This year has surely been a rollercoaster full of ups and downs, but if you’re feeling generous about the upcoming holiday season, we’ve put together the best design gifts 2021 has to offer. We’re committed to making you cut a fine figure in front of your friends, family and colleagues. So, to relieve some gift season stress and cut out the guesswork, we’ve listed 20 gift options for all budgets that will show them how much you care about them.
What you’ll find in this article:
• Gifts under 150$
• Gifts worth the splurge
• Eco-friendly gifts
Gifts under 150$
To keep the spirits high when the budgets are low
1. The Design Thinking Playbook & The Design Thinking Toolbox
The Design Thinking Playbook is an actionable guide that gives you the tools and frameworks you need to kick off a digital transformation. Design Thinking is about approaching things differently with a strong user orientation and fast iterations with multidisciplinary teams to solve wicked problems. This practical and visual book describes how Design Thinking is applied across a variety of industries. The Toolbox explains the most important tools and methods to put Design Thinking into action to help innovators master the early stages of the innovation process. It’s the perfect complement to the bestseller The Design Thinking Playbook. Like the Playbook, the Toolbook is also oriented towards the needs of the readers, and is based on the largest international survey on the use of Design Thinking.
2. Body Language Decoder by Martin Brooks
Do you have a friend or coworker who’s passionate about communication and psychology? If so, look no further! Learning to decode nonverbal communication is a powerful tool to help us understand other people’s thoughts and feelings, and it can help us make ourselves better understood too. There is so much to learn from the body language of those around us, and most of us aren’t even aware it exists. Body Language Decoder can help you to gauge more easily what a client or colleague is truly thinking (or even what your partner is truly feeling) — everyone should have a copy of the Body Language Decoder.
14.99£ at Laurence King
3. A design book from A Book Apart
Use the code DESIGNMATTERS21 to get 15% off any order at A Book Apart. Please note that the discount code expires on December 31, 2021.
4. Custom Embroidered Clothes by Bjorken Studio
How great would it be to see your design or photo embroidered on a piece of clothing? This studio based in Aarhus, Denmark, allows you to do so. Submit your photo, drawing, or design, select the embroidery style — detailed, semi-detailed, outline — and choose the garment you want; the studio will make your embroidery dreams come true. You can also wear your favourite song; the studio embroiders the Spotify code of any song you want, so that anyone can scan it and listen to it (see how it works here).
From 249 DKK at Bjorken Studio
5. The Working Day coloring book by Modern Toss
When you Google ‘coloring books’, the majority of the search results is made up of coloring books for kids and complex mandalas paired with words like “Calm” or “Mindfulness”. But how about hyper-relatable coloring books for adults that let you channel all your corporate stress and work frustrations? Modern Toss is a master at this. If the person on your list is feeling extra stressed, you can check out other coloring books by the same author: Mindlessness, The Weekend, and Mindless Violence.
7.99£ at Modern Toss (also available on Amazon)
6. Laser Projection Keyboard
This little device is a dreamy reality. It works with hologram laser projections of a keyboard; you just need a flat surface and the tiny gadget will provide you with a full-size keyboard for typing. Being smaller and easier to carry than a regular-sized portable keyboard, this present is perfect for designers and techies who often have to work on the go or in small spaces.
7. History Of Oaf Throw by Lazy Oaf
It’s holiday season and a lot of people are going to spend more time at home, cosying up on the sofa with a cup of tea at hand, watching a cheesy film or reading that book that was on the reading list for too long. What better way to complement this atmosphere than a unique and useful accessory? This throw, made of 100% cotton, is the perfect present that combines personality and function.
110£ at Lazy Oaf
8. Hues And Cues board game
What hue do you think of when one says ‘apple’? Hues and Cues is a vibrant board game of colorful communication where players are challenged to make connections to colors with words. Using only one and two-word cues, players try to get others to guess a specific hue from the 480 colors on the game board. The closer the guesses are to the target, the more points you earn. Since everyone imagines colors differently, connecting colors and clues in this game can spark really entertaining conversations. It goes without saying this is not recommended if you suspect the giftee is color blind.
9. Global Design Books by Counterprint
Surprise the graphic designer on your list with some beautifully designed books. This website, filled with architectural logos and global design elements, will give you plenty to choose from; from magazines to game typography, and from Japanese design books to travel guides, Counterprint offers some of the most aesthetically pleasing printed material you can discover on the web.
From 3.50£ at Counterprint
Gifts worth the splurge
For any design lover on your list who has been extra-good this year
1. Nuggets — Bite-size Behavioural Toolkit by Coglode
Elevate your design thinking from good to game-changing with Nuggets, Coglode’s sought-after behavioural science insights. Box One distills over 200 research papers into 36 powerful principles that help you better understand how people make decisions.
