Gift ideas for your clients

On episode 92, we had a great show on what to buy the graphic designer in your life. So I figured it would be beneficial to talk about what graphic designers should be buying for their clients.

Jumping in, I’ve been on both sides of this equation. On one hand, I know that it can be intimidating to choose a good gift for your clients. There’s the balance of not breaking the bank, as well as buying something that’s actually meaningful, useful, or thoughtful. On the flip side, its tough to accept large, bulky, or bad gifts as a client.

With that said, here’s a couple of items that I’ve noticed over the years, that seems to be a good balance that pleases the crowds.

First up beverages. This is usually limited in my experience to things like wine, coffee, or tea. Occasionally you can sneak things like beer into this, but make sure that it’s something high quality. A six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon won’t cut it here. (Unless, of course, the relationship with your client calls for that.)

The key here is to have an idea of what your clients beverage preference are with beverages. It can be a misstep if you end up buying something that they don’t like. Or if it’s in a case of alcohol, you find out they don’t drink.

I’ll caution to be sure they’d enjoy it before you send it off. If you can, find out long before what they like. I’ve had vendors ask throughout the year as they worked with me and kept it in mind when it came time to send a gift.

If beverages aren’t your thing, technology is another good category. Things like bluetooth speakers, phone chargers, or headphones. Technology can be great because you’re likely to find something at almost any price range. Depending on how fancy you get, there may be the opportunity to do something like engrave your logo or the clients logo on it. It adds a nice touch of personality.

Additionally, tech items are great because we can always use an extra pair of headphones, a phone charger or a bluetooth speaker. Size-wise, they also take up minimal space, which is great if it needs to sit on a desk.

Non-tech items are still good options, too. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed things like mugs, cups, and water bottles. If you can brand these, it’s also a good way to keep your brand front and center as well. Using your branded coffee mug every morning keeps you top of mind and helps the next time they need your services (or want to recommend them).

Sports apparel can be an exciting gift if you really want to go above and beyond. I usually save this for higher end clients or clients to do a lot of business with me. It’s a memorable way to say thanks if you know who their favorite teams or players are. I wouldn’t recommend you do this for every single client you work with. But it’s one of those gifts the can be unexpected and stand out as people are getting inundated with gifts.

If time is against you and you’re looking for something that’s still unique, gift baskets are always a great catch-all. You can fill them with almost anything. A good gift basket with some nice packaging will go a long way. You can include a set of something or a collection of related knick-knacks. They’re also great for giving one gift to multiple people to share.

Overall, you shouldn’t beat yourself up too much over holiday gifts. I’ve found that over the years that it’s the simple thought that counts. It doesn’t need to be anything outrageous or extravagant. At the end of the day, you’re showing your client that you thought about them, you care about them, you’re appreciative of your business. And really that’s all that matters.

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