Getting gifts for the on-trend person in your life isn’t easy for a couple of different reasons. First, there are a whole lot of products out there that bill themselves as being design-forward, but don’t quite follow through with it on the execution. Secondly – ‘well designed’ is a relatively subjective term. Is your definition the same as the person in your life that you’re trying to get a gift for? It’s hard to tell.
To try and help those who find themselves in this dilemma, we’ve assembled a list of picks we think are, by almost anyone’s definition, beautifully designed and well made. Whether the person you’re getting a gift for is a designer by profession, or simply appreciates well built items – we’re positive that the following 20 best gifts for the designer will include something for them. Take a scroll through and see for yourself. We have everything from tools of the trade to personal care and home decor.
CB2 Concrete Pot And Saucer
Concrete as a material is pretty divisive. A whole lot of people despise it, but there is a sizable group who love it. Specifically, they love the character it has – how it changes its appearance with the weather, and how it ages. If the person in your life falls into the category of a lover of brutalist architecture, they’ll likely love this planter from CB2. Measuring in at 6.5 inches wide, 6.5 inches deep, and 7 inches high, featuring a drainage hole and saucer, it’s an ideal planter for the office or apartment.
Best Made Famous Red Notebook
Best Made Co. first got their name out there by taking a simple tool – an axe – and giving it a striking re-design. So striking, in fact, that their axes ended up in art exhibits in both New York and London. The company has since applied this same approach to a wide variety of basic items to a similar effect – these notebooks included. Each of these three 5.25 by 8.25 inch notebooks feature a 100 pound cover and 160 numbered and perforate 60 pound interior pages.
Coffee Table Books
Giving the gift of a book during the holidays can be incredibly rewarding. It is a chance to do more than give – but to share a set of thoughts, skills, and images. These three publications, Phaeton’s The Design Book, Aaron Draplin’s Pretty Much Everything, and the newest issue from UK based adventure journal Avaunt all contain examples of great design and storytelling. Whether they’re for someone who already has their feet well into the world of professional design, or just appreciate it from a far – these are sure to be well worn copies come this time next year.
Dahle Vantage Cutting Mat
Just as good for using as a desk mat as it is at protecting the desk from the x-acto knife blade, this self healing 3mm thick mat is a great practical gift. Made from 5 layers of PVC and featuring precise measurement lines, this thing makes it easy to measure twice, cut once, and move on with your work.
Mazama Crater Lake Mug
A striking, handmade mug hailing from Oregon, this is a great choice for the particular coffee lover in your life. Hand thrown, this vitrified stoneware mug is short and stout, featuring a large mouth perfect for pouring lattes, cappuccinos, or just plain drip coffee and tea.
Graf and Lantz Valet Tray
Pens. Watches. Phones. Keys. This valet tray made from merino wool felt and leather is designed to fit it all. In addition to the sharp look and American made quality, this tray features snap button sides on this 7 by 7 inch wide piece, making it easy to bring with you anywhere and set up while you’re on the road.
Lenz Pen & Pencil Case
The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it still requires a sheath. This one from the German maker of fine leather bags and accessories, Sonnenleder, can up hold up to eight and look sharp as hell while doing it. Measuring in at 7.5 inches long and 2.75 wide, this pen and pencil case is made from high quality leather and a simple zipper.
Bellroy Notebook Cover
Yeah, you can use the ‘notes’ function on your phone or computer – but there is something being able to sketch it all out by hand that is hard to abandon. This Notebook Cover from Bellroy is for the guy who keeps a pocket notebook with him at all times. Measuring in at 3.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches long and featuring a magnetic closure that snaps the fine vegetable tanned leather book shut, it’s a particularly handsome choice for everyday carry.
Stagg Pour Over Kettle
You can learn a lot about a person by how they take their coffee. Some just go for convenience, while other are obsessive and go for precision. If the latter reminds you of someone you know, you may want to consider getting them this kettle. Gas, electric, and induction compatible, this kettle made from stainless steel is an ideal fit for those who rely on that perfect pour-over to start their day off right.
Hone Type 15a Razor
There is nothing new about the safety razor. Quite the opposite. What is different about these razors, however, is their sleek design. Made from a special 15a aluminum, it is built for an ergonomic hold and a lightweight feel that is worth every penny.
Olo Core Lens Set
For those who take a certain pride in their Instagram gallery, the Ollo Clip Core set is a great grab. Just slide this thing onto your iPhone 7 or 7+ and users have the option of using a lenses like fisheye, macro, and super wide angle for those architectural and action shots.
Apple Pencil and iPad Pro
Like it or not, tablets and styli have replaced the easel and arsenal of pens and paper as the the modern day designer’s go-to tools. Right now, out of all those available, Apple’s set up is among the best. 3D touch has enabled for high fidelity pen strokes, and thanks to the processing power on the iPad – the only real limit seems to be one’s imagination.
A particularly handsome piece for everyday carry, this rugged American made pen from Karas Kustoms is made from a special tellurium copper and features an all metal clicker. A great pick for the guy who always keeps a pen close.
LEGO Architecture Studio
Built with the consultation of some of the best architects and architectural firms on the planet (REX architecture, SOM, Safdie Architects), this 1,200 brick LEGO set is especially for aspiring architects or for fans of the craft. The set comes complete with a guidebook with 272 pages including tips, tricks, and techniques for building your own small masterpiece.
Grovemade Walnut Laptop Stand
Handmade right here in the U.S. of A, this walnut laptop stand from Grovemade is just an attractive addition to any desk that also frees users of the need to hunch over in order to get work done.
A playful coat rack for hanging bags, coats, rain jackets, or hats. Designed by Charles and Ray Eames, this classic mid-century pieces is a welcome addition to any home. You can get one in multi-colored spheres, all black, white, or walnut.
B&O Play A1 Speaker
Small yet powerful, this Bluetooth speaker from legendary audio company Bang & Olufsen delivers a high fidelity sound out of its small 1 pound body. It boasts 24 hours of battery life, a dust and splash resistant body, and the ability to connect to another A1 speaker for stereo play.
Defy Recon Messenger Bag
For the city dweller looking for a tough but stylish bag for moving all of their equipment around with them, the Recon Messenger from DEFY is a great choice. Made from truck tarp and lined with bike tire rubber – this completely blacked out bag with Cobra buckles will outlast anything and anyone.
Eames Molded Fiberglass Dowel Leg Armchair
One of the most famous pieces of furniture to ever be produced by Ray and Charles Eames, this piece is a classic that will catch any design-nut’s eye immediately. Made by Herman miller right here in the U.S, it is made with a special fiberglass and comes in a variety of different colors and leg designs.
Artifox Desk 02
For the person looking to build out their home office, the American made Desk 02 from Artifox is perfect. Despite the lack of drawers, the walnut desk doesn’t compromise on utility to gain it’s minimal look. It features a built in dock for organizing electronics, and a cable grid for taming unruly cords.