Design Week’s 2021 Christmas gift guide

From formative new experiences, to pairs of socks people actually want to receive, here’s our guide for what to gift the designer in your life this Christmas.

Secret Santa – under £10

David Sock-Knee socks from ChattyFeet

ChattyFeet socks – from £8.50

For the designer who likes to have fun with their sartorial choices, ChattyFeet socks are a good bet. A whole range of artists have been reimagined as socks – and the puns are everywhere, from David Sock-Knee, to Georgia O’Keefeet and Frida Callus. Check out the whole range via the ChattyFeet website.

Monthly planner, by Present & Correct – from £6.00

A gift for the chaotic designer in your life, these planners come in three sizes and have enough space for 18 months’ worth of plans. Each page has the same simple, bold layout to ensure its easy to read and come in two colours. Buy via the Present & Correct website.

Zines, by LogoArchive – from £6.00

Over the last year, LogoArchive has published several zines targeted at the designers that love details. From the Federal Design Improvement Program, to Renaissance European printers’ marks, the content of each is delightfully in depth with text, analysis and images. Additionally, most feature collaborations with other well-known designers like Standards Manual and Jim Sutherland. Head to the LogoArchive website to have a browse.

Courses and experiences

Chapbooks made by Merlin Evans

Pottery starter kit, by Noah – £35.00

With these hands-on kits for two, Noah aims to gift “messy hobbies” this year. Each kit contains tools, paints and varnishes, and comes in either terracotta or white. A beginners guide is on hand to guide you through an afternoon of crafting. The Noah website has more details on this.

Making Notebooks & Sketchbooks, by House of Illustration – from £65.00

The designers in your life no doubt have whole collections of notebooks and sketchbooks laying around their homes and studios. But how good is their knowledge when it comes to actually making those books? This course from House of Illustration sees illustrator Merlin Evans teach the principles of bookbinding, including how to make a 3-hole pamphlet chapbook, mixed paper notebooks and a professional hardback accordion sketchbook. No prior experience is needed, and the session will include complete walk-throughs. The House of Illustration website has more information.

Beginners screen printing workshop, by Print Club London – £80.00

A good way to get messy and creative, this day-long workshop is designed for the complete beginner. The day will include a lesson of hands-on practice, as well as contextual information about the history of screen printing and the various techniques employed today. Students will also go home with their very own screen print. Head to the Print Club London website to find out more on dates and times.

Gadgets and stationery

bFRIENDS collection from Bene

bFRIENDS desk accessories, by Bene, Pearson Lloyd and Batch.Works – from £19.90

Furniture brand Bene has spent much of 2021 interrogating how we might “close the loop” in a commercially viable way when it comes to product design. One of its experiments in this field has been the highly covetable bFRIENDS desk accessory series, which has been designed by studio Pearson Lloyd and 3D printed by Batch.Works. Made from discarded food packaging, the collection features enticing wavy lines and block colours, topped off with a matte finish. Check out the Bene website to browse the collection.

Curated Tube, by Powell Allen Brands – from £100.00

Instead of giving a box, Powell Allen Brands is encouraging you to give a tube – a Curated Tube to be exact. The brainchild of studio partner Kerrie Allen, the premise for Curated Tube is to create gift sets that combine “quality with desirability”. The different tubes cater to a wide variety of hobbies and lifestyles, from ones designed for children, to those aimed at gardeners, coffee-lovers and aspiring chefs. Head to the Curated Tube website to find out more.

Portable speaker, by Gomi – £169.00

The ultimate is sustainable product design, the Gomi portable speaker is made from waste plastic bags and repurposed Lime e-bike batteries. Design Week spoke to the Brighton-based electronics studio earlier this year to find out more about their sustainable mission. As well as being materially sustainable, Gomi also offers repairs-for-life on the Bluetooth device. It is available in four colours. To learn more, head to the Gomi website.

Homeware and lifestyle

She Found Peace puzzle from Prints in Pieces

Puzzles, by Prints in Pieces – from £25.00

If the designer you are buying for is one of the thousands of people to have taken up puzzles as a hobby in 2021, this jigsaw by Prints in Pieces could be a good shout. Design Week spoke to Prints in Pieces founder Sandra last month, exploring how companies like hers were helping to boost the profile of emerging illustrators through puzzles. Check out the website to find your favourite.

Stamp Books: Modern Classics, by Dorothy – £35.00

A new instalment in Dorothy’s well-loved Stamp Book poster series, the Modern Classics print reimagines 42 books that are considered “essential” reading for the modern reader. From James Joyce’s Ulysses through to Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, the poster charts whole movements and trends that have occurred in literature over the last hundred years. And if modern classics aren’t your thing, the studio has also just released a Stamp Book: Classic poster too, featuring the likes of Don Quixote and and Little Women. Head to the Dorothy website to see more.

