The perfect gift guide for that graphic designer in your life, or yourself! (You’ve been good this year.) 24 gifts to choose from – one for each of the 24 days before Christmas. Prices range from $5.99 to $196.00.
I feel like the name kind of says it all. This Book is a Camera is an actual camera. My engineering friend asked me how…and I’m not exactly sure, but I really want it now to find out! I feel like this is a great present for photographers and designers alike. Photographers will appreciate the inventive approach to photography, as well as the entry-level information included around the main camera. Graphic Designers will faun over the careful paper folding and pop-up nature of the book, as well as the clean typographic approach in the layout of the book. It’s something for everyone, which is probably why the MoMA sells it.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 might be my favorite design tool of the year. It made my Package Design course in school a breeze, and it’s given me the opportunity to be a little more explorative in my work. Usually, I would shy away from die-cuts because it meant I had to bring my work to school, fight with the laser cutter, and deal with slightly charred edges in my cuts. This machine fixed all of those problems. It lightly adheres my paper to a cutting mat and uses a blade to cut my vector-drawn design out. The best part? It’s at home so I can work in my pajamas. Make sure to buy the extra tools with this machine though! Cleaning the cutting mats can be a beast without them.
by: Kassia St Clair
I received this book as a birthday present this year, and it’s my favorite book to read before bed. Aside from it being beautifully laid out, it gives you little vignettes into certain swatches of color with extensive history. “Fluorescent pink: On April 21, 1978, the British punk band X-Ray Spex released 15,000 limited-edition copies of their new single ‘The Day the World Turned Day-Glo,’ on pumpkin-orange 7-inch vinyl. On the cover, a globe, roughly colored in a mixture of yellow, red, and poison-bright pink, stands against a lime background…” The writing is descriptive and captivating; moreover, learning more about color impacts how I use it in my work. I will say I was slightly irritated with the hardcover version of the book. The holes in the cover weren’t die-cut out and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. Maybe the paperback does it…
I’m no money-bags, so a $100 pair of shoes seems like a wild luxury. That aside, I’ve wanted these for about two years now. I love the whimsical design and the fact that it’s a designer’s most common tool is just icing on the cake. I realize these flats aren’t for everyone, but I think it’s a fun addition to any eccentric artist’s wardrobe.
My favorite part of my yearly gift guide is items like this. Think of it as a stocking stuffer, of sorts. Zap-A-Gap is the last glue you will ever buy. Forget Gorilla Glue – that’s weak-sauce compared to this king. It doesn’t matter what the two items you’re sticking together; this glue will make sure they stay that way. It saved me during my Exhibit Design course when I created comps for my projects. I have an Ikea pendant light glued to my concrete ceiling with this stuff (and it’s not going anywhere). I loved the 1/2 oz bottle so much, I bought the full size.
Okay, so $39.99 might be a bit much for only one of these PANTONE Christmas Ornaments. To a true fan of the PANTONE Universe, it’s a sure fire way to brighten their holiday season. Pick out your favorite color, or buy the corresponding PANTONE Color of the Year to commemorate how memorable 2018 was. Year by year, you’ll be able to put together a PANTONE collection to add a bit more spot-color to your tree.
I get so much enjoyment out of playing this game with other graphic designers. It’s an entire game where you guess logos, and answer questions about company identities. If you’ve pretty much memorized every card from the first game (like I have), this is a great way to continue the fun. It’s structured exactly the same as the first version, only featuring all new brands. I own both, and am patiently waiting for a third edition…
Based on Sanzo Wada’s Work
A Dictionary of Color Combinations is a beautiful book I’m clearly late to the party for. It’s composed of various color combinations based on Sanzo Wada’s six-volume work from the 1930s. His use of color shows an admiration for western color, while simultaneously displaying a deep understanding of traditional Japanese art. This book is designed with a simplified aesthetic to allow his color combinations to truly sing. Though it was released in 2011, I find it to be a timeless piece. I’m dying to add it to my library.
Like everyone else, I love Bob Ross. During my Painting course, our teacher would play his old episodes while we worked. He was such a positive man with a calming energy and great hair. In the Art of Chill, you race against your opponents to finish your masterpiece first. It’s a game for those with resolve as mighty as Bob’s mountains while painting happy little trees.
The Olfa Rotary Cutter is my knife of the year, in that I’ve needed it on three separate occasions in 2018. When I was putting together my portfolio during my senior year, I felt the need to personalize it and use fabric. Have you ever tried to cut felt with an X-ACTO knife? It’s hell. Fortunately, my teacher let me borrow her rotary cutter, and I fell in love. Because it rolls across the surface, you aren’t pulling the fibers and warping the material you’re cutting. For something I didn’t know existed before that moment, I’ll never go another day without one. Just in case.
Can you think of a better way to start 2019 than running in the gym next to your gorgeous PANTONE Drinking Bottle working on that New Year’s Resolution you’re SO not giving up on?! As a loyal fan of the brand, I’m very excited about these water bottles. I love the minimalist color blocking on the easy-to-clean stainless steel surface. It’ll look great at the gym or on your desk at work. However, how are they less expensive than the ornaments!?
