Gift ideas for graphic designers

The holidays right around the corner! You may already be looking at your list of people to buy gifts for and realize that you have a designer on your list. Whether or not you’re into design, you may have stumbled across this episode and hoping that it will help you figure out what to buy them. So fear not — on this episode I’m going talk about some great gifts that will make the graphic designer in your life excited when they open them up.

Before diving in, none of the people, companies, or links mentioned are sponsors. Just stuff that I like and use.


Sketchbooks are something that every designer lives and dies by. We never have enough of them. I actually have a giant stack behind my desk waiting to be used. If you do go this route, know that designers can be particular about the kind of sketchbook they like. Some prefer plain paper. Some like dots. Others like lined or grided paper. If you can find out what the designer in your life prefers, then you’re all set! If not, look up Field Notes. They make amazing sketchbooks and it’s pretty likely you’ll hit a home run.


Books are definitely a broad subject. But I’ll narrow it down some. In the last few years, there’s been a lot of really good, valuable books getting published. I know I’m stating the obvious, but Amazon is a pretty solid resource. With a little bit of searching, you can find some really great topics and some really niche topics. Find a topic your designer is interested in — there’s likely a book on the design story behind it.

United Pixelworkers

Designers go crazy for United Pixelworkers. For those who are unfamiliar, they were known for creating awesome t‑shirts that were based on cities around the world with a fun charm to them. 

Well, the good news is, is after a bit of a hiatus, they’re back this year. Their t‑shirt line-up is on point (as usual). If there’s one that lines up with your designer (a city or state?), go for it. It’s an easy gift to buy. I got my own a little while ago and it’s a good quality shirt. And they’ve got some really awesome t shirts. If you’ve got one that lines up with a designer in your life, maybe a city or the state. I think there’s a few of those. It’s an easy gift to buy. And it’s a super high quality shirt. I just got mine a little while ago. And it’s been absolutely amazing. Also worth noting they have a cool enamel pin, too. We go crazy for those as well.


If clothing is not your speed, though, there’s always posters. Not like the ones you hung up in your dorm room. The good, high quality kind. p98a is run by Erik Spiekermann out of Germany. These posters are simply amazing.

They don’t come cheap, but note that they are a of a pretty decent size. They also are typically on a limited print run and individually signed by Erik himself. I have one hanging up in my office and love it as much as the day I got it.

Draplin Design Co.

If you want to hit a home run and you’re still unsure of what to look for where to go, Aaron Draplin is the name you need to know. Aaron has done a fantastic job bringing the art of thick line design back into fame here over the last few years. 

What else is notable, is his shop of knickknacks. It’s chock-full of reasonably price, well-designed stuff. If your designer loves the font Futura, this is the place you need to be.

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