Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

8 perfect gifts for a designer

Ah, the ever-elusive, moody, sensitive designer. To define them simply, a designer is an artist with a job. Sure, he had big dreams of being the next Jackson Pollock back when he was in art school, but you know what’s even more expensive than a useless art school degree? Living in the type of cities that artists like to congregate in. This explains the aforementioned job. Artistic passion don’t pay the rent, amiright? So, the designer’s soul gets crushed every day at work as he’s tasked at designing things like “marketing collateral” and “advertorials” and “mock-ups” instead of masterpieces that will be hung in fine art museums.

Help cheer up this jaded soul with the following gifts that are perfect for a fledgling designer.

1. Sixpoint Hi-Res: Designers tend to be perennially frustrated because they spend a lot of time interacting with people who don’t understand anything about design. Design is something everyone has an opinion about, which is fine. The problem arises when you’ve got a Greek chorus of people telling you that they don’t like your new design, but none of them can articulate what exactly needs to be changed. “I don’t like that photo” isn’t helpful if you can’t suggest what type of photo to replace it with. “It feels off” is even less helpful because it’s the vaguest thing you could ever say to another human being. Let the designer drown his frustrations with this Hi-Res beer from Sixpoint. He can drink it and laugh and laugh and laugh about how many times his dumb co-workers have asked him to send “hi-res” images via email and then are surprised when the files are too big to send. LOL forever.

2. Give ‘Em Helvetica T-Shirt ($19, Words Brand): Font selection is very, very important to a designer, mainly because the world is full of atrocious font choices. Don’t believe me? Here’s a fun game to play for the rest of your life: keep a running count of how many spas or hair salons use the Papyrus font in their logo. Newsflash: THEY ALL DO. Don’t even get me started on Comic Sans. We all know about that. That’s why it’s the designer’s duty to prevent poor font choices from further accosting the greater public’s eyes. He’s surely got a bunch of go-to fonts, but in a pinch, nothing works better than good old Helvetica. If it’s good enough for Steve Jobs, it’s good enough for everyone. This Give ‘Em Helvetica T-Shirt is perfect for the designer who’s dedicated to providing the world with good font choices, one step at a time.

3. Sonnenleder Lenz Pencil Case ($65, Hand-Eye Supply): Although the last time the designer worked on a project without the use of a computer was back in his college drawing class, sketchers still gonna sketch, right? Even if he’s no longer sketching a still life of a bowl of fruit and instead sketching out an ad for foot cream, he still likes to draw everything out on paper before taking it to technology. That’s why he’ll love this handsome leather pencil case to hold his favorite sketching tools.

4. Will Design for Money T-Shirt ($18, Words Brand): Anyone with the ability to design is always inundated with requests to help design something. Usually, the designer is flattered and more than happy to help. He knows that he can come up with something more unique and better designed than the crap his friends and family will find in a boxed set at their local CVS. However, when “Can you design my baby shower invite?” and “Will you design my Save the Date?” begin to replace “Hi, how are you?” at social functions, it starts to become a problem. You see, being able to design is a trade that the designer can use to make extra money. He cannot make extra money designing things if he’s constantly designing things for assorted acquaintances. That’s why this Will Design for Money T-Shirt is perfect for him. He can wear it to every single family function and simply point to his chest when his cousin asks him to design an invitation for the 10th anniversary of getting liposuction.

5. Copic Marker Set ($65, Hand-Eye Supply): Trust this: nothing will make a designer happier than a good pen, and this Copic Market Set provides the designer with not one good pen, but 12. These felt-tipped markers will come in handy when he’s “designing” doodles in his notebook during the next soulless marketing meeting he has to sit through.

6. Skills to Pay the Bills Mug ($18, Old English Co.): Just like being able to make a coffee table out of old lumber or fix a car, being able to design is a skill. The only difference is that trade school costs a lot less than art school does. Regardless, a designer has a marketable skill that’s much better than your supposed “advertising” experience. Even if he’s really down on his luck, he’ll be able to get with a local musician and design a concert flyer for $75. This Skills to Pay the Bills Mug will serve as a reminder to him that even on his darkest days (when he’s inputting the seventh round of changes to an advertorial mock-up), that if one day he snaps and quits, he’s got the skills needed to support himself.

7. Studio Life ($25, Amazon): Whether the designer has a full-fledged studio or if his only “studio” is the office cubicle he toils away in, designers and artists are always interested in how other people work. Studio Life is a visual collection of studio spaces of various artists from across the globe, something the designer will surely appreciate.

8. VK-1 Headphones ($500, ISO50): Being a designer means that you have to go into work and be creative every day. Now, most people would read that and say, “I would love to have a creative job!” Sure, you would. In theory. But you know how you can show up to your job and write boring emails all day and then go home? A designer can’t do that. He has to create something that doesn’t look like a pile of puke on the page. He’s got to make something that accomplishes the goals of 32 different people and still looks least a little bit appealing and attractive. It is h-a-r-d to be creative all of the time. That’s why most designers can be found wearing giant headphones and drinking massive amounts of coffee. The music serves as a way to both inspire them and help them tune out stupid distractions and pumping caffeine into their bodies falsely makes them believe that they can finally get down to work and get things done. The designer will appreciate the amazingness of these VK-1 Headphones, which will drown out the chatter of his co-workers and signal to everyone, “I am working, do not interrupt.”

Amanda Waas is the creator of You’re Welcome, a gift guide site for all of life’s awkward occasions. Her writing has appeared in Every Day With Rachael Ray, Glamour, Made Man, AOL’s Shelterpop and DIY Life, and various others. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook and sign up for her succinct, not-annoying weekly e-newsletter for gift suggestions sent right to your inbox.


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Amanda Waas
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