2014 gift guide for design lovers

We had a pretty hard time nailing down the gift guides this year—more and more companies are finally jumping on the bandwagon to make products that are beautiful, useful, and a delight to have in your home. For the coolest gal or guy in the sky, check out the carry-on cocktail kit, turning your sad airplane refreshment into an eye-turner. For the information aficionado, we’ve got a whole book on infographics, or a mug from PopChartLab detailing everyone’s favorite caffeinated beverage. Below, you’ll find some great gifts for family, friends, significant others, and a few goodies to treat yourself with this holiday season.

seamless & steadfast enamel steel plates (set of two & six)

$35 from BestMade Co

If you’re someone that appreciates beautiful design, but your family acts like a bunch of bulls in a china shop at every holiday meal, Best Made has you covered. Best Made’s Enamel Steel Plate Set provides the reliable durability to withstand the shouting, throwing, smashing and general chaos of even your most out-of-control family functions. We can’t ensure that you’ll survive the visit from your in-laws, but grab these as a treat for yourself prior to your holiday festivities to make sure your plates will.

the compendious coffee chart coffee mug

$15 from PoptChartLab
PopChartLab excels like no other when it comes to deconstructing, explaining, and designing the mess out of complicated topics—for proof, check out their posters that outline every type of beer, wine and cheese, as well as a visual history of cars, sneakers and video game controllers. We chose this coffee mug in particular because, in addition to making the most beautiful prints, PopChartLab has also expanded into housewares, with items such as coffee mugs, aprons, tote bags and more.

carry on cocktail kit

$24, from Carry on Cocktail Kit
For those of us who order mixed drinks in-flight, gone are the days of depressing whiskey cocktails. The carry on cocktail kit comes ready with all the mixings for a delicious Old Fashioned while you’re soaring through the clouds, as long as you have a permissive seat neighbor. The tiny bottle of bitters is small enough to make it through TSA, and the spoon and muddler won’t cause a problem either. Our question though, is: when will there be a kit for margaritas?

lazy oaf pizza plate

$25.14 from Lazy Oaf
For most of us, when the holiday’s are over and the Turkey left-overs are long gone, it’s back to late-night Chinese and take-out pizza on the regular. Splurge on the Lazy Oaf Pizza Plate this holiday to make digging into your favorite 2015 pie a little simpler. The lazy oaf in your life will be thrilled to find out the plate is dishwasher-safe, and if you’re a lazy oaf too, you’re in luck,because Lazy Oaf gift boxes the pizza plate for you.

littlebits synth kit

$159, from Little Bits Electronics
For the people who tinker, musically-inclined or not. The LittleBits synth kit comes with 12 different pieces that can be snapped together, like Legos, to create a whole new rhythm or tune. Quickly assemble the keyboard and oscillator to produce different tones, or pop on the delay piece to add an echo. The kit comes with a booklet of starter combinations in case you’re stuck, starting from making random bleep noises to building your own tiny turntable or keytar.

lomo’instant camera

$119—$149, from Lomography
For your favorite hipster photographer, the Lomo’instant from Lomography is the way to go. The customizable, creative instant camera takes point and shoot to a whole new level. And with three styles to choose from, white, black and leather wrapped, you can find the perfect fit. But make sure it’s the first gift opened, so you can capture the whole holiday.

the best american infographics 2014, edited by gareth cook

$12.50, from Amazon
Information nerds, unite—this book rounds up some of the best information design from the past year in colorful, detailed glory for your eyes to feast on. Could just be a delightful coffee table book, or might even be a helpful inspirational tool for your next design project. This is their second volume, and we look forward to many more in the future.

hay computer brush

$54, from Huset
Busybody working designers often find themselves poring over comps and layouts from early morning to late in the evening, sneaking in a snack or meal here and there. Crumbs, dust, and other nastiness tends to accumulate in the keys, later causing a disturbance in your workflow. Don’t want to buy an aerosol can to blast the dust out, and would rather do it the old-fashioned way? Try this computer brush out.

pencil—digital stylus for ipad

$59.95 from FiftyThree
The closest thing we have on this list to “pure magic,” the pencil by FiftyThree is basically like using a real pencil (or pen, or paintbrush!) on paper, if only the paper was backlit by LEDs. Write out ideas on the fly with your iPad, set up anywhere and paint quick, beautiful portraits. The pencil is delightfully pressure sensitive, removing all the pain and frustration from trying to draw on a trackpad, and more fluid than using your finger. If you have a designer friend who loves to draw, this would be a home run.

suck uk customizable cookie stamp

$12.01 from Suck UK
Designers are picky people, especially when it comes to typography. What might seem like a regular sentence to the untrained, can come across as a mess of bad kerning and type treatments to others. Why get cookies with potential design pitfalls when you can design it yourself? This stamp is fully customizable for any message, as long as it fits on a cookie. This would even double as a gift for yourself and gift for a friend—make everyone you know some perfect personalized cookies. And follow cookie expert Amber Spiegel for some delicious design ideas.

hirise deluxe for iphone & ipad

$34.99 from Twelve South
Like to FaceTime with your friends but hate the wobbly view caused by distracted hands? Want to stream some music, read notes, or watch videos without fumbling with the phone or iPad or having to prop them up on a shaky surface? Enter the HiRise Deluxe, a pedestal that promises to solve all these problems. Charge your device while having it right in front of you.

simple macbook pro sleeve – charcoal felt

$35.70 from Byrd & Belle

For the designer who’s shamefully admitted taking care of their laptop is like taking care of a baby, give them something to keep it safe. This MacBook sleeve is open on one side, giving access to the ports (in case you want to charge the computer while it’s not being used). The sleeve is 100% wool and designed to fit your computer perfectly.

[via paste magazine]

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Tom Foerstel : Founder & President

Tom Foerstel

Founder & President

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, Tom developed a strong desire to create positive change for people and planet.


He went on to pursue his passion for art and design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked for design firms in Southern California before moving to Boise, Idaho in the early 80’s. Foerstel Design opened its doors in 1985. Since its inception, the firm has cultivated a bold, happy, forward-looking team focussed on creating distinct and effective work on behalf of their clients.


An integral part of Tom’s philosophy is giving back to the community in which he lives — a company cornerstone that drives Foerstel’s long history of providing pro-bono services to local non-profit humanitarian and arts programs.


One of Tom’s proudest personal achievements is his ability to say Supercalifragilisticexpyalidocious backwards.