Finding the best gifts for a designer is not the easiest thing. Let’s just be honest, folks.
Designers are a curious bunch. Considering their skill set, they’re somewhat sophisticated people who might be very picky about their gadgets and accessories. Hence, I guess you might want to really think this through before choosing that ideal gift for the designer in your life.
Don’t let the issue stress you out, though! The best gifts for a designer are the simple and trendy stuff that can increasingly add value to their daily tasks. A quick skim through design forums and tech marketplaces should give you a couple of ideas.
To help you get started, here’s a solid list of 35 of the best gifts for a designer in 2021. I’ve sampled items across different categories to give you a vast array of thoughtful options. What’s more, I’ve included the corresponding pricing rates, as well as links to the respective suppliers.
35 best gifts for a designer this holiday season
1. Nix Pro 2 Color Sensor
Save one lucky designer the trouble of guessing color shades and codes with the Nix Pro 2 Color Sensor.
Just as the name suggests, it analyzes and accurately identifies colors with precision. You can even compare various shades while you design, as well as import custom color libraries.
The gadget works hand-in-hand with the Nix smartphone app, which is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
2. Sony PlayStation 5
Sure, designers love their jobs. But, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So, to spruce up their lives, you could gift your favorite designer the new Sony PlayStation 5.
Released just a couple of weeks ago, the Sony PlayStation 5 gaming console is already creating ripples in the gaming industry. The designer in your life will certainly enjoy crisp images and high-resolution video gaming – thanks to the console’s 16GB memory, AMD Radeon RDNA graphics engine, 2.23 GHz GPU, and an 8-core CPU.
3. UI Stencils Website Stencil Kit
Web designers typically begin their projects with pencil sketches, before ultimately transferring their drawings to digital interfaces in tools like Figma or others. As such, the outcome of the final design largely depends on the accuracy of the initial paper illustration.
Now, to help your web designer with that, you could gift them the nifty UI Stencils Website Stencil Kit. It’s built to improve free-hand precision while working on iconographic illustrations.
Image: UI Stencils
4. UI Stencils Browser Sketch Pad
And speaking of drawing, another thoughtful gift for designers in 2021 would be the UI Stencils Browser Sketch Pad.
Just as the name suggests, it’s a design sketch pad that comes with a browser template. That, of course, makes it conveniently easy for web designers to jump right in and start working on their UI sketches.
In case you’re wondering, the answer is yes – it happens to work perfectly well with the UI Stencils Website Stencil Kit!
Image: UI Stencils
5. Adobe Stock subscription
Not all the best gifts for a designer in 2021 have to be physical. Even something as basic as a long-term subscription to Adobe Stock (among other productivity tools) will do the trick.
With that, your designer will have an easy time sourcing for high-resolution, royalty-free stock images for their projects. And once they’re downloaded, the images can be easily edited on other Adobe design tools – including Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop.
6. Adobe Creative Cloud subscription
While you’re at it, you can as well consider getting them a complete suite of all the relevant Adobe design tools.
Now, instead of purchasing the software solutions separately (like Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop), you could simply subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud. It features more than 20 mobile and desktop tools for web design, videography, photography, UX editing, etc. Pretty much everything a designer might need under one roof.
7. Envato Elements
Another popular all-inclusive resource for web and app designers is Envato Elements.
Subscribe your designer to one of the plans, and they’ll gain access to millions of great assets for enhancing their creativity. Envato Elements packs stuff like photos, presentation templates, audio files, videos, WordPress themes and plugins, plus so much more.
8. SUPERHi’s Learn To Code Now book
If your web designer is still trying to learn the ropes, you could help them enhance their coding skills through SUPERHi’s Learn To Code Now book.
9. Apple iPad Air (4th gen)
For some strange reason, most designers are suckers for Apple products. So, of course, the designer in your life is bound to appreciate the 4th generation Apple iPad Air, which happens to be one of the hottest products on the market right now.
It comes with a 10.9-inch high-definition display, plus A14 bionic technology, which enhances creativity through machine learning, high-quality graphics, and dynamic editing.
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10. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
For the few designers who prefer Android devices, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 would be a perfect alternative for the iPad.
This is the latest Samsung tablet and, as you’d expect, it comes with quite a huge array of impressive high-tech features. Some of them include; an 11-inch high-resolution display, Adreno 650 GPU, an 8-core processor, at least 6GB of RAM, plus so much more.
11. reMarkable Paper Tablet
It’s not always about Apple vs Android tablets. As it turns out, reMarkable has introduced a rather interesting twist with what it calls “the Paper Tablet”.
Just the name alone tells you that this is one device that’s bound to revolutionize how your designer works. reMarkable has essentially built it to act as a smart notebook. It can convert handwritten notes into typed text, offer an unlimited number of pages, digitize sketches, as well as run for days without recharging.
