‘Tis the season for stressing about what stuff to give people. (So many people, so much stuff! How to choose?!)
What to give the person that has everything…already bookmarked on their computer? How to surprise and delight the digital hermit in your life? What do you give a web designer for the holidays?
Never fear, the RKA DigiGift Guide is here! Gifts for the web designer you love. (And a few ideas for the web designer you feel lukewarm about!)
We’ve found that most gift guides for web designers are full of boring desk tools and work stuff we’d probably buy ourselves, anyway. That’s no fun! So, you can find desk accessories and iPad docks elsewhere. The gifts on this list are treats we’d love to receive but probably wouldn’t buy for ourselves.
1. MOLESKINE SMART NOTEBOOK
There’s nothing quite like hand-drawn notes and sketches, even with all the fancy stylus options graphic designers have today. I splurged on a Creative Stylus last year but when I needed to sketch, still found myself choosing the old fashioned way. The Moleskin Smart Notebook solves this. Your favorite web designer can sync their hand-drawn artwork directly to the Adobe Creative Cloud and then edit directly in Photoshop or Illustrator. Boom.
Laptop cases, as a general rule, are boring gifts. Except these. (I would not lead you astray!) Handmade in Oregon by Monica of Little Pigeon Crafts, these personalized laptop cases are too cute to be true, customizable with your web designer’s monogram + favorite colors. Little Pigeon Crafts also offers personalized computer bags, laptop sleeves, and tablet cases. Forget Things Remembered. If you want to go the monogram route, try Little Pigeon.
For the cold weather coders of the world, touch screen gloves keep fingers warm while you text. I’ll be home for Christmas in chilly Chicago this year and my loved ones can likely expect to find me cursing my phone as I desperately try to check Basecamp in the snow. Unless they read this gift guide and outfit me with fancy techno gloves, in which case I will have to find other things to curse about. (Don’t worry, guys! I’ll figure it out!)
Constraints is a deck of cards to help designers improve the way they handle web design problems. Yes, this gift is of an educational nature, so probably not the best fit for the web designer who prefers drinking games to Trivial Pursuit. That said, I’ve taken a peek at the cards and they look like fun to me! (I wave my geek flag with pride!) Bonus: these cards are a great excuse to close the ol’ computer and hold real live stuff in my hands. A plus for any digital professional with their head up their hard drive.
To my delight, there are seemingly endless t-shirt options for web designers, developers, and programmers. I could outfit myself all year in geeky code jokes that no one else understands. Sweet! But if I had to choose my favorite, this would be it. It almost needs no explanation. I don’t think I’ve ever had a professional rant with another web designer without Comic Sans find its way into the conversation. If you’re reading this gift guide and you don’t get the joke, don’t worry. Your web designer will. I promise.
See what I mean about wearable code jokes? Again, don’t fret if this necklace means nothing to you. It will mean the world to the web designer in your life who fears you don’t know what they do all day! Even if it’s true, fake it ’til you make it with a necklace that says “I know HTML!” Then ask your giftee to explain it to you. I guarantee you’ll at least crack a half smile!
7. PILLOWS FOR GEEKS
A gift only a geek could love: when I saw these gorgeous, geeky pillows I immediately began planning an office redesign so I could find a way to use them. Not to mention, they are lovingly handcrafted by Craftsquatch, a small Chicago biz (holler to my hometown!) run by a creative geek with a dream. As a small business owner myself, I love supporting homegrown biz whenever I can and I appreciate receiving gifts that benefit the small business economy.
Wearable smartphone charger that fools people into thinking I’m as fashionable as I am busy? Yes, please! The Q Bracelet is (understandably) on backorder. But it’s just so damn cool I couldn’t leave it off the list. If your web design darling is anything like me, their schedule is full, but their smartphone battery? Not so much. Q Bracelet to the rescue! (But can you shower in it? Asking for a friend.)
The perfect pair to that Moleskine Smart Notebook! Again, what I love about this gift is that it takes web design offline so I can remember what it feels like to be a human again. Now I have sweet visions of sugarplums and wire framing by the fire.
Pantone coffee cups are the ultimate gateway gift. I discovered today that you can literally decorate your entire kitchen in Pantone colors. This means you can give the designer in your life a Pantone gift for the next 25 Decembers and still have ideas left. Technically, this gift veers more towards graphic design than web design because Pantone colors are used in print, not on the web. Even so, it’s a great gift for color lovers and makes a lil’ ol’ web designer like me entertain big print dreams. Throw in a beverage warmer to seal the deal. (Solving the “I forgot to drink my coffee when it was hot!” epidemic.)
Okay, so I know I said this gift guide was for cool stuff a web designer might not otherwise buy herself, which disqualifies this gift, but I threw it in anyway as a bonus. If you haven’t already heard of The Grid, it is a terrifyingly powerful robot that purports to build websites instantly, using only magic and glitter. (And some other stuff I don’t understand.) The Grid has not been released yet, so you can still pre-order it for your favorite web designer and/or web design enemy (this thing looks both awesome and scary, guys) and make them a founding member. This one’s for the gift giver who likes to live on the edge, because it has equal power to delight or scare the shit out of the web designer you love.
When in doubt, go with Creative Market. Again, this gift is disqualified from the official list because most web designers I know are putty in Creative Market’s hands. We can’t spend enough money there. So before you stuff a $20 bill in a card and call it a day, consider Creative Market instead. It’s the ultimate crowd pleasing gift of design indulgence. And for extra credit points, say something insider-y in the message, like “Treat yourself to typography!” or “Go wild on WordPress!” It’s a guaranteed hit.