My husband is the hardest person to shop for. I think it's  a proven fact actually: designers of all kinds, be they graphic designers, illustrators, and especially industrial designers are impossible to buy gifts for. Why? You cannot buy anything from a big box store. You need something perfectly designed, from a small store you don't even know exists. The gift needs to be proven, tested, amazing. So if you're in the same boat as me, you're in luck: because the husband himself is guest blogging this gift guide. 


First some tips from the husband: 

  • He says no tools. Just like salespeople in women's stores hunt down the men for a fast sale, the same thing happens at home improvement stores. You will be sold an absolute POS. So just skip it and give them a gift card so they can do the research and actually get what they want. 
  • When it comes to clothes buy the same sweater they have in a different color. Designers are notoriously uniform wearers. They have a set color palate and styles. For example, the husband ALWAYS wears navy blue and grey with brown shoes. He says specifically, buy something that already works because guys hate returning things.  Also look to shoes and accessories if you want to get them something 'different'. 
  • Don't just buy 'house things'. You could buy those towels you both talked about, but are they really for him? No.
  • Buy at least one item that isn't on his wish list. Surprise him with something vintage/antique that's tied to a hobby. 
  • Gift an experience. Send him off somewhere to learn something. The husband's ultimate wish list is to go learn how to build a windsor chair from a craftsman. Alternatively, buy him Skillshare classes. 

  • Do something he's been meaning to do. Example: frame a print that's been sitting in the house either tacked up or hidden in storage. 

  • Remove the ultra feminine bedding. Listen. Guys don't want to sleep under floral duvets. I've learned to compromise.  

gift guide for design guys, practical guy gifts


The Practical Design Guy List

  • Utilitarian Boots:  Well crafted shoes are a gift that lasts well past Christmas. A quality pair of boots can live a long life it you treat them right. See if your shoe company has a good repair program (where you can send them back to be resoled) or have a cobbler nearby. 
  • Kevlar Scissors: Designers love sharp objects. Xacto blades, thread cutters…scissors. Quality scissors  are the kind that you can sharpen with a grinding stone if they ever dull. 

  • Rope Dog Leash:  Because a retractable leash says the dog is walking the husband.  Neutral, natural, done. 

  • Quick Release Brass Keyring:  Great for the valet or repair shop. You can leave the keys and take the essentials with you.  

  • Flint and Tinder Underwear: Talk about practical. All cotton, USA made. 

  • House Slippers: People that take off their shoes at the door track 70% less dust in the house.  Having a set of these near the door is good form. Sleek, leather, non fluffy so when the cat leaves a "present"  in them it’s not a big deal.  PS. On Sale!

  • Beer Resealer: Anytime something important comes up after you have cracked one open and you don’t want the beer to spoil. Also great to use for times when a recipe calls for beer (beer battered, beer soup, beer bbq)...

  • Bronze Book Darts - I used to rip scrap paper to mark things in books. This is much cleaner and much more pleasant to look at. Great for those books and pages you reference all the time.

  • Recycled Muji Notebooks - The color bands keep things organized for whatever you need to record.

  • Wood and Leather Camp Stool: Great to throw in the car if you need extra seating once you get to a kid's game, picnic spot or tailgate.

Do you have an impossible to shop for guy in your life? 

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