The 50+ Best Gifts For Designers On Every Budget


50+ Best Gifts for Designers on Every Budget

Designers are creative professionals who use their artistic talents to communicate ideas visually. Whether in graphic design, industrial design, interior design, or other specialities, designers rely on inspiration, software, tools, and technology to bring their visions to life.

Choosing gifts for the designer in your life can be fun yet challenging. With so many products catering to creative fields today, knowing what they might truly enjoy and appreciate is tough. This guide covers ideas to inspire you, from functional gear to motivational books and beyond. We’ll explore gifts in a variety of price ranges, too.

Let’s dive in and unwrap the best gifts for designers!

Inspirational Books for Designers

Books make classic gifts because they entertain, educate, and inspire. Visual books full of artwork, photography, and graphic techniques often provide the most value for designers. Here are the top picks in this category:

Art and Design Books

From modern to contemporary works, art books give designers eye candy to admire and draw ideas from. Some examples:

  • Taschen’s The Art Book: A visual dictionary covering 500 influential artists and their most famous pieces from medieval times to today.
  • Imagine Architecture: Explores creative architectural drawings from around the globe, organised by architectural style. Features Le Corbusier, Zaha Hadid, and other big names.
  • Flexibound art books like those in Penguin’s Great Ideas, Modern Classics, or Modernist series on art movements and famous creators.

Graphic Design Inspiration

Graphic designers gather concepts from diverse sources of visual inspiration. These publications showcase branding, typography, layouts, colours, photos, and illustrations in unique ways:

  • Annuals like Communication Arts’ Design Annual and Print’s Regional Design Annual, which catalogue designs winning significant awards yearly.
  • Types of Images by Philip Meggs examines how to use photos, illustrations, symbols, and more for maximum communication impact.
  • Graphic: 500 Designs that Matter offers historical examples of influential graphic design and advertising pieces.
Sale


Graphic: 500 Designs that Matter

  • Hardcover Book
  • Phaidon Editors, Phaidon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 708 Pages – 03/13/2017 (Publication Date) – Phaidon Press (Publisher)

Photography Books

Stunning photography coffee table books give designers beautiful images to appreciate and analyse:

  • Genesis by Sebastiao Salgado is an epic collection of nature/wildlife black and white photos shot over eight years across Africa, Antarctica, the Americas, and beyond.
  • Annie Leibovitz published retrospectives like Annie Leibovitz at Work featuring her famous portraits of celebrities and pop culture icons.
  • National Geographic’s Greatest Landscapes captures unique terrains across seven continents.

Practical Tools & Supplies

Designers rely on specialised tools and supplies to create their best work. Smart accessory gifts can save money while making work more efficient and enjoyable.

Digital Tools

Digital tools help designers manipulate images and graphics, create diagrams, design user interfaces, and more:

  • Graphics tablets like those made by industry leaders Wacom and Huion allow illustrators to “draw” digitally with more control and precision. Tablets range widely in features, size, and price ($50 to $500+).
  • “Asset libraries” provide designers with limitless graphics, templates, fonts, photos, and vectors for project use. Top names include Adobe Stock (part of Creative Cloud plans) and Shutterstock. Gift a subscription so they can download 100+ assets per month.
  • Icon libraries like Icons8 and Iconfinder give instant access to stylish, modern icons for mobile/web interfaces and digital illustrations. Access over 150,000 icons in diverse styles for under $20/month.

Must-Have Supplies

Supplying designers with high-quality tools and materials to fuel their craft is always a winning approach. Consider gifts like:

Sketchbooks & Journals

  • Leather or linen-wrapped sketchbooks for urban sketching or collecting inspiration
  • Monogrammed or customised notebooks for jotting down ideas
  • Speciality sketchbooks featuring French paper or marker bleed-resistant pages

Drawing Tools

  • Drawing tablets like those from Wacom or iPads with Apple Pencil styluses
  • Gold or chrome technical drawing pens by brands like Staedtler or Rotring
  • Premium coloured pencils like Caran d’Ache Luminance or Derwent Lightfast
Sale


