Holiday Gift Guide: For the Designer Types

Polaroid Frame

Ponoko is a wonderful resource that uses a lot of high-tech equipment to let designers produce and sell great ideas for people who need clever gifts, like this play on the late, lamented Polaroid camera. (Chris Jackson, $10)

Citrus Juicer

You could pay 60 bucks and make Philippe Starck even richer by purchasing his Alessi juicer that takes up a lot of space, or you could pay a fraction of that for Brent Wilson's flatpack juicer, which takes up no space at all. (Ponoko, $10)

Urban Gridded Notebook

Lulu is another one of those new internet-based tools that, like Ponoko does for designers, lets writers break away from the standard publishing industry methods and self-publish their works. This has been done for centuries, but was really expensive and it was not easy for the self-publisher to market their work. Now, with on-demand printing and electronic sales media like Amazon, it is coming into its own. A great example is Urban designer John Briscella's Urban Gridded Notebook. He writes in his description:

The modern city is controlled by the grid... we should not let it control our creativity. A blank notebook/sketchbook/journal that is gridded with 125 cities from all around the world. Great for Urbanist, Architects, Designers, Artists, everyone who enjoys cities.

(Lulu, $15.96)

The Curiosity Shoppe

A great online source of cheap and green gifts is the Curiosity Shoppe, which has a few things we like this year:

A glass canteen, "This isn't necessarily the canteen you'd want to take out into the wild, but it's perfectly suitable and darn good looking for all sorts of around-the-house adventures." ($24)

A stainless steel bento box to carry your lunch in safety and style. ($21)

And for the inveterate traveler, a stitchable postcard where you connect the dots that you have been to. ($5)

Digital Magazines

A lot of dead-tree magazines have online versions, but they often come later than the print editions (to protect their subscription base) and do not show the ads, which are often as interesting and as valuable as the editorial content. One idea that straddles the online and offline world is Zinio, which sells high quality digital reproductions of magazines, but with some tweaks; any references to websites work as hyperlinks, and you can zoom in and out. If you have a big monitor (22-inch and up) you can see the full spread of the magazine and it looks terrific; on smaller monitors you have to move around a bit. Not very useful for reading in the bathtub or on the subway, but the subscriptions are usually a bit cheaper than a conventional subscription--Metropolitan Home goes for $8 for 10 issues, for example, with no tax, and you get it on time. (Zinio, prices vary)

Up To You

A great source of economical and high-design, fun gifts is Toronto's Up To You. Owners Bill and Dimitra have great taste and a terrific sense of humor. They sell tiny Eames chairs for a lot less ($12 CAD) than Vitra, for example. And the recent crash of the Canadian dollar in relation to the American buck means big bargains. (It's like getting a 25 percent discount right now.) (Up to You, prices vary)

Jimi Wallet

The is still made from 100 percent recycled plastic, and still cheap at under $20. The Jimi X has a clip on the side to deal with the pile of bills that Americans have to carry; Everyone else in the world who carry loonie, euro, or pound coins should be happy with the standard Jimi. ( Jimi, $15.95)

Keep Calm and Carry On Poster

What more need we say? The perfect gift for these times. (Keep Calm and Carry On, from about $13)

Next: Not So Cheap Gifts

Tags: Designers | Gift Guides | Gifts


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