Mood Masks, by JKR Global – from £4.95 (pictured)
In 2020, facemasks became normal for adults after a brief period of uncertainty. But for kids, it’s taken a little longer to understand the what and why behind the pandemic’s must-have accessory. To make the experience more fun and less intimidating, Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) teamed up with children’s illustrators Chris Haughton and Eamonn O’Boyle to create Mood Masks, face coverings designed for little faces, that allow kids to show their emotions while staying safe. Buy them here.
Happy Advent Calendar, by Anorak – £6.00
The designers at Anorak say the countdown to Christmas doesn’t have to be filled with chocolates and sweets if you don’t want it to be. For those looking for a more creative advent calander, the studio has teamed up with illustrator Ben Javens to create a colouring countdown to the Big Day – just colour one doodle a day. Buy it here.
Festive book bundle, by How Brave is the Wren – from £35.00
For the avid little reader in your life, travelling book shop How Brave is the Wren is compiling book bundles to celebrate the holidays. Each bundle contains at least three books, a Christmas themed magazine or activity book and a snow globe Christmas card. The shop focuses on illustrated and design-led books, and offers buyers the ability to tailor the bundle selection to its recipient. Buy the bundles here.
Design Museum gift membership – from £45.00
It’s been a turbulent year for museums and their patrons – a gift membership to the Design Museum might help improve their 2021 prospects. Available for student concessions too, the membership offers its holder unlimited free entry to exhibitions, 25% off talks and courses, 20% off in the Design Museum shop and access to an exclusive library of content. Buy a membership here.
Make Your Own: Coil Pottery Kit, by NKDWare – £25.00 (pictured)
For the amateur ceramicist in your life, this simple step-by-step guide and kit from NKDWare is designed to get you experimenting with coiling techniques. Each kit comes with a template designed by NKDWare founder Kirsi Enkovaara, 2kg of air-drying clay, a sponge, drawstring bag and instructions. A good gift for those looking to pick up another skill in the event of a Lockdown 3.0. Buy the kit here.
Vinyl Moon gift membership, by Vinyl Moon – from £33.00
With a focus on experiences and tactility, Design Week covered the innovative offering from Vinyl Moon earlier this year. Co-founder Brandon Bogajewicz has made it his mission to share his high school love of mixtapes with the world in a well-designed, stylish package. Each month, expect a carefully curated selection of singles, lyric booklets, exclusive artwork and member perks and discounts coming to you in an over-the-top record sleeve. Subscribe here.
Stationery and design tools
Magcon, by Ddiin – from £52.00
The design lover in your life might have all the traditional tools, but rest assured there are plenty of new gadgets to adopt this year. The Magcon is one such example. An innovative mini compass designed by designers, for designers, it features a series of “wings” which can be fixed to the bases included in the kit, providing perfect circles and curves every time. Buy it here.
G.Flow Stone laptop stand, by Grape Lab – from £20.00 (pictured)
Sustainable design studio Grape Lab claims to have designed the world’s lightest, most portable and environmentally friendly laptop stand. How have they done it? By using a single sheet of stone paper. Each G.Flow Stone laptop stand weighs just 90g, and is created using a complex folding technique to ensure strength. The natural gaps in the concertina pattern allow for venting, while also providing the strength to hold up to 22lbs in weight. Buy it here.
Swatchos, by Andy Brown – from £28.00
Andy Brown started thinking about Swatchos because he couldn’t find a colour tool he got on with – choosing colours in a software was fine, if a bit slow, but he wanted to be able to play with colours and matches with his hands. That’s how Swatchos became a thing, he says. Each box comes with 129 colour cards designed to help designers choose and work with colours, perfect for finding that illusive palette. Buy here.
Clothes and accessories
RIKR backpack, by Groundtruth – £283.00
Groundtruth’s offering of bags and travel accessories are made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. It’s an award-winning, bespoke fabric that has been tested in the Antarctic, no less, by British explorer Robert Swan OBE. This backpack is designed for “contemporary travel”, aiming to fit seamlessly between cities and mountains. It features modular compartments, multiple pockets and a clamshell opening and trolley sleeve. Buy it here.
FUNdamental Rights tote bag, by Here Design and the British Library – £12.50
As part of the British Library’s exhibition on the fight for women’s rights through the centuries, design studio Here Design was brought on board to design merch. Echoing the feminist thoughts of the showcase and taking inspiration from the protest banners of the past, the studio has created a series of totes, patches and books for fans. This double-sided, screen printed tote bag is a Design Week favourite. Buy it here.
Ocean plastic watch, by Triwa – from £83.30 (pictured)
Made completely from recycled ocean plastic, Triwa says this watch is made for water lovers. From the ocean, for the ocean, it is water resistant and filled with marine details like three-dimensional waves and domed mineral glass. The ocean plastic collection is available in several colours, including beige, black and green. Browse the collection here.