ROtring Isograph Pen Set Technical Pen & Pencil College Set 3 Pens (0.20mm, 0.30mm, 0.50mm) and Mechanical Pencil (0.5mm) + Accessories

  • Isograph Set 4 with pen stations. 4 Isograph pens, 4 pen stations, 1 bottle of ink 23ml, 1 compass attachment, 1 stencilling joint
  • Isograph Master Set. 3 Isograph pens, 1 Tikky mechanical pencil 0.5, 12 HB leads, 1 B20 eraser, 1 Centro compass, 1 bottle of ink 23ml, 1 compass attachment
  • Isograph College Set. 3 Isograph pens, 1 Tikky mechanical pencil 0.5, 12 HB leads, 1 B20 eraser, 1 bottle of ink 23ml, 1 compass attachment
  • Isograph Junior Set. 3 Isograph pens, 1 Tikky mechanical pencil 0.5, 4 ink cartridges. Refillable ink reservoirs ideal for frequent use
  • Refillable ink reservoirs ideal for frequent use

Paints & Brushes

  • Japanese calligraphy or sumi ink sticks with natural hair brushes
  • Watercolour palettes from Sennelier or Daniel Smith for mixing custom hues
  • Acrylic paint sets with many vibrant colours

Other Supplies

  • Geometric stencils, sculpting tools, sticker sheets, washi tape, glues, or speciality erasers that inspire new techniques

Art supplies make great gifts for nearly every budget, from just $10 for simple sketchbooks to $400+ for state-of-the-art drawing tablets.

Useful Tech Gadgets

Design involves translating ideas digitally today. Help designers level their game with practical tech gifts tailored to the profession. Useful gadgets come in all shapes and sizes:

Mobile Tools

Tablets and 2-in-1 devices maximise portability for designers when creating mockups, presenting work, live painting, and tinkering with ideas on the go:

  • The iPad Pro 12.9 dominates as the industry leader thanks to its stunning Liquid Retina XDR display, Apple M2 chip power, Apple Pencil 2 integration, and robust creative app ecosystem. It offers desktop-class performance in an ultra-portable tablet form.
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 8 – Microsoft’s 2-in-1 detachable notebook alternative features similar power specs in a thinner form ideal for drawing, presenting or editing graphics while travelling.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra rivals both above with its stunning 14.6″ AMOLED screen at 2960×1848 resolution, S Pen integration, DeX mode for PC-style productivity, plus cellular connectivity. The large canvas excels for digital art.
Bestseller No. 1


iPad Pro3 11in 128GB Silver WiFi

  • Apple M1 chip for next-level performance
  • Stunning 11-inch Liquid Retina display with ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color
  • TrueDepth camera system featuring Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage
  • 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide camera, and LiDAR Scanner for immersive AR
  • Stay connected with ultrafast Wi-Fi

Focused Tools

Specialty gadgets streamline specific tasks designers regularly perform. Consider these targeted tools:

  • Drawing tablets like the budget Wacom One and iPad-connectable Wacom Intuos Pro enable precision input for illustrating, photo editing, animation, 3D modelling, and more. Available in wireless models up to ~15” in size.
  • 3D printers bring product prototypes and models to life. Leading consumer brands include Creality and Anycubic printers, offering large build volumes, reliability and wireless printing capabilities. Prices range widely from ~$175 to $700+.
  • Large external monitors give designers extra screen real estate critical for tasks like video editing, 3D animation, and app prototyping. Great options start around $250. Consider curved ultra-wide models for maximum immersion.
  • Video doorbells allow designers to capture photos and videos on location for branding projects ranging from real estate to retail. Leading options like Ring Video Doorbell 4 and Nest Doorbell allow quick mobile streaming.

