11 holiday gifts for the design lover in your life

If you're shopping for a designer this holiday season, we've got some bad news and some good news. First the bad: designers are seriously difficult to shop for due to their discerning tastes. What if they don't like the typography in the book you bought them?

But there's good news too. As designers ourselves, we know just what's on you design lover's wish list this time of year. Here is a round-up of the best holiday gifts. Even better, many of these are gifts your designer won't even know he or she wants.

Muji Body Fit Cushion

Muji Body Fit Cushion Beanbag Chair Sofa Bed

I know what you're thinking. Too old for a bean bag chair? Not this one. Muji's reputation for simple, well-designed household items extends to the comfiest, sink-in-and-sleep bean bag we've ever sat in. It's also specially made for cramped Tokyo apartments—perfect for the many tight-quartered cities we live in and love.

$190. Available online and at Muji stores in major cities on both coasts.
Photo: Muji.com

Copenhagen Wheel from Superpedestrian

Copenhagen Wheel Bicycle from Superpedestrian

Designers have few natural enemies, but the worst of them are steep hills. This motorized wheel from SuperPedestrian provides a boost for steep climbs and speeds up your commute. You just bike as you normally would.

$949. Pre-order here.
Photo: Superpedestrian.com

BB-8 from Sphero

 BB-8 Star Wars Toy from Sphero

The new Star Wars movie isn't even out yet. But everyone's already gone gaga for this adorable new droid, the BB-8. With its single, gigantic, almost puppy-dog eye, the BB-8 was engineered for maximum cuteness (hmm.) Control the Sphero-made toy with your iOS or Android gadget, or let it intelligently roam your house. You can even play augmented reality games with it.

$150. Available on Amazon.
Photo: Sphero.com

Apple Pencil

iPad Pro Apple Pencil Designer Stylus

If your designer friend has an iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil is a must-have. The souped-up stylus adds greater precision to a growing roster of powerful iPad apps. It's so precise, reviewers have called it the closest thing to drawing on paper. Fun fact: it's weighted so that whenever it rolls along your desk, it will stop with the Apple logo face-up.

$99. Available here.
Photo: Apple.com

Or...FiftyThree Pencil

FiftyThree Pencil Digital Stylus

Not buying for an iPad Pro adopter? FiftyThree makes a sweet drawing stylus that also works with all iOS devices along with Microsoft OneNote, Sketchbook Mobile and more.

$49. Available on Amazon.
Photo: FiftyThree.com

Sex, drugs, Helvetica Bold t-shirt

Novelty Designer Tshirt - Sex Drugs Helvetica Bold

For the designer whose Cintiq is also an ashtray. Perfect for bodega runs, Netflix binging and grabbing a beer with your creative director. Gift with caution.

From $19. Available on Amazon.
Photo: Amazon.com

Left to right: the cultural shift from words to pictures

Left to Right: The Cultural Shift from Words to Pictures by David Crow

The digital age is not some abstract thing. It's here and now. We're leaning more on visual communication and relying less on words. If you've used emoji, you know what I mean. Left to Right by David Crow explores the shift toward pictures and breaks down the best ways to express ideas with images.

From $4. Available on Amazon.
Photo: Amazon.com

Pocket synthesizer

teenageengineeringPO Pocket Synthesizer

Stoke an aspiring designer’s musical creativity. With Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator, you’re giving a cool looking toy that can create some serious tunes.

$59. Available on Amazon.
Photo: TeenageEngineering.com

Microsoft Surface Pro 4


If the designer in your life is more Windows 10 than OS X, the Surface Pro 4 is worth a look. Microsoft continues to blur the line between tablet and laptop. This year's update brings bumped up specs and a bigger screen in the same package as last year's already-exciting Surface Pro 3.

From $899. Available here.
Photo: Microsoft.com

1000 colours CMYK jigsaw puzzle

1000 Colours CMYK Jigsaw Puzzle

Know someone who loves showing off their design chops? This CMYK jigsaw puzzle will put them to the test. Each piece is a single color in the CMYK color spectrum, so they should already have a sense where each piece goes.

$29. Available here.
Photo: puzzle.lamingtondrive.com

Lexus hoverboard

lexus hoverboard

This is the hottest gift you can't buy. The Lexus hoverboard left people with Marty McFly dreams after demos this summer. But it only works in skate parks with metal tracks, unfortunately not everywhere. So until you can rip through your commute on a real hoverboard, just keep dreamin'.

Not actually available. But check out some sweet demo videos here.
Photo: Lexus-int.com

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Ronald C.

Written by Ronald C.