The ultimate 2020 Christmas gift guide for artists and designers

Christmas is Cancelled, a humorous print by Lydia Leith

Some of us might not be able to see our family and friends this Christmas, thanks to a little damn virus that’s going around, but we can still treat those we love to something special.

Each year, we at Creative Boom thoroughly enjoy pulling together lots of creative gift ideas for the festive season, with a particular focus on the artists and designers in your life. We also try and support independent shops and businesses wherever we can, as well as think sustainably where possible. (Although we don’t always get it right, so if you spot something you think shouldn’t be on here, please let us know.)

From designer mugs, classic home accessories and cheerful clothing and jewellery to fun toys, tools and gadgets for the people who love to be creative – we’ve uncovered it all, saving you the trouble of finding that ideal present. Dare we say it, you might also be grabbing a few of these ideas for yourself? We don’t blame you. Especially the humorous ‘Christmas is Cancelled’ print by multi-disciplinary designer Lydia Leith, as shown above.

Whilst we have your attention, could we point you to eco-friendly gift wrapping, Read Wrap Recycle by Charlotte Wooding? It’s a quirky newspaper/gift wrap hybrid where each copy includes five sheets of double-sided wrapping paper. And now, we share our top gift picks! Enjoy!

For the Home

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Fabric Storage Pots – Priced from £24

These delightful fabric storage pots by Laura Spring make perfect little gifts for those who like to be organised at home. Or they’d appeal to the plant lovers out there, as they make great plant pots, too. Available in a variety of colours and patterns, the handmade pots are also machine washable.

Fabric storage pots by Laura Spring. Image credit: CaroWeiss

Clean Slate – Lavender & Eucalyptus Candle – Priced at €20

Clean Slate founder Nicole Connolly has always had a love for fragrance, gorgeous products, design and creativity, as well as an obsession with candles. So it was inevitable that she began making her own ‘Little Luxuries’ that would blend these passions. This grew into creating a range of products that are aesthetically pleasing, high quality and eco-friendly. Nicole’s candles are made with 100% soy wax, paraben-free, vegan, hand-poured and finished with love and care.

Clean Slate soy wax candle, via Hen’s Teeth

Kit Cat Klock – Priced at €70

The Classic Black Kit-Cat clock is made in America and has been bringing time to life since 1932. His iconic design hasn’t changed since a bow tie was added in the 1950s. You’re not creative unless you have this charming design piece in your home or office.

Kit Kat Clock, via Hen’s Teeth

Magpie x Peanuts: Snoopy Coffee Mug – Priced at €15

A collaboration with Charles M.Shulz’s fabulous comic strip, Peanuts and Magpie, this ‘I’m Not Worth a Thing Before Coffee’ mug is a charming addition to your desk. Who doesn’t love Snoopy and his friends? The classic comic strip mirrors everyday realities but within an adultless society, copying the highs and lows, worries and anxieties of life. This mug is brought to you in vegan fine china.

Snoopy mug, via Hen’s Teeth

‘Flock’ blanket by Hilary Grant – Priced at £150

If you haven’t yet discovered Hilary Grant, it’s a textile design studio based on the northerly Scottish islands of Orkney, specialising in knitted pattern. Its textiles are made in Scotland from a luxury grade, cruelty-free 100% lambswool. Here, we share its small ‘Flock’ blanket, which has a modular and graphic pattern with a layered, transparent «overprinting» effect.

Flock small blanket in birch and French blue by Hilary Grant

Beacon speaker by Roberts – Priced from £149

British heritage audio brand, Roberts, has launched its all-new Bluetooth speaker, the Beacon, in a range of eye-catching colours, making it a design centrepiece for the modern home. In characteristic Roberts fashion, the Beacon stands out for its distinctive retro looks as well as its crystal-clear, room-filling audio. We love the Beacon 330 in berry red.

The Beacon speaker by Roberts

Lollipops by Concrete Candy – Priced from £45

What about an unusual but joyful sculpture, paying homage to one of the summer’s favourite treats: the humble ice lolly? These neon bright lollipop artworks by Sarah McDougall of Concrete Candy are also available with a glass cloth with handmade terrazzo base so they can be displayed beautifully. Other designs by Sarah include candy-popping coloured vases, jelly sculptures, and terrazzo clocks. All handcrafted in her garden studio in east London.

