holiday gift guide

A Gift Guide for the Creative in Your Life

Having trouble shopping for the artist or photographer or graphic designer or web designer in your life? No worries. Let me help and suggest gifts that they will love! My wisdom is inspired by gifts that I would love or that I’ve received in the past that I’ve loved.

Gifts for Designers (Graphic + Web)

1.United By Blue’s Messenger Bag


United By Blue‘s new line of bags are classy, strong, and helpful to any designer. They fit laptops up to 15” comfortably, with room for notebooks, keys, ipod and sunglasses.

“Extra thick and extra rugged, waxed, 100% organic cotton canvas.  Real leather buckles and trims. Inside and outside zipper pockets.”

The best part of this gift? By purchasing this bag, you help United By Blue to remove 1 pound of trash from our world’s oceans & waterways. Give the gift of cleaner oceans this holiday season. Get it in Blue or Green in Mens or Womens.

2. Contour Design Sleeve, 15” Macbook Pro Sleeve

These laptop sleeves are simple and stylish for a very decent price. Many a designer knows how valuable it is to have a sleeve when your bag drops or bangs into something.

Why can’t that same sleeve be visually pleasing? This may require you knowing your designer’s preferences. But there are some options to choose from.

“This sleeve is printed with Contours own custom patterns on the outside and a solid color on the inside making changing looks as simple as flipping out. Protection against scratches and abrasions and with the contoured easy grip sewn into the bottom of the sleeve.” Get it here.

3. SeeThru SATIN for MacBook Pro

imageI realize this won’t be helpful for non-mac users, but if your creative is a mac user and they don’t already have a Speck Cover – get it now.

This specific cover is actually on my own personal wish list. I currently have a Speck SeeThru case which is the plastic version. While it’s served me well for 2 years I want to switch to satin, I’ve noticed it conforms better to the laptop and allows fewer dust particles to leak in between the case and the laptop. Also I’ve had parts of the plastic version break off of my laptop.

So obviously I’m featuring the SeeThru Satin case as a much better alternative. They give you multiple options of colors. It’s a must-have for any designer or creative who uses their Macbook seriously. Get it here.

4. The Ecosystem Architect Notebook


Specifically for the Web Designer in your life, I recommend The Ecosystem Architect Notebook.

If you don’t know why Ecosystem is the notebook of the future, check out my blog post about it. Otherwise all you need to know is it’s made from recycled materials and you can track where those materials came from and after you’re done you have the opportunity to recycle your used notebook.

Web Designers will love the Architecture notebook with it’s graph paper, small, light-weight and compact book that can travel in hand, small purse, and bags.

In the back, as in all the Ecosystem Notebooks, there is a pocket for storage so you never lose a single thing you want to keep with this book and the book mark thread helps you separate sections while the elastic close strap can keep your book closed and flat.

I’m a huge supporter of ecosystem life and a true believer in their message. I’m on my sixth one and I have used the ones I’m reviewing in this gift guide. Get it here.

5. WACOM’s Bamboo Create Tablet


Tablets might be one of the most thoughtful and useful gifts you could give to your designer, artist, or photographer. I’ve used a lower end Wacom tablet for 6 years now and I’ve loved it.

That’s why this might be one of the pricier items on this list, because it lasts.

Tablets help designers get more precise on their details than a normal mouse enables them to get. I know a bunch of artists and illustrators who swear on their Bamboo Tablets. And as a photo editor I treasure the precision I have when I use my tablet as well as the time I save with my ability to use the keyboard short cuts in conjunction with the tablet. Get it here. 

6. Scout Book’s Type Sketcher

imageIf your designer is more inclined towards Typography, or if they are studying Typography, this Type Sketcher is an excellent purchase for them.

A notebook that helps one sketch out their type structure concepts and helps them keep track of the important information associated with it.

This particular version is a set, “Cap height, ascender, bowl, serif, baseline: there are a lot of things to keep track of when designing letterforms! The Type Sketcher trio of pocket notebooks helps you stay on track as you design. This set features one book for uppercase, one book for lowercase, and one book for numerals, punctuation and symbols. Each book comes with a brief but informative guide to the basics of type design that serve as gentle guides for beginners and helpful reminders for seasoned type designers.”

Scout Books are made of 100% Recycled materials and are priced extremely well. Take a look at their website – you can also customize and design your own notebooks. Get it here.

7. Logology


Looking for the perfect coffee table, but useful book for your designer? This is it.

Not only is this a beautifully designed book, it features logos from all around the world and discusses them in detail.

In their own words: “Leather-bound on flexi-boards with blind-stamped designs and text front and back. 287 pp. Logology is a comprehensive and inspiring collection of logo design featuring two sections: Case Studies and the Logo Gallery.

The case studies provide detail on how logos are used and developed in the market from conception to final product. They also explore different processes and consider the work of large firms and of individual designers. An incredible wealth of contemporary and breathtaking design solutions from around the world are showcased in the Logo Gallery. The work is separated into three main categories: Typography, Icon, and Illustration. So let’s spread the pages and run into the wonderland of logo design.”

Get it here.

Gifts for Artists

1. The Non-Planner Datebook from ModCloth

Is your creative not great at keeping track of his or her life? Too busy enjoying the moment to plan the next?

Then this is the day planner for them. Not a stringent, exacting calendar – but one that they will live because it will speak to their spontaneity.

