Updated! It’s the holidays! Today we have a list of over 20 awesome gift ideas (from $19 to $2000) that are geeky enough to make most web designer’s giddy with excitement. Whether you need to help guide your friends and family to the hip products of the year, or you’re on your own personal shopping spree, check out this list for some geeky gift goodness.
Whether You’ve Been Naughty or Nice…
Web designers love cool hands-on products. Maybe it’s the fact that we work on the internet where the closest thing we get to a tactile product is a shiny new webhost or font. Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve been working our tails off all year and we deserve a little geek gratification. Either way, chances are good that you’ll have to provide a little “geek guidance” to your family or friends to help figure out what you’re wishing for, so we hope this list will help inspire Santa’s elves:
Side Note: This isn’t an official endorsement of any of these products, nor are any of these intended to generate referral sales or anything (with the obvious exception of any products that are sold by Envato™). This is simply a fun list in the holiday spirit of gift giving (and cool products)!
Adobe CS5 Web Premium
Ahhhh the holy grail of graphics software, pre-packaged with a handy (if expensive) suite of programs that are catered to web design related tasks. If you’ve been putting along with an older version (like CS2 or CS3), it’s high time that you make the jump to the massive improvements found in the CS5 version.
Web designers tend to spend a lot of time sitting… sure, we might be working our tails off, but we’re still just sitting there. That’s why the new XBOX Kinect Sensor is so intriguing. To play, you’ve gotta actually get up off your butt and move. Yes, the Playstation 3 has Move and the Wii has their own version of movement based games, but the Kinect seems to be on the forefront for the time being, so it gets the main link here ;)
Logitech diNovo Edge
Web designers are virtually attached to their keyboards when we’re working… so why do we put up with crappy ones? The Logitech diNovo Edge is a fantastic example of a keyboard that’s functional, comfortable, and easy on the eyes.
Logitech Performance Mouse MX
From the same line of thought as the keyboards… mice are practically an extension of our hands when we’re working (or pretending to work). Spending a few extra bucks on this single device can make life (and work) so much easier… the Performance MX by Logitech (I believe it used to be called the Revolution) kicks serious butt. It offers an incredibly smooth ride and great responsiveness.
LaCie MosKeyto 8GB Ultra Small Flash Drive
8GB of drive space used to occupy devices the size and weight of a cinder block… this itty bitty gadget stores 8GB (16GB models available too) of digital stuff, all on a device that fits (comfortably) on your keychain.
For the web designer in dire need of a new workhorse, the Macbook Pro can handle anything a web designer can throw at it (and quite a bit more). It’s pricey, but most designers agree that it’s well worth the extra dough.
HP Envy Laptop
While Macbooks always seem to be a “designer” choice, Windows laptops aren’t to be missed out on either. I’m a huge fan (and avid user) of Windows 7 myself, and it flies on laptops the way that us Windows users have always dreamt of. The HP Envy is winning awards left and right, and it’s pricing model leaves Mac’s in the dust.
The iPad is definitely the hottest major tech product of the year, but what makes it especially cool for geek types (like web designers) is the ability to keep up on news, store/share your portfolio on a slick interface, and the building library of design-specific apps.
iPad Otterbox Defender Case
For those who already have an iPad and can’t seem to keep it in their hands… the Otterbox is just one of a growing list of cases designed for folks that are prone to being a little less-than-gentle with their gadgets.
iPad Solid Line Case
Another iPad case… but this is one that focuses on functionality, not overt protection. The Solid Line includes a BlueTooth keyboard built into the case… making typing infinitely easier than trying to poke onscreen. Brilliant!
The Galaxy Tab
The Galaxy Tab(let) is Samsung’s answer to the iPad, and for some, it might be the perfect mobile solution. It runs on the Android system, which is an interesting alternative for savvy web designers because the app environment is open (nice!), which means the possibility of great applications that cater directly to web designers on the go is promising.
iPhone 4 (or 3GS for budget shoppers)
This one is a no-brainer this year…. if the designer in question isn’t already using one, now’s a great time to convert. Multi-tasking, mobile, web browsing, and a growing list of web-designy apps is making the iPhone more than just a phone, it’s something that you can incorporate into your entire life/business. The Android phones look pretty darn slick this year too, just in case you’re opposed to all things Apple.
Phillips DLO Cordless Walldock
I’ll make this simple (becuase Phillips did) – it’s an ordinary iDevice dock… sans the cords. Fight tangles by eliminating them.
Windows Phones (HTC Surround)
Speaking of Windows… Microsoft has finally come out with a competitor in the cell phone arena, and it’s getting praise from the critical techy gadget community. There are already a wide range of phones to pick from, the one that caught my eye was the HTC Surround. Perfect for those web designers that aren’t exacty Apple lovers ;)
Android based phones have to advantages at the moment: 1) They’ve been around longer than the new Windows OS (which means there are lots more apps available), and 2) They aren’t Apple (or saddled with AT&T). Love it or hate it, the facts that Droid phones feature a wider range of features and they’re run by Google makes these phones a particularly intriguing choice for a web designer who isn’t partial to using an iPhone… heck, some of these new phones (like the Droid X) make the new Droids a fierce competitor this holiday season (and they can become a lot cheaper than the iPhone4 – even free! – with pricing plans)
Fancy Earphones (Shure)
Ok, so I wrote Shure Earphones, but I’ll be the first to admit that brand doesn’t mean a whole heckuva lot here; Once you dig into the $100+ territory, most earbuds are about the fanciest thing we can get our ears on. Most high-quality earbuds nowadays come with optional microphone add-ons, noise cancellation, and crisp sound, which makes them the perfect companion to an iPhone, iPod, or even your laptop if you just wnat to get away from your immediate audio environment.
