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Whether you’re searching for the perfect holiday gift, a special birthday surprise, or the cherry on top of a loved one’s graduation, nabbing the perfect item for the designer in your life can be tough.
At Toronto Film School, we’re often asked by parents and friends of students on what would make an ideal gift – so we decided to throw our favourite suggestions together in one place.
We’ve broken our list into two categories: Graphic Designers and Video Game Designers. We also considered a range of budgets, so there should be something for nearly everyone.
First up, let’s check out great gift ideas for graphic designers.
8 Gifts for Graphic Designers
Pantone Art Pads
No designer can have enough pads of fresh, quality paper, and Pantone Art Pads are some of the best. These premium sketchpads, developed in collaboration with Talens, feature bleed-resistant paper that brings designs to life.
Perfect for experimenting with colour palettes and sketching out vibrant ideas, these art pads are a must-have for any graphic designer seeking that little kick of inspiration.
Pocket Art Director
Looking for a cheeky gift that won’t burn a hole through your purse? Let us introduce you to the Pocket Art Director II, your on-the-go creative companion. Packed with design principles, colour theory, and typography tips, this pocket-sized guide is a whimsical yet practical tool for graphic designers.
This gift is sure to help any designer navigate the world of design challenges with wit and wisdom, making it an ideal gift for the designer who needs a little chuckle.
Can You Make It Pop? Coasters
Okay, one more humour gift for the list. This one is a nice reminder during the midday coffee break – “Can You Make It Pop?” coasters. Designed with a nod to the common client request, these coasters serve as a playful reminder of the graphic design process. A witty and practical gift for designers who appreciate a good laugh while sipping espresso.
The Vignelli Canon
Uncover the design philosophy of the legendary Massimo Vignelli with “The Vignelli Canon.” This comprehensive guide delves into the principles of graphic design, offering timeless insights and inspiration. A must-read for graphic designers aspiring to refine their craft and elevate their work to iconic levels.
The book also happens to be a stunning example of book texture and binding, and even if your loved one doesn’t read it, they are sure to appreciate how it sits on their shelf.
XP-Pen Deco 3
While the Wacom table brand is an easy recommendation, if you’re looking for an option that’s more affordable but just as good, XP-Pen is the one to buy.
This wireless graphic tablet provides precision and flexibility, offering graphic designers a seamless drawing experience. With customizable express keys and a sleek design, the Deco 3 is a versatile tool that empowers designers to bring their visions to life with unparalleled accuracy.
Panton: The Game
It took a modicum of control to shave down our Panton-related gifts to just two. This one is a fan favourite. Merge design and entertainment with “Panton: The Game.” Developed by Cryptozoic, this board game challenges players to explore the world of colour and design in a fun and interactive way. Perfect for game nights or creative brainstorming sessions, Panton is a unique gift that bridges the gap between design expertise and playful competition.
Literally Anything from Standards Manual
Standards Manual makes some of the most impressively designed books on earth. That may sound like an exaggeration, but trust us, it is not.
So check out the website and explore the meticulously curated collection from Standards Manual. From iconic design manuals to thought-provoking books, each item is a celebration of design excellence.
Whether it’s a classic graphic standards manual or a visually inspiring monograph, a gift from Standards Manual is sure to delight and inspire any graphic designer.
2023 MacBook Pro
Got money to burn on a very special someone? There is no gift more beneficial to a designer than a new MacBook Pro. These machines are a powerhouse of performance and portability – an essential tool for graphic designers.
With a stunning Retina display and advanced processing capabilities, the MacBook Pro is designed to handle the most demanding design tasks with ease.
8 Gifts for Video Game Designers
Classically Trained Mug
While it’s easy to pick one of a million nostalgia-bate coffee mugs on Etsy, we’re fans of the classics. Pull on your loved one’s inner child with the Classicly Trained Mug.
This 15oz ceramic mug pays homage to the roots of video game design, making it a perfect companion for late-night coding sessions or intense gaming marathons. Let every sip be a nostalgic reminder of the golden age of gaming.
Spelunky, by Derek Yu
Dive into the world of indie game design with “Spelunky” by Derek Yu. This insightful book provides a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the critically acclaimed game, offering valuable lessons and inspiration for aspiring video game designers.
This is a captivating and often funny read for anyone interested in the art and science of game development.
Will Wright Masterclass
Get tips from one of gaming’s most influential voices with the Will Wright Masterclass. In this easy-to-digest online course, the legendary game designer shares his expertise, covering everything from conceptualization to execution.
We think this is a thoughtful gift for aspiring game designers, and it provides a unique opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s visionaries and the creator of The Sims.
Like any student, you need to start with the classics. While you could emulate older titles, the Analogue Pocket has given new life to old gaming cartridges from the 90s. This handheld gaming console allows game designers to experience their favourite retro titles.
With compatibility for multiple systems and a stunning display, the Analogue Pocket is a nostalgic yet cutting-edge gift for the game designer who cherishes the classics.
Samsung 2TB Rugged External SSD
Everyone who makes games complains about one thing: storage. The Samsung 2TB Rugged External SSD is a fantastic way to save game files, assets, and backups.
This one is tailor-made for game designers handling large files and extensive projects, this external SSD combines durability with lightning-fast data transfer. Ensure seamless workflow and reliable data storage, whether at the office or on the go.
Steam Deck OLED
Every game designer imagines the day they upload their game on Steam. Valve, the company behind Steam, launched a hand-held console last year, and it’s a fantastic gift for designers.
This handheld gaming PC brings the power of a gaming desktop to your fingertips, making it an ideal gift for video game designers who want to test their creations on the go. Their newest iteration has an OLED display that’s crisp and incredibly responsive.
Secretlab Titan Evo
Make grinding out a new iteration of a weapon design or level a little more enjoyable with one of the best gaming chairs on the market, the Secretlab Titan Evo 2022 Series.
This gaming chair is designed for comfort during those long development sessions. With adjustable features, lumbar support, and premium materials, the Secretlab Titan Evo is a thoughtful gift for video game designers who prioritize both ergonomics and style.
For any designer working in 3D engines, such as Unreal or Unity, a few notable artists have turned their audiences on to the SpaceMouse.
This advanced input device provides intuitive control and precise movement. From the reviews we’ve seen, it elevates the design process and streamlines workflow, which makes it a game-changing gift for video game designers.
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