Tag Archives: Christmas

Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers (that they might actually use!)

Most “gift ideas for graphic designers” articles are full of lame gifts. They are either totally kitschy (a CMYK mug! a Pantone brand stapler!) or stereotypical (it’s contemporary! something written in Helvetica!). From one graphic designer for another, here’s a round-up of gifts I would actually use/want.


Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers:

1. Pantone Swatches

I don’t need a Pantone ornament/mug/mousepad/thermos/paintcan. What I do need are Pantone Swatchbooks. Most graphic designers probably don’t have their own set at home. The basic coated and uncoated sets should cover most needs.

2. Tea for One

This idea is kind of a gimme – but still a good one. Designers are at their desk. A lot. It’s always nice to have a fun mug on hand (I personally love this Harry Potter mug from Etsy seller 312INK). Most workplaces supply coffee (hoorah!) but many don’t have a large tea assortment. Along with mug, wrap up a few kind of herbal teas and a nice jar of honey for an afternoon sweet.

3. Tech-y Gift Card

Graphic designers are usually linked to some sort of technology a good deal of the time. An Apple App Store gift card will only feed their tech-frenzy. Plus, there are a lot of great photo-editing and typography apps out there that I would probably never justify buying on my own!

4. A Massage

There are some days that I am working that I literally could sit down at my desk and not get up for 12 hours if it weren’t for basic human needs. Most people in the work force these days are doing a lot of hunched-over-sitting, but designers especially so! Help us regain our posture and relieve muscle tension with a massage.

5. Modern Art History Book

Graphic designers should know and understand the progression of art history and theory. Even after a year of taking art history, I felt like my classes only scraped the surface of art history in the last 200 years. The book What are you looking at? by WIll Gompertz is both entertaining and informative.

6. X-Acto Tool Set and Self-Healing Cutting Mat

Any designer who is creating their own invitations/posters/namecards/print media will need an X-acto Knife set and this Alvin Reversible Self-Healing Cutting Mat Kit to make sure all their edges and corners are straight as an arrow. (You may want to include a metal straight edge too!)

7. Prismacolor Marker Set

You know that feeling when you are a kid and you have a brand-new box of crayons that are perfectly sharpened and untouched. That’s how I feel about markers as an adult. Perfect for sketching or doodling, the Prismacolor marker set is as good as it gets. Prismacolor marker sets can be purchased individually by color or in an assortment of sets. If you go to Michael’s don’t forget your 20% off coupon!

8. Letterpress Class

Where the fundamentals of graphic design really began – on the letterpress. Research local classes and look for a one-day letterpress or printmaking workshop.

9. Membership to an Art Museum

Oftentimes purchasing a membership to an art museum will more than pay off if you go several times through the year – and there are other perks as well! With 2014 coming quickly, consider buying a year-long membership at their favorite museum so they can stop by whenever they want. (A bonus of membership? You don’t feel guilty for only stopping by for an hour or two!)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my fellow designers.

Any other graphic designers out there? What would you add to this list?

Christmas Cards on Parade

DIY Christmas Card Wreath - DesignLively

Who doesn’t love getting mail?

As soon as Thanksgiving passes, I look forward to checking the mail every day. It’s practically the only time of year we get snail-mail these days.

This year, I decided to create a clothes-pin wreath – after being inspired by this tutorial on GwennyPenny. (This tutorial uses wire and has cute bead beads too!)

DIY Christmas Card Wreath - DesignLively

Project Steps:

1. I used an embroidery hoop (the interior one without the buckle.) Mine is about 12″ in diameter.

2. I attached clothes pins (about 40) with hot glue all around – leaving a 2″ space for the ribbon.

3. Then I painted them all holly-green! (I only painted the top flat surface).

4. I tied on a plaid ribbon and hung it in our hallway. Then I clipped on our cards as they came in!

It makes me happy to see it every day and I walk down the stairs!

This project cost me $0.00. I had the clothes pins (leftover from a Baby Shower game) and had the paint and hoop on hand. But you could probably make this with new materials for under $5!

DIY Christmas Card Wreath - DesignLively

I love to save our Christmas cards and look at them year-to-year. It’s fun to see how people change over time. I keep them all in this box.

It was a cigar box (that conveniently says “forget-me-nots” on it!) that I glued a ribbon and bow on.

I can’t believe Christmas is already here! Merry Christmas!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Merry jingles are blasting from the iPod.

Pumpkins were swiftly swept away and Santa and Mrs. Clause now grace our dining room sideboard.

The stockings have been hung by the chimney with care.

I’m finally allowing myself to look at Christmas crafts (not one ounce before Thanksgiving is over, it’s my rule).

But before I get all caught up in the season (considering I have already DVRed all the Christmas movies for the next 2 weeks, I think I’m already there), take a look at my holiday tutorials from last year.

How to Make $0.24 Christmas Cards


Free Holiday Gift Tag Printables!

free gift tag printables

Making my Favorite Christmas Candies!

Coffee Can Centerpiece

Easy Holiday Brunch Tablescape


Looking for a quick and easy placesetting for brunch?

This was the placesetting we (me and my Mom) set up for our Christmas morning pancake brunch.

I made these placecards out of red construction paper and cut out tiny snowflakes from regular white printer paper. Then I just taped them up with plain old scotch tape. Fancy, I know.

Then my Mom added these fun individual pure maple syrup bottles! They were actually originally wedding favors from the wedding of a family friend – too cute!

Add some fun, graphic napkins, bright red plates and an evergreen centerpiece and you are all set!

(I know this is a little late being Christmas-themed and all… but really the general principles are the same.)