FiiO Headphone Amplifier
Some people will call this unnecessary, I call it sweet. The FiiO is a tiny gadget that you plug your earbuds through (into your device) and it improves the sound quality, boosts bass, and all sorts of other audio mumbo jumbo that I don’t understand. Bottom line, they can make low end headphones sounds great, and high end headphones even better.
iPod/iPhone Speaker Dock
With so much of our music, podcasts, audio books, and audio apps on our phones, it just makes sense to get a set of speakers that make the iDevices audible from anywhere in the house/office. The model here is a Sony RDP X50, but there are a number of great competitors on the market.
Herman Miller SAYL Chair
If you’ve been following my line-of-gift-thought so far, you’ll realize that most of these gift ideas are things that make a web designer’s working life a little more comfortable. Well, as a candidate for the “most bang for your buck” improvement to a web designer’s overall comfort level, try out this sweet new chair from Herman Miller. This is one product where the brand definitely matters, and Herman Miller has an established history of incredibly well designed products. Who says comfy chairs can’t be sexy too?
Hario Buono Drip Kettle
Here’s where things get a little personal for me… some of you might know that I’m a coffee fanatic as much as I’m a web design fanatic. I’ve tried no less than 20 different coffee makers, from cheap $20 drip makers to $400 beastly counter-top monstrosities. What I’ve learned is this: Coffee-brewing is a science where control, timing, and quality make all the difference (not price or size!). This little handheld ceramic funnel may be the greatest innovation to coffee in centuries. Just boil water in this kettle, pour it over some coffee grinds inside a paper filter in the ceramic dripper (below), and enjoy. While a $50 kettle may seem crazy, let me tell you that it is revolutionary! It just works better… nuff said.
Hario v60 Coffee Dripper
The heart of the Hario coffee system (you’ll want both the kettle [above] and the v60), this humble little ceramic funnel (coupled with a paper filter) will change your mind about coffee. Easy to use, clean, and reload… you’ll be drinking 8 cups a day in no time. ;)
Ok, my last nod at coffee-related gifts; Buy a web designer some good coffee… I mean really good coffee. The kind that makes Starbucks look like a 10 year old can of Foldgers. I’m drinking the FTO Ethiopian Gedeo Worka right now (as I type this), but you really can’t go wrong with any of the coffees at Klatch.
Web Designer Magazine (or any web design based mag)
Web designer magazine is one of my favorite magazines at the moment. They feature great content, inspiring projects, hands on tutorials, and thought provoking interviews… sound familiar? Hehe. Seriously though, just like there’s no match to seeing comprehensive video tutorials, there’s also nothing quite like a printed glossy magazine showing up on your doorstep, just begging you to learn something new and fun.
The Web Designer’s Idea Book Vol. 1
I was once told by a designer I looked up to what his advice to me would be… he responded, “Read. Read a LOT!”. Well, in the spirit of that advice, now I’d like to present just a couple great books on web design. This first one (and the book below) are simple in concept: dish out inspiring websites in a cover to cover visual feast….
The Web Designer’s Idea Book Vol. 2
Over 700 sites are included in each volume, organized by color, layout, style, elements, and more. This is a great reference book if you’re hunting for quick inspiration and it makes you look super official if you set it up just right on your bookshelf ;)
The Principles of Beautiful Web Design
I’ve read a lot of books on web design, but this is one of my favorite. SitePoint has a rich history of publishing great educational content, so it makes sense that their flagship web design book reads in a way that’s easy, understandable, and fun. Will it make you an instant pro? Maybe not, but if you’re new or intermediate to the field, it’s a great resource to help put the entire process into context.
The Type Directors Club Annual Book (30 volumes available)
The Type Directors Club releases a book, every year, of their favorite typographic entries. While this isn’t a volume of books about web design (although more recent years do include it), it features some of the best collections of typography on the planet. What’s better is that you can get used copies of older year’s editions on Amazon for as little as $5 (if you know how to shop). Pick up a used copy, thank me later ;)
Tuts+ Premium Membership
I’ve saved this one for last… but as I’ve been a member for a year before I ever worked with Envato, I can honestly say that this is a ridiculous deal. Countless source files, hands on tutorials, members-only downloads and much much more, all for $19 a month. $19 a month! Webdesigntuts+ isn’t part of the group yet, but you’ll benefit from all of the outstanding articles, tuts, and files from Nettuts, PSDTuts, VectorTuts, PhotoTuts, and the rest of the family.
There are a ton of other web designer products that probably could have made the list, but let us know if we missed any particularly exemplary items in the comments section. Cheers!
Obviously, the holidays is about a bit more than cool gifts… so from the crew here at Webdesigntuts+, we want to wish you all a very happy holidays!