Water bottle, by Chilly’s x Liberty – from £36.00

Sustainable and stylish, these floral bottles are a perfect gift for the designer in your life looking to make small changes to save the planet. The wintry patterns which adorn these Chilly’s Series 2 bottles are all courtesy of the Liberty archive. Each design comes in two cup sizes. Head to the Chilly’s website for more information.

Wooden home accessories, by Room Copenhagen and LEGO – from £79.99

For the grown up kid in your life, Danish design brand Room Copenhagen and LEGO have collaborated to create the toy brand’s first ever wooden homeware collection. Manufactured from FSC-certified Red Oak wood, the collection of small pieces is designed to “elevate the home interior space” while also still being interesting. Each item is assembled by hand, and has been designed to scale according to the original LEGO brick dimensions, meaning that certain items in the collection can be stacked. The products are being stocked at John Lewis, so head to their website for more information.

Accessories and clothes

Hang in there Cat Necklace from Tatty Devine x Gemma Correll

T-shirts, by Everpress – from £19.00

With hundreds of designers and artists producing t-shirts for Everpress, there is undoubtedly something for everyone to be found on the site. From pared back graphic tees, to whacky animal prints and moody band tops, the variety is huge. Additionally, many of the lines come with instant shipping, meaning they can be ordered and delivered in time for the big day. Head to the Everpress website to browse.

Jewellery, by Tatty Devine x Gemma Correll – from £27.00

Back with another illustrator collaboration, bold jewellery company Tatty Devine’s has teamed up with Gemma Correll for one of its latest collections. Each of the pieces features one of Correll’s cult-famous drawings, from despondent pugs to possessive cats. Go to the Tatty Devine website for more information.

Socks, by Yinka Ilori – £48.00

Known for his brightly colourful graphic work, Yinka Ilori has been the designer to watch in 2021 with high-profile projects with LEGO, the Mayor of London and the Brits – to name a just a few. Now, fans can get their own piece of his work, with a set of three pairs of socks, sporting his well-known style. Head to Semaine, where these are currently in stock, to buy.


The Cookbook by Cooking With Scorsese

Taking Joy Seriously, by Camille Walala – £35.00

Published by Counter-Print, the arts imprint known for its monographs, Camille Walala’s Taking Joy Seriously is a colourful exploration of the artist and illustrator’s life and work. The book includes an interview with Camille, as well as images of her large-scale projects and a mini-booklet containing her sketchbook work. The design of the book has been developed by Counter-Print founders Jon Dowling & Céline Leterme. To buy, go to the Counter-Print website.

The Cookbook by Cooking with Scorsese, by HATO design studio – £45.00

We’ve all seen a meal in a film that looked deliciously unobtainable. This new cookbook from Cooking with Scorsese features some 46 chefs from top restaurants around the world who have been asked to develop recipes from the world of cinema. Look out for a sunken honey cake inspired by Winnie the Pooh and a lamb dish inspired by Withnail & I. Head to HATO’s website to buy the book.

Dig it!, by Bjarne Mastenbroek – £100.00

Promising to “dig deep” into the origins of building, Dig it! by Bjarne Mastenbroek urges readers to rethink how they view the ground. Far from being a passive foundation, the ground is “rife with possibilities”, Mastenbroek says. Through photography and more than 500 analytical drawings, the book explores past and present examples of how humans have interacted with and lived on the ground. The Taschen website has more details.


What to Look For, from Ladybird

What to Look For… book collection – from £5.99

Over the course of 2021, Penguin’s Ladybird imprint has been rereleasing its long-time children’s favourite A Ladybird Book series. This has included the pocket-sized illustrated non-fiction series What to Look For… Originally published in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the 2021 reissue features illustrations from Natasha Durley. There are four in total to collect, with each focused on a different season. Find where to buy them via the Ladybird website.

Happy Bundles, by Anorak – from £7.50

Anorak is always a good bet when it comes to kids, and this year the company has bundled together selections of its magazines to provide little ones (and their parents) with “hours of creativity and quiet time”. For very young children the Dot bundle features games and activities to encourage counting, drawing and imagination. For slightly older kids, go for the Anorak bundle which has more challenging (but still fun) content. Browse all of the bundles via the Anorak website.

Build Your Own Wind Turbine kit – £25.00

A good way to introduce a conversation on climate change and what can be done with renewable energy, this kit from the Science Museum offers hands-on fun too. By following the instructions, kids can build a renewable source of power which can be used to light an LED bulb. Head over to the Science Museum shop to learn more.

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