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The Wishlist: Designer’s Holiday Gift Guide

In the same way that writers like to surround themselves with great literature, journalism, or poetry – designers are always on the hunt for great objects and tools to inspire their work. That is because good design isn’t something that stops when you clock out of your job or when class gets out, it’s a lifelong pursuit. It becomes part of who you are.

So how, exactly, do you get a gift for someone like this? You could flail around on the internet for a while. Not a bad option all things said, but usually that ends in one of three ways; you can’t find anything and end up procrastinating until it is too late, you buy a gift that gets returned within the week, or you just forget what you were doing and watch cat videos instead. Thankfully for you, this doesn’t have to be your fate. We assembled a killer designer’s holiday gift guide we’re sure will help you nab the coolest, sleekest gifts out there for the obnoxiously trendy designer in your life.

Coffee Table Books

Books themselves are really compelling designed objects. Their size, weight, paper thickness, and dust jacket cover are all carefully considered – but they’re not nearly as thoroughly turned over and assembled as the words between the two covers. These three books consider sneaker design, graphic design during the turn of the century, and a great mid-century furniture respectively.

Sneakers: $16 History of Graphic Design, Vol. 1: $61
Ward Bennett: $70

Mistobox Coffee Subscription

Great work requires top quality fuel. One great way to get that every month? Mistobox. This brilliant coffee subscription service automatically sends you freshly roasted coffee from the nation’s top quality roasters.

Purchase: $17+

Ezra Arthur Small Leather Notebook

When it comes to keeping a handle on your thoughts and ideas, nothing is better than pen on paper. And when it comes to notebooks? Few can beat out Ezra Arthur’s Small Leather Notebook. The hand-stitched Horween leather pad boasts 128 blank ultra thin bleed-resistant pages for writing and scribbling.

Purchase: $32

Bellroy Key Cover

You don’t have to be a designer to appreciate simple, elegant solutions. This key cover from Bellroy qualifies as exactly that. Made from quality vegetable tanned leather this little book can hold up to four keys at once while being attached to your car key for jingle-jangle free walks.

Purchase: $45

Shinola Rocks Glasses

These rocks glasses from Shinola are a great addition to any home or office cabinet. Made right here in the U.S. from semi-hand blown glass and boasting a laser-cut bolt logo they’re classic yet unique at the same time.

Purchase: $65

Tanner Goods Record Rack

A perfect pick for those with an affinity for spinning vinyl. Made by Portland, Oregon-based company Tanner Goods from stainless steel wire, these sturdy racks can hold up to 45 records at a time while allowing for easy browsing.

Purchase: $70

Ember Ceramic Mug

Does the designer in your life already have plenty of good coffee? Set them up with a great coffee mug. This one from Ember is designed to keep beverages at the perfect temperature for hours thanks to an integrated heating unit. Using an accompanying smartphone app, folks can set their preferences and adjust temperature depending on the type of beverage.

Purchase: $80

Inventery Mechanical Pen

Even the simplest objects can be a thing of beauty. Take this mechanical pen from Inventery for instance. Boasting a brass unibody construction and an all brass Schmidt SKM88 silent all metal clicker it’s both a practical tool, and something to be coveted.

Purchase: $90

Warby Parker Frames

When it comes to great frames, few companies if any can hold a candle to Warby Parker. They boast a wide number of attractive styles and industry leading customer service. And despite their consistently handsome look, they’re actually surprisingly affordable.

Purchase: $95+

Logitech Craft Advanced Keyboard

More than just being an attractive piece of tech with pleasing keystroke action, this keyboard from Logitech boasts a dedicated input dial for a more seamless workflow in powerful design programs. A must for any student or professional.

Purchase: $200

Sony WH1000XM2 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Just recently Sony snatched the crown from Bose with what tech bloggers are now saying are the best noise cancelling headphones on the market. These over-ear headphones boast a long 30-hour battery life, a top quality Bluetooth connection, on-ear remote, and top quality sound.

Purchase: $298

Grovemade Walnut Monitor Stand Bundle

Designers spend a lot of time at the desk. So why not make that a pleasant experience? One way to do that is by gifting them a great desk setup. This one from Portland, Oregon-based brand Grovemade comes with a walnut monitor stand, wrist pad, keyboard tray, and mousepad all made from top quality Walnut and leather right here in the U.S.

Purchase: $365

Frye Chase Chelsea Boot

There are Chelsea boots, and then there are Chelsea boots. Made in Italy by seasoned artisans, this pair from Frye boast a seamless leather upper with hand-stained leather outsoles for a comfortable and incredibly stylish look.

Purchase: $498

Apple iPad Pro

Pen and paper will never be replaced, but they certainly have been nudged aside by powerful machines like the iPad Pro. These tablets (both the 10.5 and 12.9-inch displays) can function as a dynamic surface for creating, or a sharp screen for presenting work.

Purchase: $649+

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB

Have a budding vinyl addict in your life? Set them up with this turntable from Pro-Ject. It boasts a heavy, non-resonant acrylic platter, a synchronous motor that plays at 33, 45, and 78RPM, and a carbon tonearm.

Purchase: $550

This Is Ground Venture Backpack

Everyone has a backpack, but not everyone has a pack as well built as this one from This Is Ground. Designed and constructed in Los Angeles from top quality leather and featuring both a laptop sleeve and integrated Tile tracker – it’ll be the best thing that ever happened to your everyday carry.

Purchase: $850

M.1 BlackxBlack Speakers

Speakers are best heard and not seen. Or at least that used to be the case. Now thanks to brands like JLA.Design they’re just as attractive as they are pleasent to listen to. This particular speaker is built from Blackened Baltic Birch and can hide in plain site while serving as an end table.

Purchase: $995

Artifox Standing Desk 02

For those that prefer to stand while working, this desk from Artifox is well worth considering. Made from an attractive walnut and featuring docks for electronics, a grid for holding chargers, and hooks for headphones and jackets – it is as useful as it is attractive.

Purchase: $1,590

Leica CL

You don’t have to be a photographer to appreciate a machine like Leica’s CL digital camera. It has an APS-C format sensor, a super fast autofocus, and the ability to shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second. And because it’s a Leica, you know it’ll be compatible with some of the best lenses ever made.

Purchase: $2,795

CH445 Wing Chair

Trying to get something for the designer who has everything? How a bout a mid-century modern chair designed by legendary furniture designer Hans J. Wegner himself. The leather chair has a sculpted, stark look to it that looks great alone in a room, but a comfortable feel that you’ll look forward to slouching back in with a big book.

Purchase: $3,000

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On the hunt for great, design-forward furniture? Take a look at our list of the best reading chairs.