Citizen First, Designer Second, by Rejane Dal Bello – £20.00
Rejane Dal Bello believes that she either chose design, or design chose her. Whichever way round it was, it has led to a 20 year career spanning four countries. In this monograph, Dal Bello explores how design can play as significant a role in others’ lives as it did her own, whether they’re actively seeking a creative path, or are simply curious. Buy the book here from Counter-Print.
I am a Book, by Stefanie Posavec and Miriam Quick – £14.99
Bookworms will argue that any and all books offer readers gateways to new worlds – but Stefanie Posavec and Miriam Quick say their latest book is a portal to our universe. Why? Because each of its measurements, from the thickness of its pages, to the weight of it, make for an interesting data point. Using these data points, the authors ask readers to engage with the world – in the time it took to turn a page, how many babies were born, for example? An all-ages introduction to data and data design. Buy it here.
V&A Book of Colour in Design, edited by Tim Travis – £30.00 (pictured)
Each chapter of the V&A Book of Colour in Design is focused on a different colour, and opens with an introduction that considers the history and symbolism of said colour. What follows is a selection of objects from the V&A collection which showcase each colour in its glory. The collection for each colour is appropriately disparate, featuring sometimes jewellery and furniture, or textiles and ceramics. The museum says the colour-led survey of design, which itself has been designed by Here Design, is appealing for anyone with an interest in visual culture. Buy it here.
Margaret Calvert prints, by British Road Sign Project and Margaret Calvert – £850.00 (pictured)
Earlier this year, Design Week covered the Design Museum retrospective on Margaret Calvert, the designer behind the pioneering road sign system in the UK. Launched in 1965, the system used a series of pictograms and a new typeface – despite minor modifications, its rules remain in place today. To celebrate the long-lasting effect of Calvert’s design, Patrick Murphy worked with the designer to develop a series of prints. Each one is signed and numbered by Calvert, and features one of five of her favourite signs from the collection, from children crossing to wild horses or ponies. Buy here.
Acorn vase, by Ilex Studio – £25.00
A Chinese proverb says “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now”. This is the kind of thinking the founders of Ilex are looking to encourage – after a year largely spent inside, the studio wants to bring the magic of the outside in with vases that showcase that which we wouldn’t usually see. The Acorn Vase is designed to nurture and cradle an avocado stone, keeping it dry and encouraging its roots to grow freely into a glass chamber which offers magnified views as they grow from tiny acorn into mighty oak. Buy here.
Christmas Jelly Box, by Benham & Froud – £25.00
Benham & Froud is the long-awaited jelly brand from the team at Bompas & Parr. It’s the product of years of trials and tests, so it’s likely to be a step above your average jellies. This festive jelly box comes with everything you need to replicate high-end jelly creations in your own kitchen, including jelly moulds, recipe booklet and different flavoured jelly cubes. Additionally, the package also offers you an invitational jelly masterclass. Buy it here.
Posters, by Nataal x Galerie Number 8 – from £45.00
Nataal, the London-based multimedia brand dedicated to celebrating the creativity of the African diaspora, has teamed up with Brussels-based Galerie Number 8 for an advent calendar-style sale of wares in the run up to the big day. Under the label Joyeux Store, the partnership will be selling posters, as well as t-shirts, hoodies and tote bags – all of which are limited edition and made and designed in collaboration with artists. Only 100 of each poster print will be made. Buy them here.
Secret Santa – around £15.00
Creative [Un]blocks, by the students of Twynham School – £5.95
The idea for this game comes from the winners of this year’s Design Ventura schools challenge and is a solution to the age-old problem of creative block. The game is made up of three dice, hich each represent different categories, including audience (kids, teens or pets, for example), industry (like fashion, travel or health), and sense (such as touch, smell or taste). When rolled, the resulting combination creates a brief that players have 60 seconds to answer. Buy it here.
Cooking with Mealworms, by BeoBia – £8.99 (pictured)
Earlier this year, we covered the work of BeoBia, a product designed to facilitate the growing and harvesting of mealworms in domestic kitchens. It’s a bold premise, but one that brings with it huge sustainability benefits. Because feasting on mealworms on their own might seem unachievable and, well, boring, the minds behind the mealworm farm have devised a mealworm cookbook. Mains, desserts and snacks are covered, from bug burgers, to sticky toffee pudding and pancakes. Buy it here.
Fingers crossed 2021 calendar, by Marcie Bower and Oli Hudson – £16.00
After the year we’ve had, everyone will be wishing for a better 2021. Designers Marcie Bower and Oli Hudson aren’t leaving it up to chance though – the pair have devised a calendar showcasing ways to make your year a lucky one. From old wives’ tales to cultural traditions, the designers have cherry picked 12 ways to get you feeling lucky and then used lino cut illustration and letterpress printing to form the calendar. Back it here.