12. Boogie Board 8.5-Inch LCD Writing Tablet
If reMarkable’s Paper Tablet stretches beyond your budget, you could, instead, consider the Boogie Board 8.5-Inch LCD Writing Tablet.
It comes with a pressure-sensitive writing surface that’s capable of handling both text and drawings. Then get this – the thickness of its lines depends on the amount of pressure you place on the surface. What’s more, your designer doesn’t have to use the accompanying stainless steel stylus. It responds to all sorts of instruments – including your fingers.
13. Wacom Intuos Pro
While the Boogie Board and reMarkable’s Paper Table are both some of the best gifts for a designer, none of them comes close to matching Wacom’s Intuos Pro.
This pen tablet was created specifically for professional designers. Its highly sensitive surface gives you exceptional control while working with 2D and 3D modeling apps. So much so that it tends to act as a digital extension of your hand.
That said, the Wacom Intuos Pro comes in three variants: Wacom Intuos Pro M, Wacom Intuos Pro S, and Wacom Intuos Pro L.
14. Cosmonaut Wide-Grip Stylus for Capacitive Touch Screen Tablets
If your designer already owns a drawing tablet, perhaps you might want to gift them the Cosmonaut Wide-Grip Stylus.
And yes – it works perfectly with all capacitive touch screens. The designer can, for instance, use it to hand-draw on iPad Air, iPad Mini, Microsoft Surface, or Kindle Fire.
15. Sony Ultra-Short Throw 4K SXRD Home Theater Projector
If you enjoy big displays, you could go extra big with Sony’s Ultra-Short Throw Projector.
But, make no mistake about it, this is no ordinary projector. While standard projectors are very inflexible, this specific one can be placed anywhere – right next to the wall, or possibly on the floor or ceiling. Whichever you choose, your designer should be able to work comfortably with smooth, larger-than-life images in 4K resolution.
16. Google Chromecast Ultra
Well, if you’re not in a position to spend thousands of dollars on a display gift for a designer, maybe Chromecast Ultra could do the trick.
This little device is capable of turning your web designer’s TV into a universal 4K streamer. Once you plug it into the HDMI port, Chromecast Ultra links your TV with other devices across the shared Wi-Fi network – consequently allowing you to seamlessly play media from any cast-enabled app.
17. Belkin Wireless Charging Speaker
Wireless charging is always a welcome convenience in designers’ workspaces. And so are Bluetooth speakers, since music has a way of stimulating the minds of creatives.
Now, with that said, imagine integrating both functions within one device. Well, that’s precisely what the Belkin Wireless Charging Speaker offers. Your web designer essentially gets to wirelessly charge their mobile device while listening to music, streaming videos, and taking video calls.
And in case you’re wondering, this incredibly light device is compatible with both iPhones and Android smartphones. Truly one of the best gifts for a designer who also appreciates good quality audio.
18. Fiio E5 Headphone Amplifier
Not everyone is comfortable playing their music publicly on Bluetooth speakers. I know quite a number of designers who prefer shutting out the world with their headphones.
If yours falls in this category, one of the best gifts for them would be a headphone amplifier. The Fiio E5, for instance, is known for its impressive sound quality boost. Plus, it’s light, ultra-slim, and happens to support both iPhones and iPods.
19. VAVA USB C Hub, 8-in-1 USB C Adapter
This adapter carries pretty much all the basic ports that designers frequently use. You’ll find a 4K HDMI video output port, one USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 ports, TF/SD card reader slots, an RJ Gigabit Ethernet port, plus a 100W charging port for Type-C laptops.
With all these ports, your designer will have an easy time powering their workstations while on-the-go.
20. FEELLE Solar Power Bank
It’s one thing to work while on-the-go, it’s another to be able to work from anywhere. And that’s precisely why they created the FEELLE Solar Power Bank.
It’s capable of converting the sun’s rays into 24,000mAh worth of battery power, which can consequently charge an iPad Air three times, a Samsung S7 more than five times, and an iPhone 7 nine times.
This makes it strongly among the best gifts for a designer who likes to go camping.
21. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
If you’re thinking of a smartphone gift for a designer, I’d advise you to go for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
Released just a couple of months ago, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is currently one of the fanciest smartphones on the market. Designers, in particular, overwhelmingly consider it a favorite because of its stunning 6.9-inch high-resolution display, refined stylus, 108 megapixels 4K camera, Adreno 650 GPU, and an 8-core CPU, among other impressive features.
22. Moleskine Adobe Creative Cloud Connected Paper Tablet Smart Notebook
Designing with Adobe apps is a breeze when you’re using Moleskine’s smart notebook.
This is yet another paper tablet, but specifically optimized for Adobe tools like Illustrator and Photoshop. Your designer will be impressed by how it quickly digitizes freehand drawings and sketches in real-time.
23. Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook
An eco-conscious designer, on the other hand, would appreciate the Rocketbook Reusable Notebook.
They call it so because although it comes with 36 pages, designers can actually use the notebook endlessly. Erasing stuff from its pages is as simple as wiping it with a damp cloth. And in case you’re worried about losing content, it turns out you can upload your handwritten notes directly to cloud storage servers.
24. Ricoh Theta V 4K 360 Spherical Camera
If the person you’re getting the gift for prefers to take their own custom images and videos, Ricoh’s Theta V will add a refreshing twist to their work. This has the potential to be one of the best gifts for a designer out there.
The camera itself is capable of shooting 360-degree videos in 4K at 30 fps. What’s more, it records omnidirectional audio in both horizontal and vertical dimensions.
25. Communication Arts subscription
Among the many sources of inspiration for designers, visual journals feature quite prominently. So, wouldn’t be a good idea to offer a Communication Arts subscription as a gift?
Communication Arts is the biggest international publication for visual media. It features illustrations, photography, advertising, graphic design, interactive design, etc.
26. Typographic Ticket Book
Here is a fun way to help a designer enhance their typography skills. The Typographic Ticket Book is a mockery of the police ticket book, complete with relevant penalties for each design breach.
A single book comes with 50 different tickets, each listing 32 of the most recurrent design infractions.
27. Tilt Brush by Google
Google’s Tilt Brush nurtures your designer’s imagination by giving them the chance to paint virtually within 3D spaces. They just need to connect it to an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and voila!
The Tilt Brush will then give them an intuitive 3D interface and dynamic brushes for painting anything they have in mind. This makes it a very unique choice on our list of the best gifts for a designer.
While Google’s Tilt Brush creates stuff in 3D virtual reality, the 3Doodler lets designers create 3D printouts from a pen tip.
Yes, that’s right. It comes in the form of a 3D printing pen that draws continuous plastic lines in the air. So, of course, the possibilities here are endless for a creative product designer.
29. Apple Pencil
This is an excellent accessory for any designer who already owns a compatible iPad. The Apple Pencil seamlessly pairs with it to enhance your drawing capabilities.
Designers can write text, come up with all sorts of drawings, and even intricately detail them. Raising the contact pressure, for instance, forms a thicker line, while a simple tilt of the pen will shade the area of contact.
30. Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse
Upgrading your designer from a generic PC mouse to the Logitech MX Master 3 might drastically improve their overall efficacy.
This is an ultra-fast high-end mouse that uses advanced 2.4GHz wireless technology to optimize precision and responsiveness. Then to top it off, it’s designed to provide ultimate comfort over long work hours, as well as operate smoothly even on high gloss surfaces.
31. Logitech diNovo Edge Keyboard
To match such a mouse, you might want to purchase Logitech’s diNovo keyboard too. Your designer will appreciate its smooth keystrokes, which are powered by the underlying precision micro-scissor mechanisms.
The keyboard is stylishly-designed too, and features hidden backlit controls.
32. Nulaxy Laptop Stand
Since designers spend countless hours working in front of their computers, many of them ultimately develop back problems due to poor posture.
Now, to prevent that, you could look for the best gifts for a designer in the laptop stand department. Nulaxy Laptop Stand is a great choice. It’s designed to achieve maximum comfort by ergonomically supporting 11-17 inch laptops, and perfectly aligning their display with the line of sight. Additionally, users can freely adjust the entire frame according to their height, working surface, and laptop dimensions.
33. A standing or motorized desk
Speaking of improving posture while working, how about gifting the designer in your life a standing desk? These things are curious and probably not for everyone, but for the right person, it can transform the way they work completely.
Alternatively, you could give them a motorized desk, which converts between a sit and stand positions. Much more versatile and still pretty cool!
34. Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS – Third Edition
They say that a book is always the right gift. To that tune, you could get your designer the third edition of this great web design book by Ben Frain.
Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS provides insightful tips on using the latest HTML 5 and CSS tricks, especially when it comes to building a single UI that runs seamlessly on all types of devices.
35. WordPress Complete – seventh edition
If that designer in your life is also interested in learning WordPress, then there’s probably no better gift for them than the seventh edition of WordPress Complete.
The book covers everything from total basics on how to install WordPress, making a WordPress website from scratch, all the way to building your own themes and plugins if that’s what you’re interested in. Plus, of course, everything in between.
Final thoughts on the best gifts for a designer
And there you have it! We’ve gone through 35 of the best gifts for a designer in 2021. We’ve covered the entire spectrum – from gifts worth $10 to high-budget options that cost thousands of dollars.
Choose whatever you can comfortably afford, have fun spreading the holiday cheer and making that special designer in your life happy!
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Layout and presentation by Karol K and Chris Fitzgerald.
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