Lollipop Ornaments by Sarah McDougall of Concrete Candy

Barry’s Cactus Club – Priced at £15 per month

Barry’s Cactus Club is the perfect gift for plant obsessives to help build their mini indoor jungle. Each box contains a uniquely designed ceramic pot that you won’t be able to buy in shops, a mini cactus or succulent and a collector’s card with fun facts and care tips. Surprise extras are included every so often, and first-timers receive an additional welcome kit with cactus food, a member’s enamel pin (yes, a pin!), and a collector’s annual so you can show off your new-found cacti knowledge.

Barry’s Cactus Club

Creative Stocking Fillers

Andy Warhol ‘Campbell’ Candle – Priced at €45

Would you believe it, this Andy Warhol ‘Campbell’ Candle in turquoise and yellow is performed? Based on the classic 1962 design of Campbell’s Soup Can, its scent by Givaudan is ‘Pop Wood’ featuring fig, incense, cedar, musk. Made in France. Also available in blue and purple with a ‘Fig & Tree’ scent of fig leaf, fig tree wood, and fig cream.

Andy Warhol Campbells Candle, via Hen’s Teeth

Paint Palette Badge by Tait Gallery Art – Priced at £5.75

This cute stocking filler will appeal to artists and aspiring painters alike. Crafted by Kayleigh Tait, the artist palette pin badge is made of MDF wood and hand-painted in a rainbow of colours, finished with a protective varnish. It comes on a lovely packing board with a rubber clutch on the back to keep it in place.

Wooden paint palette pin badge by Kayleigh Tait

Lomo’Instant Camera with Laura Slater – Priced at £175

This limited edition instant camera, with multi-coated glass lens, comes to you with a fresh new look inspired by artist Laura Slater’s textured, graphic artworks. Laura has crafted an exclusive design inspired by her Assemble / Configure collection bursting with bold pattern and striking blue-on-white design for our sharpest instant camera to date. Available from Lomography’s online shop and selected retailers.

Instant Camera with exclusive design by Laura Slater and Lomography

Maori Crayon Set – Priced at £10

Made in New Zealand, this crayon set via Present & Correct features colour labelling in both Maori and English. There are 10 crayons inside a very attractive box. A perfect stocking filler.

Maori Crayon Set via Present & Correct

Wooden Owl Brooch by Martin Tomsky – Priced at £16

We’re in love with this wooden owl brooch by London-based artist, Martin Tomsky. Made from layered and laser-cut stained plywood, it comes in a cute gift box and each piece is hand-assembled to create a unique, organic object that bridges the gap between craft, illustration and sculpture. As wood is a natural product, the colours and grain of each brooch may vary slightly – making it a truly bespoke gift.

Owl Brooch by Martin Tomsky, via Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

Spindel Yo-Yo – Priced at £9.50

The Itsy bitsy Spider Yo-Yo is a classical Kalmartrissa made in Sweden since 1932. Made from beechwood, it’s designed by Acne JR / JR Work Shop. Available via Counter Print.

Spindel Yo-Yo via Counter Print

Makers Gonna Make pin badge – Priced at £6

This hard enamel pin by The Free House is for all the makers, creators, and crafters out there. Hand-drawn and UK made, it comes in two text and three colour variations. We love this ‘Makers Gonna Make’ in gold nickel with white background.

Makers Gonna Make by The Free House

Women Artists – Priced at £10.95

From the Art Essentials series by Thames and Hudson, Women Artists focuses on fifty diverse women artists, from Lavinia Fontana and Artemisia Gentileschi through Judy Chicago, Ana Mendieta and the Guerrilla Girls to Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman and Louise Bourgeois. It’s a book that equips the reader with a general understanding of the history of art by women, as well as an appreciation of its most outstanding figures.

