25 Awesome Gift Ideas for Designers & Developers

The holiday season of 2009 is upon us and if you’re not sure what to get your designer or developer friend, family member, and/or significant other, we’re here to help.

Be sure to add your own wish list for this holiday in the comments if they’re not on here!

25 Awesome Gift Ideas for Designers & Developers

Gear and Gadgets

1. iPhone ($99 – $299)


The iPhone will probably be the most requested gift of the season, but there’s a chance your designer or developer already has one because of its popularity in the industry, so make sure to check before you get one.

2. The Smashing Book (~$30)

The Smashing Book

The Smashing Book will be one of the most influential web design and development books to hit the market and will be a wonderful book to add to any designer or developer’s book collection.

3. Macbook Pro (starts at $1,199)

Macbook Pro

Apple’s new Macbook Pro is leaps and bounds above any other laptop in the market and is a favorite amongst the web professional crowd. It comes in three sizes: 13inch, 15inch, and 17inch.

4. Kindle 2 ($259)

Kindle 2

The Kindle 2 lets you read e-books on its digital screen. It conveniently carries around your favorite books so that you can access them anytime and anywhere.

5. Notebooks: Moleskine (~$12) or Field Notes (~$10)

Moleskine Field Notes

These fanatically followed high-quality notebooks are popular gifts for creatives and can be used for numerous purposes such as sketches, idea gathering, and task management. They come in a variety of formats: lined, grid/graph paper, and lined.

6. A Wacom Tablet (starts at ~$200)

Wacom Tablet

The Wacom tablet, a computer input device that features a pen and a drawing surface for digital illustration, is far superior to the traditional mouse when it comes to complex designs.

7. Magic Mouse ($69)

Magic Mouse

Apple’s revolutionary new multi-touch mouse is a great present for Mac users that will satisfy their functional and aesthetical demands.

8. USB coffee heater (~$9)

USB coffee heater

Designers and developers often love caffeinated hot drinks such as coffee and tea, and what better way to keep their drink warm than a portable USB-powered liquid warmer that plugs into their computer.

9. Paper Email (~$4)

Paper Email

Geeks who love writing on paper can find appreciation in this "old school" notebook that’s creatively designed as an email message.

10. App Pillows ($15)

App Pillows

These unique pillows are modeled after the icons of popular designer/developer desktop applications such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Illustrator.

11. G-drive (starts at $179)


G-technology makes outstanding external hard drives that are good-looking to boot, designers and developers can always use the extra hard drive space.

12. Typophile T-shirts (starts at $15)

Typophile T-shirts

Let your designers express their love for fonts and typography by giving them these trendy t-shirts.

13. IronKey (starts at $79)


IronKeys are secure portable USB drives that have a metallic-like, slick surface. They’re great for people who work intimately with computers.

14. Staple Free Stapler (~$10)

Staple Free Stapler

These staplers require no staples, and can be cool and environmentally friendly way of attaching paper together (such as invoices, sketches, wireframes, etc.).

15. Bose QuietComfort (~$300)

Bose QuietComfort

These headphones are truly high-end; they’re great for tuning out background noise when working in a noisy environment, and amazing for listening to music.


16. subscription ($375 a year) is one of the best online resources available, with video lessons and how-to’s for popular web technologies and desktop applications.

17. .NET Magazine (~$113 for 13 issues)

.NET Magazine

.NET Magazine is the premier top-selling magazine for web designers and developers. Each issue comes with a CD that contains useful resources to supplement the issue’s topics.

18. Layers (~$50 for two years)


Layers is a magazine that focuses on how-to’s for the popular Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc.).

19. Digital Arts (~$195 a year)

Digital Arts

Digital Arts is another top-notch magazine for digital creatives, featuring tips, inspiration, and relevant reviews. Each issue comes with a CD containing demos and freebies (stock photos, vectors, fonts, etc.) to keep your designer fully stocked with digital art resources.

20. Threadless monthly t-shirt ($200)

Threadless monthly t-shirt

Threadless is a popular online retailer that sells creative and trendy t-shirts such gaming tees, which is a pastime common among designers and developers. The subscription will send your designer or developer a shirt every month for a year.

21. subscription (starts at ~$970) is a place to get stock photos, something designers can’t get enough of. This gift is on the higher end, but will be very useful for work-related purposes.


22. CSSEdit 2 (~$45)

CSSEdit 2

By far one of the favorite CSS editors among designers and developers who use Apple computers, this application will give them great control over how their websites look.

23. Textmate (~$59)


Textmate is a simple clean text editor that is supported by multiple languages for Mac users. It’s handy and amazing as a source code editor, supporting languages such as HTML, CSS, and PHP.

24. Coda ($99)


Coda is a great integrated development environment for Mac users that’s intuitive to use for developing/designing websites; if your designer/developer doesn’t have it yet, this would be a wonderful present to give.

25. Things ($~50)


This Mac app will keep your designer/developer organized so they can be at the family reunion on time. It also has a gorgeously simplistic user interface.

Got more gift ideas for designers and developers? Share them in the comments!

