There are two types of people in the world: those who treat gift shopping like an Olympic sport, and those who keep a stockpile of gift cards in their desk drawer for every occasion. In the spirit the holidays, we’ll keep it real with you guys. While we take no issue with gift cards (well played TBH), there’s nothing quite like a present that comes from the heart.
At 99designs, not only do we know a thing or two about creativity—we also fancy ourselves the first kind of person. (And boy, do we love a Santa’s helper cosplay.) We asked our designer community, our friends and your favorite creators-in-the-wild to give us all their gift ideas. From that, we curated this ultimate gift guide just for you.
This puppy is loaded with unequivocally cool things—from unique stocking stuffers to experiential gifts and even furniture(!). It’s big. It’s grand. It’s a little extra, if we do say so ourselves. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one out there.
On your marks, get ready, get set…
1. Adventure Awaits print
Up first is the “Adventure Awaits” print by Furry Little Peach, who you might recognize from Instagram or her inspiring Youtube channel. This A3 beauty has been created using archival ink on 100% cotton paper, meaning it won’t fade or wear over time.
Combine this with a nice frame, and you’ve got a museum-quality gift that will impress anyone.
$65 AUD at Furrylittlepeach.com
2. The Working Mind and Drawing Hand
FLP also recommends a book she just received and loves: The Working Mind and Drawing Hand by Oliver Jeffers. This book contains never-before-published illustrations and art from Jeffers’ own sketchbook.
$34.43 at Amazon.com
Recommended by: Furry Little Peach
Sha’an d’Anthes is Furry Little Peach–an illustrator, exhibiting artist and published author.
3. Fancy-ish luggage
Sometimes a utilitarian gift is the best kind of gift, and this bag comes highly recommended for a reason. It allows you to charge multiple devices and keeps your things safe with a built-in lock. Take it with you to your next creative conference, to meetings, wherever. What could be better for a digital nomad designer?
$99 at Brookstone.com
4. Learn to code with Superhi
Teach a man to fish and yada yada. It’s empowering to learn something new. Superhi offers a plethora of beginner coding courses all aimed at teaching designers how to build their own beautiful websites from scratch.
$149 at Superhi.com
5. Sunrise rug
GUR rugs are all handmade using raw, recyclable materials and traditional methods. We’re particularly fond of this one by Chan Wai Hon, whose design really highlights the weaving technique and makes us feel calm.
€100 at Rubygur.com
6. Global graphic design
We’re constantly inspired by our global community, and top designer Edwin Cappalla is, too. He recommends this set of 3 paperbacks by Counter-Print, which offer endless inspiration in the form of packaging, posters and signage from Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Japan.
£20 at Counter-print.co.uk
7. Logo Design Love
Case studies, sketches, tips, oh my! You won’t find a more perfect gift for a logo-obsessed designer.
$26.35 at Amazon.com
Recommended by: 99designs top designer C A P S
For examples of work by C A P S, visit his 99designs profile.
8. CMYK tattoos
5 bucks gets you a set of 2 temporary tattoos for the needle-phobic print enthusiast in your life. Heck, splurge a little and grab the RGB set, while you’re at it.
$5 at Tattly.com
9. Houtique chair and lamp set
Lilly Friedeberg is something of a wunderkind. Known for creating funky, colorful illustrations, she recently made her way into the agency world and founded her own studio for branding, packaging and photography. On her wishlist? An ultra-cool chair and lamp from Houtique.
Price upon request at Houtique
Recommended by: Lilly Friedeberg
Lilly is a designer and art director based in Düsseldorf, focussing on branding, illustration packaging and set design.
10. Nordic glass ornaments
We know what you’re thinking: ornaments for the holidays. Really? But hear us out: these ultra-sleek hangables are designed by AYTM, and they’re nice enough to have on display all year round. Put them on a shelf. Hang them in your window! The possibilities are endless.
$20 at Comingsoonnewyork.com
11. Gradient puzzle
Will completing this puzzle take over your designer friends’ lives? Maybe. Will it be meditative? No promises. But this glossy and glorious gift sure looks pretty when it’s finished.
$20 on Areaware.com
12. Think of Your Own Ideas poster
Anthony Burrill is a graphic designer perhaps best known for his “Work Hard and Be Nice to People” poster. But that’s so 2004. Spice up a pal’s space with a lesser-known (but just as cheeky) print.
£50.00 + shipping at Anthonyburrill.com
13. iPad Pro
And there’s a lot to love. In addition to having the best display yet, Adobe will release Photoshop for the iPad in 2019. We can’t wait to see how it performs.
iPad pro: From $799 at Apple.com
14. Apple Pencil
If you give a designer a new iPad, they’re going to ask for the Apple Pencil. With the newest model for the iPad Pro, you can pair and charge it wirelessly, increase your pressure to draw a thicker line—and even shade with a simple tilt of the wrist.
