Holiday Gifts for Creative Pros

It’s that time once again to compile that gift list for all the designers, geeks, creatives, and artsy folk in your life. Whether they are type nerds, gearheads, daydreamers, or devoted design artisans you’ll find something to please them. And if one of these awesome items isn’t right for anyone on your list, let me give you a suggested recipient: ME! I’m a giving person like that. Now, without further ado, let’s check out the goods!

Cotton Carrier DSLR Strap – $20
Keep a grip on your DSLR with the Cotton Carrier hand strap. It attaches easily to your camera and can even be left on when using your DSLR with a tripod or a quick-release plate. The hand strap lets you go from tripod to hand-held without missing the shot.
Cotton Carrier DSLR hand strap
Grids and Guides – A Notebook for Visual Thinkers – $17
If someone on your gift list is into grids and charts and writing notes, this little notebook has it all! Touted as the notebook for visual thinkers, the Grids & Guides notebook features 144 pages of eight different repeating grids for drawings, notes, calculations, daily to-dos, or storyboards. As a bonus for both left- and right-brainers, there are charts, infographics, and the periodic table of the elements peppered throughout.
Grids and Guides notebook
I Dream in CMYK T-shirt – $26
Have a die-hard print fan on your list? While I silently raise my hand in solidarity, let me direct your attention to this t-shirt that proclaims that the wearer does, indeed, eat, breathe, and sleep in the world of CMYK. Because the art of trapping color is a dying art (would that be a dyeing art in this case?), might I suggest going with the white shirt to avoid any trapping issues.
I Dream in CMYK t-shirt
Mac Caddy – $30
As much as we like to pretend we live in a wireless, portable world, the fact is that we still have so much tech and all the clutter that comes with it. The Mac Caddy is a current Kickstarter campaign that aims to help clean up your desk space a bit. The simple plastic caddy fits nicely balanced on the slim iMac and features a removable pencil holder insert. The sides are split for running a phone charger cable through and the front of the caddy even has a removable webcam cover for that extra bit of low-tech security.
Mac Caddy for iMac
Minipresso Espresso Machine – $60
For the creative pro who is torn between finishing up that “one last modification, I swear” and running out to fuel the upcoming late-night design session, think small. Designed by Hugo Calllieton for MoMA, the Minipresso is the perfect solution to whip up an espresso while hardly taking your hands off your stylus. It’s small and ultraportable, which makes it the easy choice for throwing into a computer bag and toting it to work.
Minipresso espresso maker
BookArc Stand for MacBook – $50
The BookArc stand saves desk space by storing your MacBook Pro on its side. If you’re not used to working in closed mode, this might seem like a foreign concept. To people like myself who use an external monitor with a closed laptop, this beautiful spacesaver seems just the ticket. The BookArc comes in two colors to match your MacBook finish and has three inserts for a snug fit, no matter which (newer) MacBook Pro you have.
BookArc laptop stand
Minimalism Storybook Prints – $17 and up
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, but who doesn’t love a minimalist poster? I love the idea of distilling down a work to a core element or two and depicting it in a simplified manner. Christian Jackson’s set of minimalist children’s books posters deliver this concept in a well-designed package. Choose from a wide range of sizes—often with odd cropping—on materials such as canvas, wood, metal, even as greeting cards.
Minimalist Posters
Photography at MOMA – $75
There really is no better medium for large collections of great photography than a hefty coffee table book. Photography at MoMA: 1960 to Now compiles the best of the museum’s photography collection from the second half of the 20th century into their latest volume on the art form. The book’s eight chapters come alive in the full-color plates as well as with the essays that introduce each chapter and the in-depth introduction. Photography at MoMA is the picture-perfect gift for the shutterbug on your list.
Photography at MoMA
Under-The-Jack Pack 2.0 – $55
I found my next backpack, if anyone is feeling generous: The Under-The-Jack Pack 2.0 from Betabrand. This ultra slim backpack is designed to carry the most basic of tech needs—your 13- or 15-inch laptop—and to even fit covertly under your jacket. It has room for a charger and your phone and can also store headphones in the strap pocket. Users have said it’s slim enough that carrying another bag on top of it and a coat while traveling doesn’t feel bulky and others say it’s a godsend for those using public transportation. I’ll be waiting patiently for mine…thanks, generous stranger.
Slim Backpack
Slate Tablet – $179
The Slate drawing tablet promises to bridge the gap between paper and digital drawing. The Slate lets you draw on paper with your own pens and pencils using sensors and a tiny ring slipped over your drawing utensil that communicates your movements to the device. The included Imagink app instantly displays your creations via the magic of Bluetooth on an iPad or iPhone, rendered in the style of your chosen tool. The Slate tablet can also be used in conjunction with other iOS drawing apps or as a standalone drawing tablet for use in your desktop applications.
The Slate drawing pad
Fifty Type Specimens: From the Collection of Tobias Frere-Jones – $25
Bring the typographic stylings of Tobias Frere-Jones into your—or someone else’s—everyday world. Fifty Type Specimens: From the Collection of Tobias Frere-Jones is a set of 50 postcards that comes in a collector box and features individual letterforms, type specimens, and close-ups of letters. Each sample is categorized into one of four geographic regions. Use the classic examples as inspiration, for display, or (gasp!) you can even mail them!
Type Specimens postcards
Spiderpodium – $25 on Amazon
Hold Everything! Well, almost everything. The Spiderpodium is a simple stand/mount for your mobile device, be that smartphone, GPS, or other techy gadget you look cool holding. Its eight legs—it’s a spidey thing, get it?—gives you options for wrapping your device up safely with legs to spare for hanging, gripping, and angling. Because you configure the layout, the Spiderpodium gives you so many options for what devices you can hold with it, and where.
Spider Podium
Regrettable Supervillains – $17
For the comics/graphic novel lover on your list, you might want to check out this compendium of strange and cringe-worthy collection of supervillains throughout comics history. Jon Morris’ The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History is a followup to his book on equally regrettable superheroes and showcases some of the more obscure supervillains. Told with sarcasm and humorous commentary, this would be a quirky addition to any comics enthusiast’s collection.
Regrettable Supervillains book cover
#endofstory T-shirt – $22
There are too few InDesign-centric shirts out there, don’t you agree? Our good friend Chad Chelius is out to change that with his geeky and InDesign-centric shirt that reads simply: #endofstory. Now you younguns might read this as “hashtag end of story,” but those of us in the know get the joke. The hash (or pound sign, number sign, or, more correctly “octothorpe”) is the hidden character for the end of a story in InDesign. Just because I know that, doesn’t mean that I’m NOT imagining me wearing this shirt, putting a hand in front of a feisty client, and saying, “Hashtag end of story” and walking away.
End of Story t-shirt
I’m sure you’ll find something perfect for your creative friends and family—or me…ahem—on this list. If not, stay tuned for the goodies I have planned for Part 2 coming up next week!

Posted on: November 27, 2017

Erica Gamet

Erica Gamet has been involved in the graphics industry for an unbelievable 30 years! She is a speaker, writer, and trainer, focusing on Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, Apple Keynote and iBooks Author, and other print- and production-related topics. She is a regular presence at CreativePro Week’s PePcon and InDesign Conferences, and has spoken at ebookcraft in Canada and Making Design in Norway. You can find Erica’s online tutorials at CreativeLive and through her YouTube channel. When she isn’t at her computer, she can be found exploring her new homebase of Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest.

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