Related Content

About the Author

Shane Jeffers is a Web Developer from Virginia Beach, VA. He has a unique passion for design trends and tutorials. He runs Three Styles, a blog that brings tutorials and information to web developers and designers. Connect with him via Twitter.

This was published on Dec 8, 2009


Ben Armstrong Dec 08 2009

Great list, Shane!

Montana Flynn Dec 08 2009

This is a great list, I want to send it to my family. Thanks for the post Shane.

Tyler Dec 08 2009

Some good items on here.

But I’m just wondering how many people would pay for a MacBook as a gift, unless they just happened to have quite a bit of money spare right now…

Ary Mega Dec 08 2009

F’CK YES. Shane, great list dude.

great list, but a very expensive list… I hope you really love these people you are buying these gifts for :)

Jennifer Navarrete Dec 08 2009

Love the list! Perfect for the geeks in the house. Will reference on our Geek Gifts show on Tech in Twenty SV.

Maïs Dec 08 2009

Thanks, sent this list to my girlfriend :-)

Kyle W Dec 08 2009

Those are great suggestions, I’m impartial to Espresso as a development IDE. It’s still a little premature, but offers great FTP workflow and just works for certain things better than TextMate and Coda.

Another must have would be Jeffrey Zeldman’s Designing with Web Standards. He just came out with a new edition and boy is it great.

Chris Dec 08 2009

26. A pro upgrade to so we (designers) can use that iSite camera to personally thank our client’s without having to get our butt’s up from the desk. Oh, and up-size that gift for me to a biggie combo and add a $99 downoad to ScreenCaster so I can record video tutorials next year to send to my clients who keep forgetting how to add an image to their WordPress posts everytime.

Eric MacLeod Dec 08 2009

Those aren’t typophile t-shirts, they’re typophile avatar badges.

Marcel Olszewski Dec 08 2009

Wonderful list, some of it is extremely pricey though.

$195 for Digital Arts for a year? seriously? Computer Arts is more expensive here in the UK and a year’s sub is around £50. I do enjoy Digital Arts too but I would expect the subscription to be much cheaper. Or am I missing something here? Good list though, I sure would like a MacBook Pro for Christmas!

Juan Carlos Dec 08 2009

I want it everything! xD

Robert Dec 08 2009

I think you should change the title to “25 Awesome Gift Ideas for web developer macaholics” :)

Julia Altermann Dec 08 2009

I am rewriting my wishlist. My family will go nuts ;) But great suggestions anyway.

DesignBeep Dec 08 2009

i like the paper mail:)

Thanks for the gift ideas Shane

h1brd Dec 08 2009

It’s a pretty cool compilation, already have some of the items displayed :) Didn’t know about the ‘threadless’ t-shirt every month for 1 year, sounds pretty cool!

Lissete B Dec 08 2009

Really great list and I see a lot of things on here I would love to have. I’m a bit disappointed to see that there is no way to share this article on Facebook or Twitter or am I missing something? I have a lot of friends that are web designers and developers so it would have been nice to link to it from Facebook.

Carson Dec 08 2009

I’ll be sending this link out to a few family members for ideas!

Xander Dec 08 2009

Awesome collection :) love the App Pillows

Geeee Dec 08 2009

Wow I want most of them :D lolllll u just made my eyes brighten :D thanks for the great list .. now I’ll search for someone to buy me one of those gifts :D Merry Xmas & Happy Holidays ;D

Eric B. Dec 08 2009

Cool list, but nobody’s going to give me a $1200 Macbook Pro as a gift :P

Great! I already sent the link to family and friends!

Kevin Lawver Dec 08 2009

I’d stick with the classics and get your favorite developer or designer a copy of The Cluetrain Manifesto or Getting Real (the the 37signals guys). A subscription to Dropbox or Evernote would be nice too…

Andreas Papula Dec 08 2009

I’m missing some stuff for those who are dependent on Win.

Jacob Gube Dec 08 2009

Thanks for the feedback everyone, I think Shane put together a nice little list here!

I’d like to ask you to add to this post here in the comments; if you have any good gift ideas for designers or developers that wasn’t on the list, please do share it with us here.

Three Styles - Shane Jeffers Dec 08 2009

Thanks for the comments everyone and like Jacob said keep the ideas coming!

Melody Dec 08 2009

I want a kindle so friggin bad!!! haha…I travel often and I’m tired of lugging around the huge books I read–guess I’ll have to add it to my wish list! :)

great list, .. now all I have to do is find a wealthy and caring relatives

Adam Newton Dec 09 2009

Photoshop and Illustrator Magnet Kits:

Becky Dec 09 2009

Great list! It will definitely help me buy some gifts for friends. Moleskine is a definite for me every year. Can’t live without it!

Bryan Moore Dec 09 2009

Awesome list. A few pricey gifts but great none the less. Some good software ideas would be any of the Adobe Applications, MacFreelance for freelance designers, MacFonts collection and the list could go on. Books make great gifts as well (like the Smashing Book) and there are many out there. Some ideas would be books about “The Art of Negotiation – How to Close Any Deal” or inspiration books.

Chuckles Dec 09 2009

How about any of the logo lounge hard cover books? they rock!!

