What a year it has been. Can you believe the holidays are nearly here? Around this time each year, friends, family, and colleagues begin to scratch their heads and wonder what they can get for the designers in their lives. And to help, we provide a yearly guide. (See our 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016 picks for a bit of nostalgia!) Read on below to see the inspiring gifts for designers we selected this year.

1. Four Point Puzzles  

Who knew puzzles would be such a hot commodity in 2020? We sure didn’t, but luckily, there are many puzzle purveyors to make extra time indoors a bit more fun. In particular, designers would love Four Point Puzzles, thanks to their focus on contemporary art and design. The company offers 1000 piece puzzles created by artists that cost $25. 

Four Point Puzzles Founder Lindsay Stead, explains “As people continue to social distance and stay home in the midst of a global pandemic, indulging in self-care, quiet comforts, and stimulating activities (that don’t require a screen) are more important than ever. Puzzles have grown in popularity in 2020, but Four Point Puzzles’ design-forward products offer contemporary artwork at an affordable price.” 

A person completing a colorful puzzle by Four Point Puzzles.

Here is a puzzle called Fade by Sara Andreasson

2. Fondfolio

With so much time spent away from friends and family this year, there have been fewer occasions to gather. Make sure milestones are celebrated by giving a thoughtful Fondfolio. This unique gift mixes kind words from contributors who know the recipient well and binds them using one of the oldest methods in a vintage-inspired and personally designed book. Digital versions are $80 while adding a hardcover version to the process is $240. Have something very specific in mind? Customized orders are $360. 

Fiona McDougall, Co-founder of Fondfolio, shares exactly why her products make the perfect gifts for designers this holiday season and beyond. “Fondfolio is a safe way to bring people together and still mark the moment by creating something special — a tangible reminder of our most important connections, the stuff that matters most…If you’ve ever experienced the joy of giving someone a compliment, you know that everyone involved in that exchange (the giver, the receiver, and anyone within earshot) gets a little mood boost. A Fondfolio is that, many times over, and we need all the joy we can get this year.”

A Fondfolio book with a wooden cover and Coptic binding.

3. Bali Box

With international borders largely shut, large scale vacations must be postponed and reimagined. Why not bring exciting locations home instead? That’s exactly what Bali Boxes aim to do. The company packages up handmade gifts that help the local Bali economy. While it’s not quite the same as laying out on Tegal Wangi Beach, it can help designers slow down and explore the culture (because we’re firm believers that breaks and vacations help the creative process, even if they’re non-conventional.) 

Why invest in a Bali Box on behalf of the designer(s) in your life? According to the owner, Summer Powell, “Bali Box is especially relevant in 2020 because it contains beautiful, meaningful, artisanal products curated to help you experience the wonder and magic of Bali while at home while helping local artisans (Bali’s economy has been decimated by lack of tourism during covid).” Bali Boxes retail for $99.95.

Several handcrafted gifts that go into a Bali Box.

4. Handcrafted Goods

This holiday season, don’t forget to support the crafty creators in your community. So many of us have picked up new hobbies while stuck at home. Why not support your neighbors’ creative endeavors with your dollars? Nicole Castillo, of NxPotions, has used her free time this year to start a small business making candles and embroidery hoop art that would make great gifts for designers. 

Nicole suggests her gifts for the artistically inclined because “hand-stitched art will inspire creative minds and individually curated scents will set the ambiance for new projects.” Her embroideries start at $22 and candles at $14.25. Make a sustainable choice this holiday season and buy handmade and local when possible.

Handcrafted embroidery hoop art from NxPotions that says “I’m speaking.”
Remember when US Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris said these iconic words?

5. Superplastic  

Toys aren’t just for kids. Adults often have figurines on their desks that bring them joy and inspire them. Superplastic is an entertainment brand that produces unique toys and apparel for musicians and companies around the world. In particular, they offer “a 3.5-inch premium and rare collector’s vinyl toy that’s turning heads in the design community and earning praise from Drake to Jared Leto.” Their art toys range in price from $15 to $5,500, based on size and prestige.

After so many months at the same desk, the designers in your life could certainly use a redecoration to get their creative juices flowing. Superplastic’s art toys are the perfect way to inspire their next project. To help with that, the latest collection from Superplastic, Janky Series Three, launches soon and features the designs of 14 artists from nine different countries.

Superplastic’s latest art toy line, Janky Series Three.
So much inspiration, so little time.

6. Monesk

While on the topic of gifts for designers that can spice up their workspaces, Monesk makes art more accessible with monthly delivery. Their offering starts at $8.54 per month and is described as a “Dual-sided 4″ x 6″ fine art prints delivered right to your door monthly. One side features a contemporary artist, the other a classic piece of art selected by our curator.”

Wonder what makes this product stand out from the subscription crowd? Well, it is “the only art subscription service that delivers a new piece of tiny desk art to subscribers’ doorsteps every month allowing them to discover and support new artists, effortlessly, while building their art collection and decorating their homes… Each print comes with a short artist bio, a brief description of the art, and a reflection—a series of questions to help guide you through your experience with the art. If you like the print, you can buy a full-size version through an exclusive micro-site that is available only to subscribers.”

An example of Monesk’s artwork.
Every designer’s desk could use a little bit more art.

7. The Honest Art History Dictionary

As you can tell, art and design go hand in hand. But sometimes it can be hard to break down convoluted art terms. A group called the Art History Babes breakdown 300+ essential art terms so that you can be ready to rumble once art museums are open to the public en masse. The group defines their book: “Spanning art history, iconic movements, peculiar words, and pretentious phrases – after reading this book, you’ll be able to lay down that art jargon with the best of them. From avant-garde to oeuvre, the Harlem Renaissance to New Objectivity, museum fatigue to memento mori – the Babes use their whip-smart humor, on-point knowledge, and a heavy dose of candor to explain even the most complex ideas in bite-sized definitions” — what’s not to love?

The book varies slightly in price, based on the store you choose, but the average cost hovers around $20 online (we always suggest you check if it’s in stock in your local, indie bookstore first!) It will be sure to delight a designer in your life who wants to start or rekindle their love of art history to supplement their craft.

The cover of The Art History Babes’ Art History Dictionary.

8. Time 

We think this is an especially important one to bring up during a period of economic uncertainty worldwide: the perfect gift doesn’t have to cost anything. You could bake a cake or help the designer in your life with a big project in their backyard. Despite the price tags associated with the gifts above, showing that you care is the real end goal. Never be pressured to buy a big-ticket item if that doesn’t work for your budget. Devoting your time and energy is just as valuable when it comes to gifts for designers. 

Final Thoughts

So that about wraps up our 2020 gifts for designers guide. There are so many ways to celebrate the designers in your life during the holidays, even if it’s from a distance this year. There are endless ways to bring a smile to their faces, from new art supplies to pricey digital subscriptions to time spent. And it doesn’t have to stop there. Gifts that bring designers joy make them think, and teach them something are all worthwhile ideas as well. Are there any great gifts for designers we left out? Let us know by tweeting us @Protoio.

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