25 Creative Gifts for Designers

creative gifts

There are a few times a year when people are willing to shower me with presents (and boy do I love those creative gifts).  It’s not uncommon for those people to request what I’d like.  As an adult and minimalist, I really have everything I need.  When something new pops up that I need, I buy it.  But telling that to someone who’s looking to bathes you in generosity usually doesn’t go over well (trust me).  So, if you’re like me and need to give someone a range of cool little widgets that interest you, or if you’re looking to buy some creative gifts for a creative… Here’s your list of 25 arranged by price.

Please note that the below links are affiliate links.  Meaning, if you purchase them I get a small commission at no added cost to you.  If you support me and this site, it’s a great way to give back and get something cool in the process.

Creative Gifts for Designers


  1. Message In A Bottle Thumb Drive – $10
    Over the years I’ve amassed a handful of thumb drives.  I can never seem to find the one I want and have to plug them in to find out what’s on them.  With this little guy, it’s readily identifiable and you have a place to store it.  If you want, you can write on the cork as well or fill the bottle with a little knick knack that will help you remember what that thumb drive is for.

  2. Electronic Cleaning Puddy – $10
    If you use a computer a lot, chances are it’s full of dust, hair, and dirt (among other things).  With this puddy you can quickly remove any of that crud with a few pats.

  3. Stapleless Stapler – $15
    I don’t know why it is, but whenever I go to use a stapler here at the office, it seems like I jam it or the thing is missing staples.  Then the search begins and I find myself spending the next 10 minutes looking around for the box of staples.  With this stapler that pain would be gone and I’d be helping out the environment and my wallet by not having to use staples.

  4. Monochromatic Deck of Playing Cards – $15
    I’m not a big fan of card games, but these sure would be cool to pull out when I have friends over who want to play a game.  Total designer status. One of those cool creative gifts aye?

  5. Small Hardcover Moleskin – $15
    Ideas can come at any time.  It’s great to have a small sketchbook on hand to draw or jot down notes.  I swear by these guys.

    creative gifts
  6. Set of 4 Rocking Glasses – $20
    When I was living in Copenhagen I went into a cafe and ordered a latte.  This is the first time I’d experienced an art swooped top pour.  I sat down at some long benches staring wide eyed at my beautiful latte and looked up.  There was a pitcher of water on the table with these little glasses next to it.  I fell in love.  I bought 2 sets when I got home and haven’t been disappointed.  I love serving guests with these things.  Total designer status.

  7. Sigg Metal Water Bottle – $20
    Because I’m a designer, I think people often relate that to being effeminate (a classification I try to avoid like the plague).  I can’t vouch for the truth in it, but I read that plastic water bottles release chemicals into your water that increase the drinkers estrogen levels.  I immediately got online and ordered a metal water bottle.  Sigg has the sleakest models I could find.  Gender crisis averted.

  8. Personal Library Embosser – $20
    Embossers are slick.  Nuff said.  Getting a personalized one?  Even slicker.

  9. Build-on Brick Mug – $25
    I imagine drinking out of this may not be the best experience, but as a novelty item, this will certainly have your colleagues and friends buzzing.

  10. Set of 5 3d Puzzles – $25
    I love little 3d puzzles almost as much as I love watching other people struggle to try and solve them.  This may serve as a useful distraction for that person that won’t stop bugging you while you try and work.  You’re welcome.

  11. Dry Erase Paint – $25
    A place I used to work at had one of those high-tech smart-boards.  The problem with it was that it was that the calibration would be off within ten minutes of recalibrating it.  We opted for the dry-erase board most of the time.  This paint will serve you better than a smart-board.  You can be like the dry-erase paint King Midas. 

  12. Sennheiser headphones – $40
    I’ll admit, these may not be the most creative gift, but they are certainly a must have.  I love listening to design radio with these in to help get focused.

  13. Perpetual Calendar – $45
    Now that we have cell phones, there’s little need for actual clocks and watches.  That’s why the only clocks and watches I buy have awesome designs.  This calendar is one of those things.

  14. Wireless Solar Keyboard – $50
    Even before I aced the LEED Green Associate exam, I was looking for ways to help out the environment.  This solar powered keyboard makes it so that you don’t have to worry about a cord, nor do you have to worry about changing the battery.  AND it comes with a keypad.  Total design win in my book.

  15. Wacom Intuos Tablet – $55
    For any designer who draws this is a great addition to the front of your desk.  Even if you don’t use it, it just makes you look like you mean business.

  16. Aquafarm – $60
    Closed loop ecosystems are the bees knees.  Grow your veggies and watch your beautiful beta (or other) fish swim around in bliss.

  17. Wacom Inkling – $70
    I have a normal wacom tablet and it’s great, but it’s not the same as drawing on a sheet of paper.  On a typical tablet you’re looking at the screen and not watching what you’re drawing.  With the inkling, what you draw is what you get.

  18. Prisma Color Markers – $70
    I don’t use a lot of media as a designer since being regulated to a computer, but one of my favorite tools to use is Prisma color markers.  If you’ve never used them, go to your local art store, start doodling, and fall in love.

  19. 3Dconnextion 3d mouse – $90
    I’ve never used one of these but it’s apparently a game changer for 3d modeling.

  20. Laser Distance Measurer – $105
    If you do a lot of field measurements it makes sense to invest in one of these bad boys.  No more limp tape measurers for that 50′ long room.

  21. Pantone Swatches – $130
    When you print something there’s a good chance it’s not the same color you saw on your screen… Or that it will be the same color someone else prints.  These pantone swatches are great for designers to select specific colors for something.  You can look online for color conversions to paints too.

  22. Scrabble Typography – $200
    What more could a designer want out of a scrabble game then different typography for each of the letters?  This may turn some of you OCDers off, but I think it’s pretty niffty.

  23. Assorted All White Lego Set – $205
    Once you’ve graduated to being an adult you may be temped to dip back into your legos for one last hurrah.  I’m here to tell you that if you buy the white legos, it is then completely acceptable to play with them at any age.

  24. HDMI Pocket Projector – $300
    I don’t know why you’d exactly need this… maybe to show a movie on the go, or at a small critique.  What I do know is that if someone whipped this thing out of there pocket, I’d be impressed.

  25. Dremel 3d Printer – $1,000
    If I could invest in one thing right now it’d be this.  The different opportunities that 3d printing unlocks are endless.  You can use it for small home repairs or designing new cool toys… or buildings… or anything.

What’s one of the best creative gifts you’ve ever received?  Let us know in the comments below!


  1. allstarcarpetandtiles June 24, 2019 at 10:31 am #

    Great tips. I’m bookmarking this page. Its a great resource to keep. Thanks for sharing.

  2. hamzakhan17826 May 19, 2019 at 7:16 am #

    Ok sure, I will follow your steps before going to do exams. I hope your article will help me more.

  3. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely share this with my classmates at de la salle zobel.

  4. classboat01 October 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    Hello there and thanks for your information, I have certainly picked up allot new info from right your post. You are also provided information about best tips for exam,Which is very helpful to me and other people also.

  5. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  6. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  7. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  8. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  9. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  10. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  11. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  12. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  13. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  14. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  15. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  16. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  17. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  18. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  19. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  20. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  21. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  22. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  23. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  24. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  25. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #


    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.


  26. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  27. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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