Women Artists by Flavia Frigeri

For the Graphic Designers

Pantone mugs – Priced at €18

Can any graphic designer claim to not have a Pantone mug? Probably not. But have they got one in every colour? Now’s your chance to add to their growing collection with these handmade, fine China Pantone mugs. Available in yellow, red, coral, purple, lilac, and blue. Microwave and dishwasher safe, too.

Pantone mugs, via Hen’s Teeth

Own Label book – Priced at £20

Trust us, this fantastic book outlining the contribution of Peter Dixon to the Sainsbury’s product line back in the 1960s and ’70s will have your designer pal drooling. It’s a graphic dream with everyday supermarket items getting a bold, typographic makeover. The designs are timeless and this book has over 200 pages of the best. Please note, this is the 2019 reprint.

Own Label via Present & Correct

Soviet Christmas Pins – Priced at £12.50 each

Courtesy of Present & Correct, this wonderful collection of Christmas pins, produced in the USSR, are metal, in great condition and feature a fun selection of festive characters. Sizes vary but on average, these are around 1 inch in size. But hurry, these pins won’t hang around for long.

Soviet Christmas Pins via Present & Correct

Greenhouse pencil case by Lizzie Evans – Priced at £22

Check out this gorgeous pencil case by Lizzie Evans, created for her lifestyle brand Lizzie for SMUG. We think the stylish patterns and vibrant colours of this helpful desk accessory will make a perfect stocking filler for the creative spark in your life.

Greenhouse pencil case by Lizzie Evans

The International Poster Book 2019 – Priced at £15

The International Poster Book 2019 is a limited-edition, 200-page full-colour and perfect bound book including all 192 posters (designed by 257 designers) selected for an exhibition at the Olympia Gallery during the Graphic Design Festival Scotland last year. There are interviews with selected contributors, too, as well as jury’s comments on the winners. Designed by Warriors Studio and printed by Pureprint Group on G.F Smith paper, it’s a gorgeous reference for inspiration.

The International Poster Book 2019

Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires and Riots – Priced at £40

Sounds a tad depressing but trust us, designers will adore this inspirational book, believed to be the first to capture the enormous body of distinctive and visually ecstatic graphic design that emanated from California throughout much of the twentieth century. Edited and designed by graphic designer Louise Sandhaus.

Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires and Riots via Counter Print

One Step by Sarah Boris – Priced at £60

One Step by Sarah Boris is the second in a series of collaborations curated and silkscreened by Harvey Lloyd Screens. Only 25 prints are available and all are signed by Sarah herself. Available from early December.

One Step by Sarah Boris

Ruler set by Atelier YUL – Priced at $48

The recent shift to at-home studios inspired Atelier YUL to rethink the classic ruler set and bring playful forms into the work-from-home environment. This version includes 5 multi-functional pieces in bold, primary colours: a 45 triangle with a 180-degree protractor, a 30/60 triangle with a 360-degree protractor, a 12-inch flat ruler that doubles as an architect’s scale, and a 6-inch ruler that opens up to 12-inches and rotates 360 degrees.

Ruler set by Atelier YUL

Life Planner 2021 – Priced at £23.50

Graphic designers will not only love this Life Planner via Present & Correct for its minimalist graphic cover and muted colours, but also because it’s full of ideas to lead a simpler life. That’s something we’ve all been craving lately. With goals, suggestions, tips and projects, alongside week to view and monthly planners, this perfect-bound planner, designed by Julie Joliat, will inspire.

Life Planner 2021 via Present & Correct

Girls Who Design pin by Two Girls Co. – Priced at £7

This pin is simple. Two Girls Co. wants to empower women in the design industry to wear this pin and feel proud of what they do. Not only this, but this pin is a perfect conversation starter to help bring more diversity to creativity.

Girls Who Design pin by Two Girls Co.

Greetings from Javier Jaén Studio – Priced at £35

No graphic designer can resist this new and timely monograph of Javier Jaén. The celebrated artist has worked for clients such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, National Geographic and Greenpeace. This book presents the preparation, thought process and resulting artwork from one of the creative world’s most fertile minds. Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of colour images to help showcase the depth and variety inherent with Jaén’s output, it comes with a free concertina-folded sticker sheet featuring many of the artist’s iconic designs. Plus, Counter Print has an exclusive, limited edition, enamel pin badge designed by Javier Jaén to be given away with the first 200 books sold through its shop.