Join the Design Teams at Google, Apple and Deloitte who already use Nuggets to solve problems at a deeper, behavioural level.
Use the code NUGGETSMATTER for 20% off at Coglode.com
2. AI Ideation Cards by AIxDesign
Surprise a techie and help them start spotting opportunities for AI with this Card deck. The deck shows how AI can help solve problems for yourself, your users, team, and organisation. The AI Ideation Cards help designers, managers and innovators leverage AI capabilities available to us today for social, user & business value. The deck includes 24 colorful prompt cards with 100+ example use cases across 7 categories to use during brainstorm or ideation sessions. The cards are printed on 120×80 mm matte paper and come in a solid hardcover box all designed by Astrid Niari. If you’re not a fan of the printed version, there’s also a digital version.
Use the code DESIGNMATTERS15 to get 15% off any order at checkout at AIxDesign. That’s on top of the temporary holiday offers.
3. reMarkable Paper Tablet Digital Notepad and e-Reader
If you know an avid reader who loves technology, then the reMarkable Paper Tablet Digital Notepad and e-Reader may be the perfect choice for them. While it’s a little more expensive than a Kindle or Fire, the reMarkable comes with 100,000 pages that one can use to sketch, write, scribble — and read, of course. What makes this tablet stand out is that the pages feel like real paper, reducing any discomfort and avoiding any reflection issues that other tablets might have.
299$ /299€ at reMarkable
4. Adobe XD
Adobe XD helps you craft prototypes that look and feel like the real thing, so you can communicate your design vision to your team efficiently. It’s is a powerful and easy-to-use vector-based experience design platform that gives you what you need to craft experiences collaboratively. Whether you’re in the early stages of whiteboarding an idea, or putting the final touches on production ready designs, this tool comes with features to help you articulate those ideas efficiently and effectively. If you’re thinking about something your design team might appreciate, this is definitely on the list.
From 9.99$/month on Adobe
5. Domestika courses
Do something for that friend who is always looking to learn something new, and give them a course from Domestika — a fast-growing creative community where the best creative experts share their knowledge and skills through professionally produced online. Choose from a variety of categories, such as illustration, web & app design, writing, fashion, music & audio, and many more. The courses also cover each topic on different levels, from basic to pro. This is your chance to gift something useful and support your friends’ personal growth.
From 9.99$ at Domestika
6. Wix Website Builder
Empower someone you care about and let them express their creativity online with Wix. Building a website has never been easier! You’ll find lots of templates as well as many possibilities for customisation. Whether you want a space for total creative freedom or need to set up your website to start a business, this website builder is adaptable to all needs.
From 4.50€ /month at Wix.com
If you want to make a designer happy, you couldn’t think of a better gift than Sketch, the famous digital design platform. Sketch gives you all the tools you need for your design process — from early ideas to pixel-perfect artwork, playable prototypes and developer handoff.
9.00$/month at Sketch
For less-guilty giving
1. Window Solar Charger
This personal solar charger is one of the most exciting products exploiting the power of the sun. Easy to install, hang it in any window sill and connect it to any device with a USB port. It will make a great gift for anyone looking to use some green energy without a huge investment.
149$ at Group Hug Tech
2. Gromeo Self Watering Wall
This is the perfect gift for both plant aficionados and newbies. Hang Gromeo on the wall, add water every 2 weeks, and it will make your day more zen and in touch with nature. Gromeo comes in a variety of designs for different levels of light, but you can also get an empty one ready for you to plant whatever you wish. This will bring a touch of low-maintenance green to anyone’s house or office space.
From 299$ at Gromeo
3. Living Composter
Gifting a garbage bin — a design one, though !— could be seen as a bit of an misinterpretable move. Although, if you move past the meaning your loved ones might give to this item, you’ll soon realise how functional and useful it is. Plus, composting has never looked this chic! Minimalist and modern, this model can process more than two pounds of food a week. It’s also odorless, raising the bar on all composts seen before. In fact, the designers of this biomorphic ‘worm house’ collected data for almost two years and then created an algorithm to figure out the best shape for both worm health and human convenience.
199$ at Uncommon Goods
4. Bee’s Wrap Reusable Beeswax food wraps
Do you have friends or family wanting to go zero waste? Then these handy food wraps will finallt help them ditch single-use plastic — not only are these food wraps reusable (you wash them with soap and water), they’re also moisture-resistant and form a great seal to keep your food fresh.