Stylish Accessories

Even creative pros need some fashion and function in their lives! Here are designer-approved accessories sure to impress:

Bags

Chic camera and laptop bags keep gear safe during work travels in savvy style:

  • DSPTCH bags designed specifically for photographers, creatives, and techies feature rugged materials, modular additions like camera straps and pockets, and ultra-clean styling. Prices run from $100 to $230+.
  • Peak Design makes perhaps the most functional (and stylish) camera/work bags, featuring weatherproof zippers, flexible interior dividers, and strap systems that quickly adapt bags from backpacks to messengers—styles available for laptop sizes up to 16 inches.
  • Sleek leather messenger bags from ONA offer protection and elegance with models specifically designed for MacBooks, iPads, cameras, and Nintendo Switches.

ONA The Rockaway Canvas Sling Camera Bag (Smoke Waxed)

  • MAIN COMPARTMENT: A large main compartment that fits a DSLR or mirrorless camera and up to two lenses
  • DESIGN: Designed to be worn across the back and swung around in one motion
  • REMOVABLE DIVIDERS: Two removable dividers for everyday use
  • THREE ZIPPERED:Three zippered pockets add additional organization and capacity

Organisational Tools

Clever organisers allow designers to arrange desks, files, and devices neatly and carry items:

  • Shelf inserts from top furniture maker Grovemade add sleek wooden storage to tame cables, pens, notebooks, and other desktop items. It sold for $30 to $100 apiece.
  • Orbitkey makes the gold standard of modular, stashable keychains and organiser pouches tailored for EDC fans. Available in leather, stainless steel and glow-in-the-dark colourways for $40 to $80+.
  • Bellroy is renowned for its minimalist wallets, device cases, folios, and organiser travel kits featuring environmentally friendly leather in various muted, sophisticated hues. Prices run from $30 for cardholders to $100+ for work folios.

Wearables

Fun watches, jewellery, and other statement pieces give designers personalised flair:

  • Playful Urbanista headphones feature on-trend colours and materials like rose gold finishes, woven textiles, and marbleised effects. Over-ear and genuine wireless earbud options start around $100.
  • Polaroid Originals watches offer an instantly recognisable throwback style with 1970s-inspired analogue/digital quartz faces enclosed in coloured plastic composite cases and sold on fabric straps for under $50.
  • Etsy shops provide endless options for statement jewellery like pendant necklaces, cuff bracelets, rings, and earrings pulled from vintage shops, flea markets, and indie designers worldwide. Prices vary wildly, but expect to pay $25 to $150 for most quality designer pieces.

Gift Certificates

When in doubt, gift certificates make welcome presents so designers can pick their gear. Top shops catering to creative pros include:

  • B&H Photo and Video: America’s most extensive photography, video, audio and content creation gear retailer also offers generous gift cards redeemable on almost any tech product imaginable. Available from $25 to $500.
  • Adorama: Similar selection to B&H with gift cards from $10 up.
  • Blick Art Materials: Perfect for fine artists and illustrators seeking traditional tools and supplies like paint, brushes, paper, easels and more. Issues gift cards from $10 to $500.
  • Michaels is the top source for DIY craft supplies, albums, frames, baking tools, and more. Sells gift cards from $5 to $500, usable in stores or online.
  • Apple Gift Cards: Ideal for Mac addicts needing apps, entertainment, subscriptions, iCloud storage or even Apple hardware—certificates from $25 to $2,000.

Participating credit card rewards programs like those from Chase, Citi, Capital One, Bank of America and American Express allow cardholders to redeem points for merchant gift cards. Most support major chains like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Home Depot, etc. Along with brand-specific certificates to leading stores.

Check if designers belong to particular loyalty programs supporting gift cards before buying retail chain certificates they cannot use. When uncertain, Visa and Mastercard branded gift cards work universally anywhere credit cards are accepted, so make solid backup gift ideas.

Designer Decor

Working From Home Office Tips

Surround designers with gorgeous aesthetic inspiration in their own home or workspace by gifting:

Wall Art Prints & Tapestries

  • Limited edition art prints from brands like Society6 or Minted show diverse creative styles
  • Photo tapestries depicting architecture, nature scenes, or geometric textures as backdrops
  • Framed works featuring historical designers like Charles and Ray Eames or Alexander Girard

Sculptural Objects

  • Sleek tabletop sculptures in materials like concrete, ceramic, glass, steel or wood
  • Geometric bookends, planters or organising bins add visual interest to shelves.
  • Small desk sculptures like atom models, animal shapes or monument miniatures

Functional Accents

  • Throw pillows, blankets or rugs, bringing pops of colour and cosy textures
  • Unique coffee mugs, cups, or glassware add sculptural shapes to daily rituals
  • Wool felt letter boards for curating inspirational quotes and mantras

Designer home gifts range from $25 for throw pillows to $200+ for limited-edition art prints or glass sculptures. Supporting independent artists allows customisation.