Apple Pencil: $99 at Apple.com
Recommended by: Chris Do
Chris is an Emmy award-winning director, designer, strategist and educator. He’s the Chief Strategist and CEO of Blind, executive producer of The Skool and founder of The Futur–and online education platform that teaches the business of design to creative thinkers.
15. Show Your Work
You’ve heard of Steal Like an Artist, but Austin Kleon’s second book takes it to the next level. (It also comes highly recommended from creative director Greg Gunn.)
$10.95 at Amazon.com
16. Baron Fig Notebook
Greg also loves Baron Fig notebooks, and rarely leaves the house without one.
$18 at Baronfig.com
Recommended by: Greg Gunn
Greg is a creative entrepreneur, visual storyteller and an award-winning animation director. As Chief Creative Officer of The Futur, Greg oversees the marketing of educational products, guides content development and helps drive the creative direction for the brand.
17. Peak Design’s tech pouch
This powerful little pouch was successfully funded on Kickstarter and starts shipping in December: just in time for the holidays.
$59.95 at Peakdesign.com
Recommended by: Ben Burns
Ben is a brand strategist, an award-winning designer, entrepreneur and loving father of (soon to be) two daughters. As the Chief Operating Officer of The Futur, Ben oversees the development, marketing and logistics of educational products.
18. The Win Without Pitching Manifesto
This black book comes recommended with praise from Matthew Encina, who says, “it changed my life as a creative professional.” Let this book’s twelve proclamations inspire you.
$22.50 at Amazon.com
Recommended by: Matthew Encina
Matthew Encina is the award-winning Chief Content Officer at The Futur. His clients include Fortune 500 brands, music artists, emerging tech companies and video games.
19. Muji slippers
A sweet pair of slippers is always a winner. Make it cooler by sourcing a minimalist linen pair from designer-mecca Muji.
$24 at Muji.us
20. Blue Bones pillow
IK blue accessories will never go out of style. This pillow features a print by design duo Mogollon, a power couple whose work has been featured on the facade of a Seoul mall, a Katy Perry album and Vogue Japan. We’re fans.
$62 at Paom.com
21. Tilt Brush by Google
Have you ever wanted to 3D paint in space? Um, yeah! You’ll need an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or a Windows Mixed Reality headset to use it, but even then it’s such a steal–and it’s also #1 on artist Coco Morton’s list.
$22.95 at Steampowered.com
22. Superhero Bookend
Since you’re loading up on design books, why not throw in a superhero bookend to complete the gift?
$25.95 at Amazon.com
Recommended by: Coco Morton
Coco is a visual artist and designer support admin at 99designs. She describes herself as a doodler and a dreamer, and we just love that.
23. Binary screenprint
Spanish designer Alex Trochut is best known for his incredible typographic work, but check out his binary prints. Duality is the theme here–turn off the lights and the darkness reveals a hidden image. Each print is signed by the artist.
From $100 at Binary-prints.com
24. Stick-up sticks
Like chalks from your childhood, these magnets by design studio Bower are just s’cute. Cut at various angles, they point in different directions when attached to a metal surface. Snag them in both natural and multi colorways.
$8 at Areaware.com
25. (Definitely) the Best Dogs of All Time
This hardcover book features stories of powerful, mythical, heroic, talented and literary dogs who have changed the course of history. Plus, sweet illustrations by designer Molly Dyson.
$18 at Amazon.com
26. Leica Sofort camera
The recipient of this small but mighty camera will be the life of any party. And, it comes in two of the trendiest colors of the year: baby blue and orange.
$279 at Leicacamerausa.com
Recommended by: 99designs top designer Minji Moon
Minji is a freelance designer from Seoul, Korea. She specializes in illustration and motion graphics and counts Samsung, Cadillac and Adobe among her client roster.
27. LOQI artist bags
Water resistant, long-lasting and artistic AF. Pick up an environmentally-friendly LOQI artist bag for your very own Haring, Van Gogh or Pollock.
$12.95 at Loqistore.com
28. Liquitex muted collection
Liquitex Inks are extremely fluid, water resistant, permanent and so lightfast they’ll go down in history. You can water the ink down, stamp it, or use it seamlessly with any other Liquitex product.
I think I’ve replaced about 5 or 6 bottles in total since I started collecting them–so they’re worth the long term investment!
Recommended by: 99designs top designer Ink’d
For examples of work by Ink’d, visit their 99designs profile.
29. Side project flowchart
Find ordering prints a hassle? Hate unrolling them when they arrive? Then do we have the gift for you. This is a high-resolution digital download good for two 11×17 copies of this poster.
$5 at Mollymcleod.com
30. Luna Display
Jocelyn Tsaih is an artist and illustrator whose work has been everywhere these days–from WeWork’s halls to the pages of the New York Times–she’s even been commissioned by Facebook and Airbnb.
This year, she’s hoping for a Luna Display: a powerful little device that turns your iPad into a second monitor.
