Holiday Gift Guide 2011

Posted in Life, Reviews, Web Design, on

There’s only three weeks left until Christmas, but it’s not too late if you’ve been putting off shopping! Taking note from Sarah Parmenter’s gift guide from last Christmas, and the .net Magazine gift guide this Christmas, here are a few of my own recommendations on what to get the designer, illustrator, photographer, or general geek in your life.

For Web Designers & Developers

A Book Apart Holiday Bundle
A Book Apart

These books are a pure joy to read and belong on the shelf of any web designer. In fact, they probably already are on the shelf of the designer you’ve got in mind, so try to find out beforehand if these are needed in their collection. You can purchase them separately or save big on a set of six with their current holiday promotion.

Pixelworker Tees

These shirts are the unofficial uniforms of the unspoken alliance of web workers. Better hurry, although these shirts won’t be shipping in time for Christmas, once they’ve been sold out, they’ll be retired and won’t be printed again.

The Manual
The Manual

A beautifully crafted archive of insights on the maturing of design on the web. No tutorials or code here — the Manual is full of reflections, lessons, and inspiration, and will push you to change how you think about your work. It’s available in single issues, or save on a three-issue subscription. Did I mention how beautiful this book is? A must-have.

Typekit Subscription
Typekit Subscription

Typekit is a subscription-based library of web fonts built with web standards in mind. It’s an invaluable tool for every web designer. Although there’s no option to gift an account, why not offer to foot the bill for a year’s subscription? There are different pricing models available, so your designer can pick what’s best for their needs.

Web Conference Ticket
Conference Ticket

If you’re in the mood to splurge, this is the best gift money can buy for any web designer or developer. Although many conferences closer to Christmas (like New Adventures) have long been sold out, check out some of the upcoming dates in 2012. The world-class An Event Apart has seven dates, including Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Austin, Washington DC, Chicago, and San Francisco. There’s also the new Interlink workshops that will be hosted on various dates in Vancouver. And although no tickets are on sale yet, you can always give an IOU for conference tickets to Build or dConstruct, in the UK. As for getting there —  gift cards for your preferred airline would never go astray!

For Print Designers

Pantone Cufflinks
Pantone Cufflinks

Designers probably aren’t the first people that come to mind when you think of suits and ties, but for the rare occasion that dressy attire is needed, why not accessorise with some Pantone cufflinks? Available in 18 different colours.

Pantone Chips Journal
Pantone Journal

Keeping with the Pantone theme, check out this brand new Pantone chips journal available through the MoMA Design Store.

Box Bottle Bag
Box Bottle Bag

A lovely little hardcover book from Andrew Hibbs, curator of The Dieline, it includes over 140 examples of the world’s most beautiful and inspiring packaging design. Available from Amazon.

Type Coasters
Type Coasters

Although they may be a little impractical at catching drips, these coasters, made from laser-etched mature bamboo, will never look out of place underneath your favourite designer’s coffee mug.

Lost Type Co-op Fonts
Lost Type Co-op Fonts

Let’s face it, designers love typography and more fonts are always welcomed! This co-op of type designers, founded by offers fonts that are priced with a pay-what-you want model. Each type designer gets 100% of the donations paid. It’s Christmas, so be generous when purchasing them, okay?

For Illustrators

Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet
Wacom Tablet

If you’re looking for a gift for a digital illustrator, it’s likely that they already have a Wacom tablet. If not, and you’re in the mood to splurge, you can’t go wrong with the Intuos 4. It’s a big step above the casual Bamboo tablet, but not as luxurious (or expensive) as the Cintiq touchscreens. There’s also an Intuous carrying case if your illustrator is on the go often.

Wacom Bamboo iPad Stylus + Sketchbook Pro
Bamboo Stylus and Sketchbook Pro

Sketchbook Pro is hands down the best drawing and painting app I’ve used on the iPad. Combine this app with a stylus like the Wacom Bamboo, and suddenly the iPad is converted into a surprisingly capable digital canvas. Also, check out the NomadBrush for a creative tool that simulates real painting (as long as you aren’t doing anything too detailed!)