I’m a fan of Laurence King books. This should come as no surprise, seeing as I’m a designer. I found this cute card game on their website and thought it was so clever. In Guess the Artist, you take what you know about art history and guess what artist each card is hinting at. For example, you pull a card with a mustache, a lobster, and a flying cat: who is it? This game is a great way to stump your designer friends while your waiting for your food to come at lunch, and it’s lightweight so it’ll fit easily in your purse. The answer, by the way, was Salvador Dali!
I remember feeling so sad when Print Magazine announced they’re halting publication. It was my favorite source of design news and served as a source of inspiration for a lot of my projects in school. Eye on Design Magazine filled that design literature void for me. Each issue is beautifully designed and cleverly thought out. It feels like more of an experience when I’m reading it, and it justifies the price. This subscription is one every graphic designer will thoroughly enjoy.
Finally! A pencil skirt that isn’t super constraining and prominently features my food-baby! For some, this print might seem a little busy, but I’ll take it. I’m a sucker for pockets. Not to mention, Modcloth uses a soft cotton in their A-Line Skirts that feels great against your skin and makes for a breezy, professional look. If you have a designer in your life with a colorful personality, this might be the piece their wardrobe was missing.
During my time at Michael Graves Architecture & Design, I remember my Art Director, Steph, ordered this deck for Alyssa, the Staff Graphic Designer. Alyssa specializes in digital design and runs the MGA&D website. I felt like this deck was an interesting way to view the different elements of a website and decide what is and isn’t necessary for a certain project. I was talking to Steph about design thinking one day, and she mentioned that it’s important to creatively stimulate your clients at the beginning of a project to understand their expectations and build a relationship for the upcoming project. I immediately thought that introducing this to my clients as a card game, of sorts, could be a great way to start the conversation of what they feel their website needs.
The Best of Design
by: HOW + Print
This is a bit of a self-promotion. HOW and Print have teamed up to display their 2018 Regional Design Awards Winners in a new book called, The Best of Design. It’s set to release this summer, and I’m proud to announce my Oedipus Rex book cover will be one of the designs featured next to many other talented artists I look up to. As a late holiday gift, keep a look out on Print’s Store to pre-order a copy and celebrate this achievement with me! Stay tuned for more…
Burn-out is such a real and terrifying condition for so many artists. Art Oracles is a card set that gives you wise words of wisdom from many of your favorite artists like Andy Warhol and Frida Kahlo. I was immediately attracted to these because they were carefully illustrated to mimic tarot cards. Rather than telling your future, they’ll help you approach a design problem in a way you may not have considered before; thus, keeping burn-out at bay.
House Industries is a design…well, powerhouse. This book addresses all of my favorite topics: where to find inspiration, design lessons, and insightful case studies that focus on how to create personally satisfying and successful work. The book portrays each case study in an elegant and respectful way that showcases their design thinking and finished projects. I find the piece creatively stimulating, and it’s held a proud place in my wishlist for about six months now.
The Oh, Crop Mug is a cute mug that reflects my instant panic when I accidentally do something in a project I immediately regret. It’s the visual representation of Cmd Z. I loved the contrast its dark interior creates with its light exterior. I also love good, clean wordplay. I’m a sucker for a good pun. Appropriate for photographers and designers alike.
This calendar is bold, modern, and beautiful. About every inch of it screams Massimo Vignelli…and this calendar is pretty big, clocking in at 48″ x 36″. The design was adapted to correctly reflect the 2019’s dates, but the original design was created by Vignelli in 1966. This calendar is the perfect addition to your studio, and is currently on sale at Crate & Barrel right now! What more could you want?
My boyfriend bought me pens for our seventh anniversary – that’s how you know he’s a keeper. Last year, I raved about my Prismacolor markers because of their smooth application and ample pigmentation. They also just have a special place in my heart. I found the Uni Posca Paint Pens to be just as great but in a totally different way. For a while, I’ve used Sharpie’s Paint Pens for certain projects here and there, but I’ve found they dry up quickly and sometimes leave streaks during application. This isn’t the case for the Uni Posca Pens. They apply even opaque color and are waterbased so they don’t streak or smudge. Even though I’ve only used them on paper, I’m excited to see how they hold up on other surfaces as well.
I love a fun set of earrings almost as much as I love typography. For $9.00, this makes a great stocking stuffer you can wear from the office to a nice dinner. Studs are casual and classy all at the same time. The thing I loved most about this set is its literal practice. When these quotes sit on your ears, they perfectly frame everything your mouth says.
During my time at Michael Graves Architecture & Design, I always looked forward to the days Alyssa would have her Communication Arts Magazine delivered. We had a small collection of design magazines in the studio, and I loved to take them home on the weekends and look at all of the new work talented designers created. Communication Arts was one of my favorites because it was thicker than the other design magazines and it always had a specific focus like advertising or identities. I think this is a great present that’ll inspire designers to grow.
I love my Wacom Intuos Pro. This is the newer version of the one I’ve had for years. There was a bit of a learning curve when I first unboxed mine in my freshman year of college. It was weird to not see what I was drawing directly under my stylus, but after practicing, I’ve come to love it’s attention to sensitivity and it’s user-friendly setup. For only $109, I think it’s a great beginner tablet that proves useful for illustrators and calligraphers alike. Also, if you’re a lazy person that doesn’t want to print documents, fill them out in pen, and then scan them into your computer, this makes signing PDFs a breeze. Not a selling point, just an added bonus.