Let’s be real: It’s tough to buy gifts for creative people.
A gift card is too boring. Cash, too transactional. Something last-minute off an endcap at Target, too thoughtless. A Red Ryder BB gun, too dangerous.
So, what do you get for that creative director in your office gift swap, the creative at large in your life?
It’s a vexing design problem. So, we went on the hunt for a few solutions. And in the process, we found a little something for everyone who falls outside the box on your gift list.
Welcome to the 2023 HOW Gift Guide!
What’s a “tumbling tower”? Well, MoMA isn’t allowed to say so for obvious trademark reasons, but we can: It’s essentially a Jenga tower for design nerds—and we’re obsessed with it. Designer Monica Albornoz took the vibrant hues and geometry of De Stijl and created what MoMA dubs “an interactive Mondrian painting.” Pull a sustainably harvested rubberwood brick, stack it atop the foot-tall tower, and play on until someone puts the “tumble” in that tower.
The Bauhaus genius of color would become the first living artist to have a MoMA show—which no doubt featured his famous “Homage to the Square” paintings. Project Watches paired up with the Albers Foundation on a trio of watches, two of which bring his brilliant square color studies to life right on your wrist. (And, at an affordable price—so that even if you’re giving one as a gift, you just might pick one up for yourself … like we did.)
Jessica Hische & Friends Wares
What would it look like if a lettering artist and designer as talented as Jessica Hische designed a line of clothes? Well, now we know! And it’s just as great as you might expect. This year Hische opened her own physical store in Oakland and released a fantastic line of threads—and thanks to her online shop, you can get your hands on them no matter where you live.
Posterzine is one of the coolest and most consistently surprising things we’ve ever subscribed to. It arrives in your mailbox every month looking a bit like an A4-sized magazine … and then it folds out into a gorgeous A1 poster print that usually features an interview with its creator. Published by People of Print, past issues have featured Stefan Sagmeister, Shantell Martin, Zipeng Zhu, and nearly 100 others.
Pantone chips are everywhere in our creative lives—so heck, they may as well be in our kitchens, too. Delight any designer with this charming six-bowl set. (Color matching to your soups or cereal is optional, but highly encouraged and ultimately Instagrammable.)
Just because they’re young doesn’t mean you should talk down to them—and this stunning publication doesn’t. Kids love this proudly print-only pub for its tactility and its entertaining and whip-smart content, including fantastic art by some of the best creatives working today. Which is also why we “borrow” it from them before they even get a chance to read it.
Crispin Finn makes some of the most handsome, handiest planners out there. A beautiful blend of form and function, these products emerged as all the best do: “from the need to create a year planner that was practical for our own use.” There are a lot of options to choose from on the site, but our favorite is the giant 2024 Year Planner – Portrait View, which allows you to take a macro look at 2024. And hey, it looks to the future too, as it’s printed on 100% recycled paper.
Need a planner that’s a little more robust? We’ve got you. Or rather, the incredible Present & Correct shop does. This colorful 128-page lay-flat book is immaculately produced and allows you to dive into your day in all its intensely detailed glory. (Designed by Marjolein Delhaas in Rotterdam.)
If you’ve ever had to create a set of brand standards for your organization, you know the endless monotony associated with the task. Heck, you might have even daydreamed of setting a few parameters and pushing a magic button to magically generate the final product. … Well, daydream no more: The folks behind Standards Manual—which you probably know for their reissue of the NASA Standards Manual—decided to create a gift for the design world. With the Standards site, you can create clean, smart brand guidelines in just a few simple clicks. Sign us up! (And sign up a designer you love in the process.)
It’s one thing to simply read a book about the Mariel Boatlift and Cuban history. It’s another entirely to see it, especially through the eyes of someone as brilliant as artist and past HOW Design Live keynoter Edel Rodriguez. In this incredible graphic memoir, Rodriguez brilliantly ties his past to our present moment—and in the process, reveals the true potential of art and design to tell a poignant and powerful story.
A Ticket to HOW Design Live 2024 (you know we had to!)
Multiple days of design brilliance. Next-level networking. Opportunities to not just learn from your creative heroes but meet them IRL. And with learning opportunities throughout the year, it’s quite literally the gift that will keep on giving!