Experiential Gifts

Graphic Design Seminar Conference

Experiential gifts give designers opportunities to recharge their creativity or expand their skills. Consider gifting:

Creative Classes

  • Local in-person or online workshops related to calligraphy, photography, pottery painting, floral design or abstract painting taught by working artists

Museum Memberships

  • Annual membership for entries to a museum with solid design exhibits like New York’s Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Design Conferences & Events

  • Tickets to creative conferences like Adobe Max or HOW Design Live featuring lectures, networking meetups and cutting-edge tech demos

Design Tours

  • Architecture tours like visits to Fallingwater, the Farnsworth House, Taliesin West or downtown Chicago skyscrapers
  • Private gallery tours meet local artists and gain behind-the-scenes perspectives on how pieces are made.

Studio Time

  • Gift certificates for ceramics painting studios, maker spaces with 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC machines, or shared co-working venues.

Experiential gifts get creative juices flowing with new knowledge and hands-on-making opportunities. Prices range from $15 for online classes to $500+ for multi-day design conferences.

Specialty Gifts

Ampersand Socks Gift For Designers

For a truly one-of-a-kind gift, consider browsing independent makers, commissioning custom pieces made just for your recipient, or crafting gifts yourself. Some ideas:

Custom Apparel & Accessories

  • Monogrammed aprons, hats, scarves or jackets from brands like Leather Head Sports featuring the designers’ initials or logo
  • Custom fabric panels for face masks, bandanas, pocket squares or bowties featuring original printed patterns

Personalised Leather Goods

  • Engraved leather portfolios, zippered pouches or wallets for storing business cards and other essentials
  • Tool rolls or pencil cases are monogrammed with initials to keep supplies organised.

Sentimental Decor Items

  • Framed pressed flower art preserving bouquet blooms given at gallery openings or new job celebrations
  • Photo blankets, canvases, mugs or puzzles featuring treasured memories with friends, pets or mentors
  • Hand-sculpted decorative plaques or paperweights engraved with inspirational sayings

For crafty gift-givers, virtually any essential gift can transform into a personalised treasure by adding engraved initials, cherished photos or handmade flourishes. The sentiment is sure to melt any designer’s heart.

Gift Ideas By Designer Type

Logo Designer Vs Logo Design Agency

While all designers value creative inspiration and high-quality tools, gifts can target specific niches like:

Gifts for Graphic Designers

Responsible for crafting logos, publications, posters, packaging and branding, graphic designers appreciate gifts that speak to their visual communication expertise. Top picks include:

  • Typography books like “Thinking with Type” explore font history and form
  • Swiss design books documenting the clean, grid-based International Style
  • Vintage poster prints from brands like Posterazzi
  • Desktop light boxes for photographing 3D work
  • Subscription to Adobe Font service Adobe Fonts
  • Vector drawing & digital illustration apps like Adobe Illustrator or Procreate
  • A classic Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Gifts for Interior Designers

Interior designers shape aesthetic, functional spaces like homes, offices and hospitality venues. They’ll welcome gifts like:

  • Tile, textile or wallpaper sample sets to experiment with finishes
  • Coffee table books filled with room photos for inspiration
  • Subscription box delivering monthly samples of new furnishings and decor
  • Digital tools like the smartphone 3D scanning app Polycam for creating spatial renderings
  • Neutral throw pillows, vases or trays as canvases for material collages
  • Frame showcasing initial concept drawings for a favourite project
  • Tickets to a local Parade of Homes showcase or design industry trade show

Gifts for Fashion Designers

Fashion designers artfully craft clothing and accessories or oversee production. Gift them items including:

