Posted by Sarah Weigold
3 December, 2018

Designers: we’re a tricky bunch to buy for. Call us shallow (and you may be right), but people who spend their working lives thinking about the best fonts for small print or the difference between Pantone 334C and 335C are pretty fussy about details – which makes gift-finding a rather daunting task.

Faced with the fear of picking the wrong gift, most people end up choosing one of two options: a last minute panic buy or a ‘hilarious’ novelty Comic Sans gift (which grows old very quickly). This year, there’s no reason to stress about what to buy for a designer with these eight gift ideas.

1) A gift for nerdy types

There’s nothing a designer loves more than showing off their specialist typeface knowledge in an attempt to justify the thousands of pounds and years of their life spent studying design. Gifts for a typography geek could include a copy of the Helvetica movie or a periodic table of typefaces poster. Don't be afraid to think outside the box with this one, the more obscure the better – if you don’t understand it, they’ll love it!

Periodic table of typefaces gift inspiration.

2) Go natural

Designers spend hours of their lives reading and re-reading ingredients lists when designing packaging and as a result are keenly aware of how many nasties hide in everyday items. Gifts like soaps, biscuits or candles made with natural and simple ingredients will go down a treat. For bonus points, try and find unpackaged versions.

Natural soap on linen cloth.

3) Typeflakes

You know what really drives designers mad? Geometrically inconsistent snowflakes. Forget handmade paper snowflakes cut by children, Typeflakes are the only way for any self-respecting designer to decorate their tree. Not only are these flakes exactly uniform, they’re based on asterisks from five unique typefaces. Nothing says ’tis the season to be jolly like die-cut punctuation hanging in grid formation.

Typeflakes on Christmas tree gift idea.

4) Gifts that do good

To avoid making decisions about style and/or colour, you can’t go wrong with a charity donation. Whilst there are loads of good causes out there, some would be particularly close to a designer’s heart. How about a donation to a charity like Sightsavers for someone who relies so heavily on their eyesight? Or a charity that encourages young people to get into art?

Person looking at art on wall.

5) Pantone-perfect coffee

If there are two things that designers could be accused of being overly serious about, it’s coffee and colour. Give the gift of consistent coffee colouring with a Pantone mug in their preferred shade of brown. Warning: best not to buy this for your nearest and dearest, as they’re highly likely to drive you crazy with demands for exact beverage colour matching.

Pantone coffee cup Christmas gift idea.

6) Go big or go home

Anything involving big and bold letters will really float a designer’s boat. As a rule, if it looks like it was designed for a child who is learning to read, then it’s spot on. Think massive clocks, calendars and flash card style tote bags

Calendar with large typography present inspiration.

7) Minimalist nativity set

While most people embrace Christmas as an excuse for brightly coloured plastic and glitter, designers are very particular about their homes. Every year heralds an advent crisis of being too fussy to commit to any decorations and ending up in a Grinch-like white room. Give the gift of a typographic or colour-based minimalist nativity to help your designer remember the Christmas story without ruining the #aesthetic of their home.

Type-based nativity set present idea. Colour block nativity scene.

8) Move your body

Design involves a lot of screen time. Sitting down all day means that we don’t have a lot of time to look after our bodies, so vouchers for a yoga session, fitness class or massage would definitely be appreciated.

Athlete stretching in purple tracksuit.

We hope you’ve found some inspiration for that tricky designer in your life. If you’re getting into the festive spirit, be sure to count down the days with us and follow Nixon’s advent calendar at @nixondesign with the hashtag #NixonChristmas.