Greetings from Javier Jaén Studio via Counter Print

For the Fashionistas

Men’s Rebel White by Rens – Priced at $119

How about treating someone to the world’s first sneakers made from coffee waste and recycled plastic bottles? Following a successful Kickstarter, Finland-brand Rens Original became a reality. Truly unique, vegan-friendly and sustainable, the shoes are described as «softer than eating a marshmallow on a feather bed», are 100& waterproof, and come in a whole load of gorgeous designs. We love these Rebel White ones.

Rens Original – Sneakers made from your morning coffee

St Ives scarf by Hilary Grant – Priced at £135

Another beauty from Hilary Grant, this time in the form of a beautiful coral and kelp coloured scarf. Called St Ives, it’s a colour study in knit and recalls the unusually strong colours of mid-century Welsh tapestry blankets.

St Ives scarf in coral and kemp, by Hilary Grant

Put A Sock In It – Priced at £8.95 per month with free delivery

Now here’s an idea you don’t see every day. Put A Sock In It is a brand new monthly sock subscription, suitable for everyone, designed by independent designers and illustrators, so each pair supports new artists. Choose one or two pairs, and between illustrated or contemporary designs, then let the surprises begin.

Put a Sock In It – socks designed by independent artists and designers

Sneakers x Culture: Collab – Priced at €30

This wonderful book is a celebration of the great sneaker collaborations that have reimagined the shoe, elevating this most practical of footwear into the realm of wearable art. Featuring Adidas, Converse, Nike, Puma, Reebok and nearly one hundred famous, infamous, and lesser-known partnerships. Author Elizabeth Semmelhack has conducted interviews with many collaborators, including an extensive Q&A with Chris Hill, design manager of Reebok, who has worked with Pyer Moss, Cam’ron, and many others.

Collab, via Hen’s Teeth

‘Arrow’ Fingerless Mitts by Hilary Grant – Priced at £47

Ok, we’ve got a soft spot for Hilary Grant, the textile design studio based on the northerly Scottish islands of Orkney, specialising in products made from luxury-grade, cruelty-free 100% lambswool. We love these ‘Arrow’ fingerless mittens – a 10th-anniversary reimagining of an original bestselling pattern. Made from a luxurious two-ply lambswool knit with ribbed cuffs.

Arrow mittens in charcoal and ecru by Hilary Grant

Hometown pins and keyrings by Jenni Sparks – Priced from £6

Illustrated by Jenni Sparks, these pins and keyrings from her Hometown range jump straight off her hand-drawn maps for a wearable nod to your favourite spots. From tattooed biceps, boxes of fried chicken and the infamous can of Red Stripe…these designs speak for themselves. Choose from locations including Brighton, Soho, Brixton, Chelsea, Islington, Shoreditch, Hackney, Peckham and Camden. Available via Evermade.

Hometown range by Jenni Sparks

NHS Heroes festive knit – Priced at £34.99

The brand, notjust clothing, who sleighed the nation with the Greggs and Gareth Southgate festive knits, returns to celebrate the greatest heroes of 2020 with the NHS Heroes festive knit – available in all its glory online. Even better, 50% of profits from every sale will be donated to NHS Charities Together, a federation of over 250 charitable organisations that support the National Health Service.

NHS Heroes Christmas Jumper by notjust clothing

Original Bhangra tee by Osman Yousefzada – Priced at £50

These limited edition t-shirts accompanied Osman Yousefzada’s IKON gallery exhibition, Being Somewhere Else, presented in partnership with Selfridges and supported by Dazed, Eco-Age and Leila Elling. Osman works at the intersection of art and fashion, combining his multi-disciplinary design practice with a strong sense of social commentary. Who doesn’t want to be an original Bhangra boy or girl? Options are available.

Original Bhangra by Osman Yousefzada

Kra scarf by Miss Pompom – Priced at £42

When Miss Pompom teamed up with Peckham-based artist Katrina Russell Adams last year, their first collaboration was a complete sell-out success. The oversized scarf’s design is based on a mural Katrina painted on a primary school in East Dulwich. Thankfully, it’s available again. Featuring a playful graphic design in yellow, black, blue, pink, red, and green, the knit is in a jacquard style, with colourful vibrancy throughout.

