Gift Guide for the Creative

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” - Leo Burnett

With the holidays fast approaching, it can be really hard to find a useful gift for the creatives you may know and love. But here’s a tip: most creatives want quality over quantity - I know for me that if the item is really useful, simple, or just inspiring, then it’s a success. The list below aims to offer selections that pack a punch in smaller packages and price points. You can find below a carefully curated selection of some options that are sure to please any designer in your life. And as an added benefit, throughout this entire series it is noted when the suggested item is both owned and/or produced by American-owned and women-owned companies.

  1. Golden Coil Planner | Ever wanted a planner that had exactly the layout you’ve needed, but felt like there was something missing with the ones available? The Golden Coil planner has completely changed the planner game, with their almost completely customizable designs and layouts that help make planners meet exactly your needs. I adore my GC planner and was amazed that with this I actually used a paper planner to its full potential for the first time in my life. Women- and American-owned company located in Provo, Utah | $65 |

  2. Felix Gray Computer Glasses | Odds are the creative in your life stares at a computer or screen at least a majority of their workday. This can usually lead to eyestrain, headaches, and even sleep deprivation. These glasses aim to reduce those symptoms of blue light exposure. I for one have noticed an increase in quality of my sleep since purchasing these last year. They come in non-prescription, prescription, and reading glasses. Choose from a number of modern frames and colors, plus they are really durable - I can’t tell you the number of times my pair have been accidentally sat on! American-owned company located in New York, New York | $95-$145 |

  3. Old Try Print | Every thing from this family-owned company is on point. They specialize in region-specific, vintage-inspired letterpress prints, and they’re so simple and well-designed that any creative would love to have one of these hanging in their workspace or home. And as an added bonus, 10% of the proceeds from each print go to support foster families through The Foster Box. American-owned company located in Boston, Massachusetts | Printed in Somerville, Massachusetts | $42 |

  4. Staedtler Mars Lead Holder | This was the pencil that got me through architecture school. Although it’s technically called a “lead-holder,” everyone just called it a drafting pencil. It’s hefty, will last forever, and holds a huge piece of drafting lead that will last a good while. Bonus: these are still made to this day in Germany by a 170+ year old company. German-owned company located in Nuremberg, Germany | Produced in Germany | $9.40 |

  5. Luna Display | This gadget is a game changer. Does your creative friend or family member have the following: 1) a MacBook/iMac/Mac Mini and 2) an iPad. If so, buy this for them now. Designed by ex-Apple engineers who created the Astropad, this little guy plugs into any USB-C or Mini Display port, syncs up with an iPad, and wirelessly turns it into an interactive second display. It’s pretty much seamless, especially if you have strong wifi. I loved having a second display when at my old desk job, but now that I work from home, I can’t be locked to my desk all day, and buying two quality external monitors was just too much of an investment. This makes it so when I’m not using my iPad for drawing, it acts as my second display. This is just a small summary of how much this tiny piece of hardware can do. American-owned company located in San Francisco, California and Minneapolis, Minnesota | $79.99 |

  6. The Eye: How the World’s Most Influential Creative Directors Develop Their Vision. | Kinfolk is one of those magazines that just impresses at all levels. When this book was released in the fall of 2018, written by Kinfolk founder Nathan Williams, it aimed to shine a light on how some of the most influential creative and design directors honed their own unique aesthetic. This an invaluable book for art directors, designers, photographers, stylists, and any creative professionals seeking inspiration and advice. Published by an American-founded and owned company located in New York, New York | $45 |

  7. Whitespace Magazine | This annual publication celebrates artists, designers, and creatives. As stated on their website, in every issue “each artist takes their turn to share their work.” Creatives love to share and and be inspired, and this publication offers just that opportunity. The result is a breath of fresh air, and serves as a kind of printed art show. What’s also unique about this magazine is that they feature the work of designers and creatives year round on their website gallery, with a weekly round up of designers from around the world. Women- and American-owned company located in Geneseo, Illinois | $18 |

  8. Grovemade Leather + Maple Mouse Pad | The mouse is the workhorse for any creative - and it deserves an appropriate home. This pad gives a mouse a smooth surface to maneuver, coupled with a comfy cork interior and a sturdy maple base. This mousepad is built to take a beating and age beautifully. The pencil/pen/ stylus holder is a nice added touch - I can’t tell you how many pens and pencils float around my desk with no homes. This at least gives them a home and keeps things a bit more organized. Grovemade’s entire system can really help keep things in their place (I also love their Wool Felt Desk Pad). American-owned company located in Portland, Oregon | Manufactured in Portland, Oregon | $79- $99 |

*note: all of the comments above are my own opinion - and they feature no affiliate links

(aka I make no money if you do order from the above companies.)