  • A personalised dress form for draping and fitting new designs
  • Tickets to a historical fashion exhibit at a local museum
  • Coffee table book featuring runway looks or vintage photography
  • Drawing materials for sketching garments like croquis templates, French curves, tracing paper and illustration pens
  • Speciality sewing tools like pinking shears, seam rippers, hand needles or thread snips
  • Sample fabric swatches, leather hides or faux furs
  • Niche magazines like Vogue, Marie Claire or Women’s Wear Daily cover the biz

Gifts for Textile Designers

Textile designers create intricate fabrics, carpets, tapestries and prints for fashions or furnishings. They’ll geek out over:

  • Weaving, embroidery, knitting or quilting classes teach new techniques
  • Ultraviolet black lights for viewing special dyes and prints
  • Kits for natural dyeing using plant-based pigments
  • Book on historic patterns and motifs from around the world
  • Subscription box delivering yarn, threads or fabric samples monthly
  • Portfolio case for transporting delicate works in progress
  • Unique notions like hand-carved buttons, embroidered lace, tassels and speciality trims incorporate

Gifts for Industrial Designers

Industrial designers specialise in mass-produced consumer products’ form, usability, production and branding. Help them ideate with the following:

  • 3D printing pens allow quick prototyping of product models
  • Ergonomic assessment tools like anatomically correct hand models for evaluating grip and function
  • Backpack filled with unusable everyday products to disassemble and analyse
  • Biography or documentary about an iconic product designer like Dieter Rams or Greta Magnusson Grossman
  • Toy design kits with moulding clay, small parts and tools
  • Protective phone case plastered in “Fragile!” stickers to prevent damaging sketches and product samples

Gifts for UX/UI Designers

UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) designers craft digital products like apps, websites and software. Help them elevate user interactions with gifts like:

  • A book exploring psychology principles like cognitive biases and perceptual errors that impact design
  • Courses teaching prototyping programs like Figma, Adobe XD or InVision Studio
  • External webcam allows user testing and observation even on tablets and slim laptops
  • Subscription to on-demand user research services like UserTesting.com, offering instant visitor feedback
  • Echo Dot smart speaker to demonstrate conversational UI capabilities
  • Notebook with pages specially dotted for sketching application flows and wireframes
  • Stress balls shaped like familiar frustrating interfaces (hourglass cursor! buffering wheel!) for comic relief

Best Gifts for Designers By Price

With so many gift ideas for designers featured already, this guide summarises options across all budgets. Whether you can spend $10 or $500+ with creative, design-focused gift ideas sure to delight, we’ve got you covered.

Under $25

  • Pocket-size softcover sketchbook
  • Fancy sculptural pen or mechanical pencil
  • Enamel pin featuring design icons or jokes
  • Typography, colour theory or geometry reference charts
  • A mix of designer stickers for journals & tablets
  • Cool architectural eraser set
  • Quirky yarn bowl or geometric planter for desk
  • Sleek multi-tool for opening packages & minor repairs
  • Quarterly print magazine subscription
  • Digital Procreate brush or Adobe Creative Cloud asset download

Under $50

  • Hardcover book surveying specific design discipline
  • Premium sketching or notebook set
  • Swanky leather pencil case or holder
  • Unique water bottle, travel mug or lunchbox to brighten office visits
  • Cosy graphic design or decoration-themed socks
  • Photo calendar filled with their work
  • Gift cards for art supplies or book shopping sprees
  • Tickets to a local exhibit, lecture or workshop
  • Subscription box delivering monthly product design surprises

Under $100

  • Specialty drawing tablet for digital art
  • Sleek pocket journal wrapped in fine materials
  • Stylish backpack with protective pockets for devices & books
  • High-end wireless Bluetooth mouse
  • Fancy throw pillow with contrasting textures & colours
  • Uber Eats gift card for all those late design session dinners
  • Apple Pencil for iPad illustration & photo editing
  • Nintendo Switch allowing mindless Mario Kart breaks
  • Registration for online conferences and virtual workshops