Kra scarf by Miss Pompom

Life’s a Beach tote bag – Priced at £10

This 100% Organic Cotton, twill weave tote bag, featuring a cheerful ‘Life’s a Beach’ design, is by illustrator Sam Bevington. Made exclusively for Evermade, it will brighten up any outfit.

Life’s a Beach by Sam Bevington for Evermade

Leaping Hare necklace by Materia Rica and Miriam Frank – Priced at £25.50

This stunning wooden necklace is made by Materia Rica in Barcelona and is part of the fantastic Wood Hood collection designed with Miriam Frank. With an adjustable, antiallergic and nickel-free chain (good to know), the wood is sourced responsibly in the UK using only FSC approved suppliers. Packaging 100% recyclable and respectful with the environment.

Leaping Hare necklace by Materia Rica, Barcelona

I Still Listen to Slade tee by Jeremy Deller – Priced at £25

It’s Christmassssssss! Or so the famous festive pop song goes. If you know someone who still adores Slade’s cheerful Christmas cracker, then check out this limited edition t-shirt designed by Jeremy Deller. Made to accompany the exhibition The Aerodrome: An Exhibition Dedicated to the Memory of Michael Stanley, the design was based on a signed photograph that Deller had as a child, in which he is wearing a Slade t-shirt signed by the band members.

I Still Listen to Slade by Jeremy Deller

For the Walls

Wednesday print by Cathy Hogan – Priced from €40

Kicking off our print suggestions with this ‘Wednesday’ artwork by Cork-based designer and illustrator, Cathy Hogan. Available in either A3 or A2, it’s just one of the many designs inspired by her everyday life and surroundings, with a dash of fun to change your perspective on the mundane. Other prints in the series include ‘Monday’, ‘Friday’ and ‘Sunday’.

Wednesday, print by Cathy Hogan, via Hen’s Teeth

Save the Glaciers by Sandra Liscio – Priced from £25

London-based Swiss designer Sandra Liscio has just launched Save the Glaciers, a limited edition collection of Giclée prints paying tribute to Switzerland’s beautiful and endangered glaciers. For every print sold, Sandra will donate 20% to the Swiss Association for Climate Protection which launched the Glacier Initiative. Its goal is to eliminate emissions by 2050, to anchor the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement in the Swiss Constitution and to promote climate protection in Switzerland.

«These mountains with their majestic glaciers are part of our life but the melting of our glaciers is a wake-up call for us all,» says Sandra. «Together we must stop global warming, to prevent our living conditions from irreversible deterioration.»

Save the Glaciers prints by Sandra Liscio

Shapes of People by Wendy Wong – Priced at £12.50

This charming A4 print by London-based illustrator Wendy Wong will raise a smile this Christmas. Featuring her usual graphic style, full of bold lines and bright colours, Shapes of People is a fun and optimistic artwork that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Shapes of People by Wendy Wong

Mood Cat by Aley Wild – Priced at £30

This fun and cheerful print by Aley Wild is typical of her playful, neo-primitive work which explores positivity, feminine power and connection with nature. Mood Cat is just the print to brighten up any wall with its happy vibes and dancing disco puss.

Mood Cat by Aley Wild

2020 Rainbow by Miss Magpie – Priced from £40

This 2020 Rainbow Giclée print by Miss Magpie, aka Niki Groom, features the rainbows in windows of lockdown and for every one sold, a donation is made to The Trussell Trust, a charity working to stop UK hunger and poverty. Available in A4, A3, A2, and A1.

Stay Home print by Niki Groom aka Miss Magpie

Paint More Walls by Yeye Weller – Priced at €100

This happy design by Yeye W eller is full of colour, humour and balance that the German artist is renowned for. «These are the three necessities for my work,» he explains. «I don’t have a smart message or a device for freedom, my illustrations come as they are: happy, colourful and stupid.»

