With Cyber Monday in our rear view mirrors you might find yourself still struggling to find a unique gift for the creative mind on your holiday list. I am not normally someone who would put together a holiday gift guide but this year I have come across some things that I thought were just too cool not to share in the hopes that I might be able to make the holiday shopping this season just a little easier. just in case some of you Grinches were wondering I own all of these things, bought them with my own money and have not been anything to recommend them.
UI Whiteboard stencil
If you do any UI/UX connecting on whiteboards you will love this product from UIStencils.com. I love the site because it is a one stop shop for all kinds of cool UI design tools but this is one of my favorites. Their large whiteboard UI stencil lets you quickly mockup your ideas with 14 common UI shapes and a large metal handle in the middle of the stencil that makes it easy to hold up to any whiteboard. It seems like such a simple thing but I have found that it makes ideation session better since everyone feels like they can stand up and draw regardless of their artistic abilities and the end product just looks a lot cooler. You get the whiteboard stencil, 2 whiteboard markers (black and red), a whiteboard eraser and 2 UI stencils stickers. There are also miniature version of the stencil for sketching in your notebook that are also pretty great if this one is too big for you.
Adobe Comp CC App
It may seem odd to have a free app on a gift guide but for me the Adobe Comp CC app is so good and I use it so often I had to add it. The app lets you create layouts on your iPhone, iPad or iPad Pro by transforming simple, natural drawing gestures into crisp shapes, graphics, text blocks and other elements. I use it constantly on my iPad since it lets me quickly create mockups to illustrate and explore ideas. I also like that you can pull in vector shapes, images, colors and text styles from your Creative Cloud Libraries, and professional fonts from Adobe Typekit. Then when I am done working on an idea I can send the comps to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign to finish working on them on my desktop. I think it is the first app that really gets how creativity has evolved in the mobile age and really has adapted its workflow to take advantage of it.
Apple Pencil with the iPad Pro
I know you probably rolled your eyes when scrolled down to find the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil on my list and I’m fine with that. Yes the Apple Pencil only works with the iPad Pro and yes the iPad Pro is expensive but after having worked with one for few weeks I can say that YES its worth it. These two devices have totally changed the way I work, concept, take notes, research, travel and more. They are a luxury but they are one that I think are really worth the investment.
Good Fucking Design Advice Prints
Another one of my long standing favorite creative outfitters is Good Fucking Design Advice which makes some of the best in your face creative accessories around. There are a lot of good products but I particularly love their print series which has 6 different designs and messages that are beautifully designed and printed on good quality paper stock. My favorite has always been the Classic Advice in Black print that has hung in my office for years as a remind of what type of work I need to create and I know the print also hangs on the walls of Jony Ive’s office in case you need some extra design nerd motivation to get one.
The main concept behind Penxo was simplicity and it reduces a conventional mechanical lead pencil into its elements and eliminate all the finicky mechanical parts. It releases the lead faster, makes it easier to tell which lead is loaded in the pencil without the need to unload the lead, peer through a semi-translucent window, or use spinning knob indicators commonly found on drafting pencils; and how to conveniently monitor lead usage. For all of that groundbreaking design it received the top prize in the Red Dot Award: Product Design. It comes is stainless or black color ways and will delight any designer who still loves drawing with real pencils.
Behance Action Method Journals
Behance aims to organize, connect, and empower creative careers, so the best ideas can see the light of day. Behance’s “Action” and “Dot Grid” product lines have become indispensable utilities for Creatives at work. I have been using them pretty much every day since 2006 when the first ones were released. The line of notebooks has grown a lot since then and you can find the notebook, journal or pad that is right for you.