Douglas Bonneville Dec 09 2009

Ah…you might check out the “There once was a graphic designer” limerick t-shirt…

Chenine Dec 09 2009

Nice list :) My friend is a designer so this blog caught my attention. Looking at some prices I guess Six Revisions is providing “blog-reader-discount”? Maybe there should be 2 lists: 1. “If u like him”-list, 2. “If u wish him the best and love him the most”-list.

Callum Chapman Dec 09 2009

Great list Shane! I’m getting a Wacom Bamboo tablet from my Fiancée for Christmas (I think!) and a subscription to Computer Arts magazine from my parents. The rest is a surprise :)

Alessandra Dec 09 2009

how about some suggestions for the non-mac users?

Digital Landscape / 2kS Dec 09 2009

Some great ideas here, but far too ‘Mac’ oriented. There are many of us in web / graphic design that use windows. Also the price range on some gifts is somewhat high.

Chotrul Web Design Dec 09 2009

It’s funny how much I’m looking forward to the Smashing book .. even though there’s so much content available for free on the website … there’s something about having a physical book to browse … sigh!

Last year I visited a list like this and I wished I get a Tablet.. Not as a Christmas Gift but I got a Tablet later this year..
After watching this list, as I already have Tablet now, and I have ordered the Smashing Book too.. I’ll rather wish for Magic Mouse this time ! :)

Hidayat Sagita Dec 09 2009

I choose coda :D

Ghayoor Dec 09 2009

these all are seemed dream but after reading your good research and fine presentation now i am strongly hold that everyone will own it ASAP:)

Nice job.
Keep it Up:)


Mariana Dec 09 2009

Love the USB tea/coffee warmer! Brilliant!
Just don’t bump it over like I usually do – can result in some serious curly hair…

Yurgen Dec 09 2009

If you use CSS Edit 2, you should use Espresso for html too.
Great combo!

Waheed Akhtar Dec 09 2009

Nice list of gifts Shane. Thanks for sharing them.

Andy Sowards Dec 09 2009

Great list!!! I really want those Adobe Pillows :)

Here are some more Geeky Gift Ideas

Keep up the great work guys!

Martin Pruvost Dec 09 2009

Beautiful list! I also recommend the book titled “Designing For The Web” by Mark Boulton. Clever and not very expensive.

Sorry but ONLY REAL designers uses a mac. None of that hackintosh, Linux or windows crap! ;-)

But seriously, Apple is known for having flaky mouses. Just a word of caution from a person that doesn’t buy into the “It’s from Apple and it’s shiny!” designer crowd. Also Istockphoto is way overpriced and doesn’t always have what you want. Dreamstime and stockexchange is a better alternative.

Muhammad Usman Arshad Dec 09 2009

Great List Shane, Thanks.

Roberto Dec 09 2009

I want the Iphone, the Wacom tablet and the pillows. Hope my girlfriend reads this :)

Jacob Gube Dec 09 2009

We accidentally turned off the commenting on this post, apologies for the inconvenience.

Jon Crim Dec 09 2009

Dreamweaver users should check out the WebAssist Extension Library membership program – a great gift for web developers and designers and 30% off the enrollment through 12/31/09!

Dóri Dec 09 2009

App Pillows are amazing, thanks for pointing them out!

Rochelle Dancel Dec 09 2009

Last year, a bunch of my friends clubbed together and bought me a ton of photostock credits – probably the most useful gift I got last year!

Two Socks Dec 10 2009

I personally wouldn’t mind a Deviantart subscription!

Jesse Dec 10 2009

A Spyder monitor calibrator would be nice!

Tomas Dec 10 2009

I would like to get an iPhone for Christmas. Who want to be my Santa Claus? ;)

RUGRLN Dec 10 2009

My bro has that stapleless stapler! It’s really cool, but not ideal for many papers…

Sandra Dec 11 2009

A few more ideas for team gifts on

web design wakefield Dec 11 2009

As a web designer i think the iPhone is the best choice by far!

Daniel Errante Dec 12 2009

I found out about the smashing magazine book that is coming out from this article. I ordered one without even blinking! What a great gift idea also, under $50, very useful and a gift that can be used every day!

Future Webs Dec 14 2009

Great set of gifts, i like the Wacom graphics tablet.

The Apple bias just bleeeeeds out of this post ;)

Fenson Dec 17 2009

Why is it that you recommend Kindle 2 to the more superior Nook?

David Dec 17 2009

Barnes & Noble Nook

Nexus One “Google Phone”

Chris Dec 18 2009

12 gifts for the web designer set to the tune of 12 days of Christmas:

Srish Agrawal Dec 18 2009

Great list. Now I know how I can make my team members more happy on their special day :)

Steve Martin Dec 21 2009

Awesome list!!! I really loved the Iphone and pillows a lot… Thanks for the great share and Merry Xmas…

Haha love the USB coffee heater thing. A very nice post I must say! Thank you

Taylor Smith Jun 28 2010

These are wonderful resources for improving your design skills. Even an advanced designer could benefit from reading these great resources.

Danman Jul 19 2010

Nice set of gifts.

This comment section is closed. Please contact us if you have important new information about this post.