Paint More Walls by Yeye Weller, via Hen’s Teeth

Nope by Gemma Correll – Priced at £25

Could ‘Nope’ be the resounding cry of 2020? This classic print by much-loved cartoonist, writer and illustrator Gemma Correll helps us to see the funny side. With work that’s instantly recognisable, Gemma combines her charming hand-drawn designs with a storytelling style, often featuring playful pets (like her own cute pug).

Nope by Gemma Correll

For Children (and Big Kids)

Festive Book Bundles – Priced at £35

Festive Book Bundles offer a selection of children’s books handpicked for you by Jenny, the owner of independent children’s bookshop, How Brave is the Wren. They make an ideal Christmas gift, as you get three books, an activity book or magazine, a Printed Peanut snowglobe Christmas card – all beautifully gift wrapped. Even better, £2 from each Festive Book Bundle sale will be donated to The National Literacy Trust.

Christmas Book Bundles by How Brave is the Wren

Arc Pattern Jigsaw Puzzle – Priced at £28

The Arc Pattern 500 piece jigsaw puzzle, courtesy of Areaware, is developed and inspired by fine art, commercial and naïve design, as well as the brain’s reaction to colour, movement, and contrast. It’ll keep someone happily busy during the darker and colder winter nights.

Pattern play, via Design Museum

Ping Pong Paddles by Supersmash – Priced from €52

Not just for kids, these «ping pong paddles for design snobs» have been created by Supersmash, with its launch collection comprising seven new models. Challenging the traditional black and red rubbers, the colourful paddles called Dazzle, French Kiss of Death or Hofmann, each tell their own story. Taking inspiration from Sun Tzu ‘Art of war’, gravitational vortexes, camouflage used on old navy ships – all designs promise to give you an edge during the game and blur the lines between form and function.

Ping pong paddles for design snobs by Supersmash

Brutal Poland by Zupagrafika – Priced at €24

The latest interactive book by Zupagrafika is a playful exploration of the socialist-era architecture erected in the former Polish People’s Republic. Brutal Poland isn’t just something for the bookshelf, it also comes with pre-cut and pre-folded paper models that you can press out to assemble your own brutalist Polish buildings.

Brutal Poland by Zupagrafika

Cardkits – Priced from $15

Cardkits is a new ethical brand that brings us an inspiring world of beautiful, sustainable paper toys. You simply build various models yourself to create engaging miniature cityscapes. It gives children screen-free, creative play, and is peace of mind for design-conscious parents.

Cardkits, design conscious children’s toys

Piecemeal Puzzles – Priced at £27

Piecemeal Puzzles is a new, female-founded, contemporary jigsaw puzzle brand. Its founder, Elke Bussey, discovered her love for doing a jigsaw during the lockdown, whilst struggling with the long-term repercussions of grief. She unexpectedly found solace in the activity and identified the need for a fresh take on an otherwise relatively traditional product. Elke’s debut collection features three puzzles to choose from: California Nights, Summer 2020 and Fishing in Burano. That’s just the escape we all need this winter.

Piecemeal Puzzles

Papergang stationery subscription – Priced at £14 per month

The latest box of monthly stationery surprises features a special winter woodland theme and includes beautifully illustrated greetings cards, notebooks, list pads, gift wrapping paper, and a fox enamel pin. Plus, every box purchased helps to plant new trees via charity partner Tree Aid.

Papergang, a monthly box of stationery

Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker and Zoe Persico – Priced at £6.99

This inspiring picture book by Zoe Tucker and Zoe Persico retells the story of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg – the Swedish teenager who has led a global movement to raise awareness about the world’s climate crisis – using allegory to make this important topic accessible to young children.

As the book’s description reads, «Greta is a little girl who lives in a beautiful forest threatened by Giants. When the Giants first came to the forest, they chopped down trees to make houses. Then they chopped down more trees and made even bigger homes. The houses grew into towns and the towns grew into cities until now there is hardly any forest left. Greta knows she has to help the animals who live in the forest, but how? Luckily, Greta has an idea…»

This book is printed in the UK on recycled paper and by buying a copy you donate 3% of the cover price to Greenpeace. Now there’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker and Zoe Persico

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