As ModCloth describes it, “this little log is lined with fun prompts, thought bubbles, and comical commentary that will keep you inspired and your pen moving!”

Give him or her the gift that will send your creative over the moon! Get it here.

2. The Ecosystem Artist


I’ve owned four versions of The Ecosystem Artist. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of these books is that you can customize it online. Or you can pick one up at any Barnes & Noble.

If you don’t know why Ecosystem is the notebook of the future, check out my blog post about it. Otherwise all you need to know is it’s made from recycled materials and you can track where those materials came from and after you’re done you have the opportunity to recycle your used notebook.

I use my Ecosystem Artist as my personal Journal and sketchbook as it is durable and light-weight. I also use it professionally as my notebook to keep me on track, for taking notes and sketching out concepts. I also find the back slot an amazing tool for keeping track of business cards and other paper documents which would usually end up in Narnia before I found them on my own. Get it here.

3. Mighty Wallet’s The Blank D.I.Y.

imageDoes your artist doodle on everything? Can’t seem to help him or herself? Here’s a great, affordable, fun gift that will help them get those doodle urges out.

Mighty Wallet has created a blank durable wallet that allows your artist to draw and personalize it to their hearts content.

“Because of the slim, lightweight and water resistant features, you can take these cool wallets anywhere. They make great “night out” wallets for a slender silhouette and the writable surface conveniently acts as a quick note pad on the go.”

Let your artist show-off their work on a daily basis. Get it here.

Gifts for Photographers

1. SLR Pinhole Lens from Photojojo

imageFor the frivolous photographer this pinhole lens cap can take any shot from simple to abstract, textured, and fun!

They really describe it best at Photojojo when they say

Slap this no-dust cap onto your Canon EOS or any Nikon DSLR (works on film SLRs also; no adapters needed!) and shoot through a most precisely made and perfectly round pinhole that has been precision cut using lasers. Yes, LASERS!!

As steady as our photog hand is, no pinhole poke will come close to this one. You’ll get just the right balance of light diffraction, which means your images will be even and free of warping with every photo you snap.

Plus, you can guarantee no evil little dust particles will get inside your camera! The pinhole is not an actual hole made by a pin (who’da thought?) but it’s actually an opaque film with a tiny clear area in the shape of perfectly round circle. These caps are super specially designed to protect your delicate digital sensor from dust ridden images. So clever, no?

Get it here.

2. The Bokeh Kit from Photojojo

imageOn a similar not to the pinhole, here’s a more playful and cheaper alternative to the pinhole in The Bokeh Kit.

You simply strap on the provided filters and allow a slew of fun shapes and colors to be captured with your camera!

“Bokeh (“blurred” in Japanese) is that beautiful out of focus blur that appears when your lens is set to a shallow depth of field. The Bokeh Kit actually turns those out of focus lights into any shape you place over your lens. It’s a whole new way of harnessing night-time light”

Photojojo has some excellent examples if you would like to preview the results here. This is the kind of gift you can be sure will stand out from the rest.

3. Photojojo’s Rare Film Pack

image Have that photographer friend who refuses to go digital? Or one who just simply finds nostalgic joy in shooting analogue film? This is beyond the perfect gift for him or her.

Photojojo explains their pack best, “Photojojo film: a magical stew made from unicorns and love, extruded by hand onto sustainable leprechaun hide by our super squad of organic robot ninjas.

The choice is clear. As if that wasn’t enough, our Film Gift Set contains 3 hard-to-find, imported 35mm films in an adorable, illustrated box. One high-speed color film, one crazy sepia-toned monochrome, and one full of dreamy rainbow lens flares. Astounding, no?

Presenting FUJI NATURA 1600, ROLLEI REDSCALE FILM, and REVOLOG KOLOR 400. These films are easy to shoot with and can be developed at any one-hour photo, so they’re perfect for film n00bs.”

Be the rare gift giver, get it here.

4. Camera Strap Buddy

imageA gift for the mobile and active photographer. This is a gift, that unless you’ve lugged a DSLR around your neck for hours you truly can’t appreciate.

Do you ever notice your photographer friend wrapping their camera strap in convoluted ways in order to keep the camera secure while remaining comfortable?

Yes? Well be a buddy and give a buddy this season.

This excellent gift is extremely affordable, a small but amazingly crucial detail that your friend might not realize until they’ve tried it out. Once they use it – you’ll be friend numero uno! Get it here.

5. Keyboard Shortcut Key Cover


For Photoshop, Aperature, and Final Cut Pro

Ever wonder how designers got to be so fast with their programs? They know the keyboard shortcuts. They are essential to working speedily. Give your photo editor a leg up and get them this super affordable and easily installed key cover.

This is a gift I’ve kept my eye on and hoped they’d make one for the entire Adobe Creative Suite, but this looks to be the best one for Photoshop out there. Get it here.

6.Canon CanoScan 9000F Color Image Scanner

imageAny photographer knows the necessity of an image scanner, preferably one with a negative scanning addition.

Canon offers this model, but I would recommend looking through their different models if you have a specific one in mind for your creative.

I put this in the photographer section, but this would be an excellent gift for any designer or artist for documentation purposes if nothing else.

As to this specific model: “Enjoy high-speed scanning for everything from photos to documents, to even 35mm film while also enjoying superb quality. The CanoScan 9000F scanner delivers an incredible maximum film scanning resolution of 9600x 9600 (Optical) dpi1 with built-in features that also make it easy to use.” Get it here.

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