Copic Markers
Copic Markers

Copic Markers are some of the highest quality markers available and are widely used in Japanese manga especially. They’re available in hundreds of colours, various widths and sizes, and feature replaceable nibs and refillable ink.

ImagineFX Magazine Subscription

ImagineFX is one of the best magazines I’ve seen for digital illustrators. It’s heavily focused on fantasy and science fiction themed artwork, and it’s packed with tutorials, interviews, inspiring portfolios and much more. Available as a print or digital subscription.

Palomino Blackwing Pencils & Sketchbooks
Palomino Blackwing Pencils

These pencils are as close to luxury as pencils might ever get. The Palomino Blackwing was launched as a modern version of the iconic Eberhard-Faber Blackwing pencil that was favoured by artists such as Stephen Sondheim and Frank Lloyd Wright. Check out the sketch kit bundle, or the more affordable 12 pack gift set. Also available are beautiful artist series sketchbooks.

For Photographers

Lomography Keychains

These adorable little keychains will look perfect on any camera bag or purse. Full set of eight! Each comes in a reusable tin film canister.

Polaroid Camera Print
Camera Print

This would look great in any photographer’s home! Choose your own colour background. Each print is signed by the artist.

Kelly Moore Photography Bags
Kelly Moore Camera Bags

Wait, what? A photo bag that isn’t made from ugly black canvas with velcro and plastic? It’s true — check out these lovely camera bags for the ladies — great for carrying your gear to an event where something a little stylish would look more appropriate. There’s bags for the guys, too.

Lens Cap Strap Holder
Lens Cap Strap Holder

Stop wasting time looking for missing lens caps with these clever and cute little holders that slide onto your camera’s neck strap. Available in different sizes for all of your lenses!

B&H Photo Gift Card
B&H Photo Gift Card

If you can’t decide what to get the picky photographer on your list, head over to B&H and buy a gift card — this store has absolutely everything a photographer would ever need or want. If you’re in Manhattan, be sure to drop by the superstore and snack on the free kosher candy and pretzels while you shop!

For General Geeks

Star Wars Moleskines
Star Wars Moleskines

It seems like the Star Wars series goes hand in hand with designers and other creative people. These limited-edition Moleskines are available in two sizes (notebook and sketchbook) with ruled pages or plain pages. Available from The Paperie.

Freelance Ain’t Free Tee
Freelance Ain't Free

Freelance Ain’t Free, and neither is this shirt, so support the folks who came up with this great design and buy it for the freelancer on your list.

Pack & Smooch Accessories
Pack & Smooch

I’ve had my Pack & Smooch iPad sleeve for a few months now, and I absolutely love it. The merino wool is durable and not at all like cheap felt. Next on my want list is a matching sleeve for my iPod! If you’re looking for something similar but slightly more masculine in design, there’s also the hard graft brand, which is comparable in price and equal in quality.

Roll-Up Travel Charger
Roll-Up Travel Charger

This little charger not only looks great, but charges up to four devices simultaneously. The connectors are compatible with iPods, iPhones and iPads, as well as Mini USB, Micro USB, and Samsung devices.

Natural USB Memory Sticks
USB Memory Stick

A clever take on the term “memory stick”, these little guys are made from hand-selected wood, so no two are alike. Available in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities.

What’s on your wishlist this holiday season?

Photo of Geri Coady

About Me

I’m Geri Coady — a designer and illustrator from St. John’s, Newfoundland — now living in Nottingham, UK. I've got an eye for detail, a passion for the web, and I'm ready to work with clients worldwide. Want to learn more?


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Great post! I love it :D

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Must. buy. all. of. these......for myself of course....

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Those are some pretty cool gift ideas, thanks for the help. I always dread looking for gifts, I'm not very good at it.

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