$79.99 at Lunadisplay.com
31. Posca paint markers
Also on Jocelyn’s list: 29 Uni Posca paint markers. These puppies are water-based, non-toxic and don’t bleed.
Posca Markers are amazing to use and having all the different colors would mean endless drawing possibilities!
$47.26 at Amazon.com
Recommended by: Jocelyn Tsaih
Jocelyn is a visual artist and egg-lover based in Oakland, California.
32. In Pieces throw blanket
We’re also fans of Jocelyn’s venture into fiber arts. Pick up a one-of-a-kind throw for chilly nights, in navy & natural or pink & navy.
$130 at Jocelyntsaihstore.tictail.com
33. Creative Live class
Lisa Congdon (yes, THE Lisa Congdon) teaches your creative buds how to get organized and get to work in this popular Creative Live course.
$49 at Creativelive.com
34. Ultra wide monitor
Not for the faint of heart! Design-pro Pixel & Bracket suggests this curved monitor from LG. He says, “I’m moving away from dual monitor setups and really like the ultra wide monitors instead. With one widescreen, creative apps can be scaled or placed right next to each other.”
$896.99 at Amazon.com
35. VAVA 8-in-1 adapter
At a slightly lower price-point, Pixel & Bracket recommends this VAVA 8-in-1 adapter.
He says, “For those of us MacBook Pro users, this hub is the best one I’ve come across (and use). It has everything you need in it!”
$59.99 at Amazon.com
Recommended by: Pixel & Bracket
Pixel & Bracket (aka Spencer) is a multimedia designer from Indianapolis, Indiana. He posts design tutorials to help educate and inspire others.
36. Typographic Ticket Book
When we first saw this gift pop up on Fast Company, we knew we had to include it. Each ticket lists 32 common design infractions, each assigned its own appropriate penalty. Typeset in Helvetica, of course, it’s perfect for the designer who loves rules.
$10 at Designshop.typography.com
37. Bauhaus mobile
Bauhaus fans rejoice: now anyone can own a piece of design history–and color theory–with a hanging mobile designed by Ole Flensted.
$47.90 at Connox.com
38. Things Are What You Make of Them
You must know by now that we have a huge crush on Adam J. Kurtz. He’s a Brooklyn-based designer, artist and author who offers advice and realness over 13 handwritten chapters. Bonus: perforated pages mean you can tear out the wisdom you love the most and display the pages wherever you please.
$11.91 at Amazon.com
39. Spray bottle enamel pin
Do you have a friend who loves clean design? Then this little enamel cutie is perfect for them.
$8 at Evastalinski.com
40. Wacom Intuos M
99designs designer AZ-Designs just purchased himself a new Wacom Intuos to take his work to the next level.
$299.95 at Amazon.com
Recommended by: Top level designer AZ-Designs
For examples of work by AZ-Designs, visit his 99designs profile.
41. Tie-dye cube soaps
Anna Niestroj is an entrepreneur, designer, pattern-maker, trend researcher and the face of Studio Blinkblink–a former Berlin institution and what was once the coziest and most creative space in the Wedding neighborhood. Recently she packed up Blinkblink and relocated to Jüterbog to dream up her next venture in a former police headquarters.
On her holiday wishlist? Organic, tie-dye soaps infused with detoxifying ingredients that she discovered in Paris. And don’t they look so cool?
$20 – $44 at Mote.kr
42. Brusho Crystal Colors
Anna also recommends Brusho’s Crystal Colors in bold hues. Drop them in water and watch the colors fly.
43. Japanese sweets
As Anna says, “Anything from Japan is a good gift for a designer. Anything.” We think these sweet sesame pancake confections would make a great stocking stuffer.
£2.00 at Japancentre.com
44. Stack magazine subscription
Finally, Anna recommends a subscription to Stack. Every month you’ll receive a different independent magazine, serving up endless inspiration for graphic designers, illustrators and artists alike.
From $15 at Stackmagazines.com
Recommended by: Anna Niestroj
Anna is the founder of Studio Blinkblink, an interdisciplinary creative studio.
45. Gingerbread mouse pad
This festive mouse pad is so sweet, you’ll keep it on your desk long after the holidays end. It features a candy cane and gingerbread pattern designed by the Disney-loving creative business-owner behind Katnipp Illustration. Love!
€9.58 at Etsy.com
46. How to Move to NYC ebook
Featuring awesome illustrations from designer Lu Yu, this comprehensive guide by Tobias van Schneider is chock-full of practical tips for creatives wanting to relocate to the Big Apple–and even includes how to get a visa. It promises to save you time, money and nerves. Let us know if it works!
$29 at Letsgo.nyc
Enter our Instagram giveaway
See something you just have to have? You’re in luck! Follow the instructions to win a box of curated goodies—one for you, and one for a friend:
- First, follow 99designs on Instagram
- Pull up our gift guide post
- Comment your favorite gift from above on the post
- And don’t forget to tag a friend!
This promotion is not endorsed by Instagram.