Under $250

  • Gorgeous coffee table book doubling as decor
  • Limited edition art print from a favourite designer or independent artist
  • iPad packed with drawing & design apps
  • The latest external hard drive backed up in advance
  • Coveted designer brand accessories – Gucci sketchbook! Moleskine x Vitra notebook!
  • Ticket + Travel to a design museum or exhibition
  • High end color-accurate compact monitor
  • Ergonomic drafting table providing perfect surfaces for traditional illustration
  • Cricut machine for DIY custom fabric printing & shirt-making

Splurges Over $500

  • Lightning-fast laptop or tablet built for graphics work
  • Top-of-the-line Wacom graphics drawing tablet
  • Leather messenger bag or backpack with space for multiple devices
  • Herman Miller or Vitra designer chairs bringing iconic style to home offices
  • Multi-day pass to a cutting-edge design conference
  • High-resolution desktop screens for editing photography and video
  • Studio lighting kit for perfectly photographing products & designs
  • Laser engraving or CNC fabrication machine for making customs gifts and furniture
  • International design tour visiting studios, factories, retail spaces & museums

Conclusion

Finding that perfect present for the creative person in your life might seem challenging…but it doesn’t have to be! This guide provided nearly 40 tailored gift recommendations spanning books, tools, tech gadgets, accessories, gift cards, and more, sure to delight artistic personalities.

The gifts above range from modest stocking stuffers under $30, like notebook sets, all the way up to aspirational splurges over $500, such as professional drawing tablets and 3D printers. With so many choices featured, you now possess insider knowledge for discovering designer gifts guaranteed to inspire and empower your talents in the new year!

5 Top FAQs About Gifts for Designers

Here are answers to common questions shoppers have about purchasing presents for designers and creative pros:

Are Apple or Android devices better for designers?

Most designers prefer Apple devices for their seamless ecosystem, leading creative apps ecosystem, and robust hardware/displays optimised for graphical work. iPads and MacBook Pros dominate in this field. However, Windows convertible tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro series offer solid alternatives, too, thanks to their pen support and ability to run critical Adobe CC programs.

What’s the best tablet for designers?

The iPad Pro 12.9” (2021 edition) stands as today’s definitive choice thanks to its stunning Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED screen, Apple M2 processing power, abundant storage options up to 2TB, all-day battery life exceeding 10 hours, and seamless Apple Pencil 2 integration. Models start around $1,100 and are configurable up to $2,400 with max specs.

What creative gifts do designers want most?

Designers most appreciate presents that inspire ideas visually (like books/magazines), enhance productivity (new gear/tech), or simplify daily tasks (workflow tools). Useful splurges like powerful mobile workstations, graphics tablets, digital asset subscriptions, and feature-packed bags/cases ought to delight. Don’t overlook fun, personalised statement pieces or organisational items either!

What luxury gifts impress designers?

High-end Apple devices fully loaded with storage like 2TB iPad Pros or 16″ MacBook Pros ($3,000 to $6,500)
Professional pen/touchscreen devices such as $400+ Wacom drawing tablets or $2,500+ Microsoft Surface Studio rigs
Fujifilm GFX medium format cameras and lenses (over $10,000 for complete kits)
High-quality colour-accurate monitors from BenQ, Eizo, LG, Asus, or Dell spanning 27 to 32+ inches for $800 to $5,000
Leatherwork accessories from Killspencer, Lotuff Leather, Frank Clegg or Custom Hide hitting $1,000+
Luxury business class international airfare for two so they can visit design hubs abroad or attend events like Milan Design Week

What tech items help designers the most?

Fast portable devices like MacBook Pros, iPads or Surface Pros for creating/presenting anywhere
Drawing tablets enable flawless digital illustration and manipulation
Large high-DPI 4K+ monitors expand the workspace
Advanced machines for 3D, video editing and animation, like iPad Pros
Top creative apps via Adobe Creative Cloud plans
Digital asset/icon libraries facilitating graphic design work
Mobile workstations to capture real-world visual inspiration on location
Cloud backup services protecting irreplaceable asset libraries and WIPs

Last update on 2024-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API



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