph paper

From uistencils.com

This handy graph paper with browser print will help the designer of your life to sketch out UI and website ideas.

A wide-angle camera

From Lomography

Lomography LomoApparat 21 mm Wide-angle Camera. If your designer is an artiste, go for a film camera like this that can take the bestest, trippiest psychedelic photos.

A kintsugi porcelain repair kit

From Unsplash

If you want to gift something more traditional, this Japanese classic will help your designer give new life to broken ceramics. Check out this Kintsugi porcelain repair kit.

Wavelength board game

From T3

The Wavelength board game is a lot of fun but will make your brain do some push-ups to help you become more creative with your thinking patterns. 

DIY gifts for humble wallets

You’re an adult, but can’t really adult. Or perhaps you’ve turned your back on capitalism and won’t buy gifts this Christmas, shocking a lot of people around you. No worries. We’ve got you covered with these ideas to impress your loved ones: 

Bake it til you make it

From Unsplash

Nothing says “I love you” like homemade cake or cookies. You will no longer be the broke person who doesn’t give. You’ll be the broke person who bakes. Here are some recipes

Use your talents

From Unsplash

Write that poem, sing that song, dress up and act your favorite part of Emily in Paris. Affection comes across big time when being ridiculous and corny. Put that bow on your forehead, you’re the gift!

Sex punch card 

From Unsplash

Good intentions are sweet. Good intentions plus sex are fantastic. This gift will not cost you a penny, but will probably be the most appreciated. Cut some paper and carefully draw a grid with spaces for different “gifts”. Write down your usuals but consider taking this opportunity to reach the next tantric level with your sweetheart.  Maybe the holy jolly mood brings to life the sadomasochistic session your better half has been waiting for. 

Handmade embroidery 

From Unsplash

You don’t need special skills to come up with something cute or funny that will bring a smile to your favorite designer. 

Gift your own stuff

From Unsplash

Aunt Marge gave you yet another scarf? Be the role model you were born to be. Reuse, Recycle, and Remember to make a new card. As long as it is not an obvious gift-recycling stunt, go for it. Mother nature (and your pockets) will thank you.

Extra ideas

Cover photo courtesy of Pierre Bamin

Discover all the design events and conferences by Design Matters! Seize the opportunity to learn from an amazing cast of international designers in a series of events - in January in Mexico City & Online, in June in Tokyo & Online, and in September in Copenhagen & Online.

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