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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

Do you have any gift ideas for Christmas?

It’s November, and that means the holidays are just around the corner and everyone is looking for gift ideas for friends and family. I don’t know about you, but every year I dread the question “what do you want for Christmas?” I don't know what to say when someone asks me that question. Are you like that too? In case you are, I’ve come up with ten things you could ask for, that are very useful for designers and are not that expensive.

1) Luna Display

Luna Display is brought to you by the team behind AstroPad. AstroPad is software that allows you to mirror your Mac’s display on your iPad. Luna Display is their new hardware solution that turns any iPad into an actual, wireless second display for your Mac. 

It’s available as both a USB-C or Mini DisplayPort device. All you have to do is plug it into the port on your Mac, and your iPad becomes a second monitor. It only takes seconds to set up and works over your existing Wi-Fi. Luna Display is excellent for MacBook users who could use more screen real estate.

2) Amazon Echo Dot. 

The smallest of Amazon's Alexa devices, The Echo Dot is your small office assistant. Use it to set alarms and reminders, add items to your calendar, look up things, do calculations, play music and so much more.

The Amazon Echo Dot can also be used to control smart devices in your home. I have mine set up, so all I have to say is “Alexa, turn on/off office lights”.

You can check out the Echo Dot and Amazon's other Alexa enabled devices through this link (affiliate) resourcefuldesigner.com/amazonecho

3) Amazon Prime

If you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, you really should be. Amazon Prime membership gives you access to great content such as Prive Video that gives you access to thousands of movies and TV series, including Prime Original series like Jack Ryan, which was terrific by the way. Prime Reading, with exclusive free and discounted eBooks each month, Prime Music so you can listen to all your favourite songs. And of course, fast and free shipping on over 100 million items for sale on Amazon.

The savings on shipping alone are worth the price of membership.

Plus, with subscriptions, you can save money on purchases you make on a regular basis. Receive a discount when you subscribe to stuff like toilet paper or laundry detergent. Just set it up by telling Amazon how often you need to replenish, and it will show up at your door on schedule.

Try Amazon Prime free for 30 days (affiliate link) 

4) Whiteboard with dot grid

Whiteboards are staples in many offices. They’re easy to use, highly visible, and a great way to organise your day to day business activities. 

But if you’re like me, the top left of your whiteboard looks nice and tidy, but as you move down and to the right, the lists and writings become more and more crooked until the stuff written on the bottom right is way out of skew.

My son recently bought a dotted whiteboard, and when I saw it, I thought, what a brilliant idea. The dots are printed directly on the whiteboard in a grid pattern. They’re very light, so they’re visible up close but not so much from farther away.

Those dots help to keep your writing, lists, and drawings straight and aligned. 

5) Daylight light bulbs

One of the benefits of working from home is not having to commute to work. But on the flipside, that benefit does have some drawbacks because people working from home spend less time outdoors and therefore have less exposure to the much-needed Vitamin D you get from being in the sun. Especially in the winter when it gets dark earlier. 

A lack of Vitamin D can cause all sorts of health issues. You can take pills to help, but another option is to equip your office lights with bulbs that mimic daylight. It’s not the same as being out in the sun, but it can help you get through those dreary winter months.

6) Monitor Stand

Back in episode 118 of Resourceful Designer, I explained how the optimal height of your computer monitor is to have the top edge of the screen level with your eyes.

I’m 6’2”, and even with a 27” iMac I look down at my computer. After a long day of work, my neck kept getting sore. Then I bought a monitor stand to raise my monitor, and it made a huge difference. Now my computer is at the right hight, and the stand I got looks good, plus it provides me with some extra storage space below my computer.

I bought the VIVO height adjustable monitor stand for iMac. The foot of the computer sits on an adjustable shelf so that you can set it to the hight that’s most comfortable to you.

7) Phone/tablet stand

A stand for your phone/tablet helps keep your device facing you which surprisingly helps eliminate distractions. When my phone beeps with a notification, I can quickly glance at it to see if it’s anything I need to deal with without having to pick up my phone or bending over my desk to see what the notification is.

I do suggest you turn off all notifications, so you’re not distracted, but there are certain things you can’t turn off.

With so many variations of these stands to choose from you're sure to find one that suits your office. They make a great inexpensive gift idea.

8) Pantone Colour Books

If you’re a designer, especially if you design anything for print. You should have your own Pantone Color Guide. I prefer the Fan Books myself, and the one I recommend is the Color Bridge Set. It shows you the colours on both coated and uncoated paper and the differences between the spot colours and CMYK equivalents. The guide also shows you the Hex and RGB values. 

At $300, it's the most expensive gift idea I’m sharing, but in my opinion, it’s a must-have for all serious designers.

9) Wireless charging pad

Another great gift is a charging pad for your wireless devices. If you have a phone or tablet, or maybe wireless headphones that can be charged wirelessly, then you should have a charging pad on your desk.

There are so many great looking options when it comes to charging pads. And at various price ranges, they make a great gift idea for any budget.

10) Second monitor

A second monitor is a big boon to any design office. I added a second monitor to my workstation this past year. I immediately realised what I had been missing out on for all those years I worked on just my iMac. I can’t imagine how designers working solely on a laptop manage with such a small screen.

A second monitor gives you so much more desktop real estate. You can have your email and web browser on one screen while you work on your primary monitor. 

I spent 12 years working with only one monitor thinking that a second one would be a luxury I don’t really need. Now that I’ve experienced it I know that if mine ever dies, I will be replacing it immediately.

There you have it, 10 gift ideas for designers. I hope this gives you some inspiration the next time someone asks you “what do you want for Christmas?”

What design-related gift ideas are you asking for this year?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

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