Holiday gifts for your favorite designer

I know, I missed cyber-Monday. Never fear, there is still time to ship gifts for your favorite designer, design student, or craftoholic. Students – pass this to your parents.

1. Paper

Designers, art students, crafters, and people who love to procrastinate by creating brand new projects at the last minute LOVE high quality paper.
Crane Museo Fine Art Paper for Desktop Digital Printing – Fine art paper – 8.5 in x 11 in – 250 g/m2 – 25 sheet(s)

If you or your gift receiver has a large printer that can handle 13 by 19 inch paper:
UltraSmooth Fine Art Paper for Stylus® Pro 7000/9000, 13 x 19, 25 Sheets (EPSS041896) Category: Wide Format Printing Paper

This isn’t terribly fancy, but it’s good to have some card stock and some color hanging around:
Array 65-lb. Card Stock

2. Storage

Everyone could use some extra storage space. Here’s a little flash drive that holds 16 gigs – that’s about 20,000 songs!
SanDisk Cruzer Micro 16 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive SDCZ6-016G-A11

Are you giving someone a new computer? An external hard-drive is necessary for backing up work. If your favorite digitalista doesn’t back up regularly, get her one of these. She’ll thank you when the computer screen turns that nauseating shade of blue. Here are two options, the first is for a Mac user and is especially good for video editors. The second link is for PC users.

LaCie Rugged All-Terrain 500 GB FireWire 800/FireWire 400/USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive 301371

Western Digital My Passport Essential 320 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive WDMEB3200TN (Intense Blue)

The old-fashioned way of storing data, and by that I mean, what we used to do about three or four years ago, was to burn files to a disk. Floppies, Syquests, and Zips are long-gone, but your CD drive still works, right?
Maxell 648200 700MB/80-Minute 48x CD-R Spindle (100-Count)

I’d put DVD-Rs here, too, but I think you should look in the video cameras section for that.

3. Digital Accessories

A laptop cooling pad is a good gift for laptop users who tend to work in non-desk environments. I don’t have a laptop cooling pad yet, mainly because I prefer a desk; but this one seems to get good reviews on Amazon:
Xpad Slim (Non-slip Laptop Cooler and Heatshield)

When it comes to headphones, Bose is the best. I have the noise-canceling version of these, but if you’re buying for a student who is apt to loose her headphones, start here:
Bose® around-ear headphones, for personal and portable listening

4. Digital Cameras

Let’s keep this simple. There are two categories:  “photography student/practically professional”, and “pictures of your friends”.

For the students and nearly-pros, you have to get an SLR. They’re more expensive, of course, but the photographer wants to be in control of the camera. I used to have the Digital Rebel and I never warmed up to it. It finally died after a long run (more than five years), so I bought a Nikon and I couldn’t be happier. This is really a product you should put in your hands before you spend the money. But if your kid wants a camera and can’t give you any details, pick one of these and it will certainly do the job (Yes, the Nikon is nearly $700 but it comes with an extra lens.  The Canon is $519, but it only comes with one lens.):
Canon Digital Rebel XS 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) + Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens + Spare LP-E5 Battery + 4GB Card + Gadget Bag

Nikon D40 6.1 Megapixel Digital SLR Camera Two Lens Kit, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX & 55mm – 200mm

In the “I just need something to use for pictures of my family and friends” category, go with the Powershot (ooh, it comes in pink, blue, silver, and green) or the Coolpix (both are less than $200):

Canon PowerShot SD1200IS 10 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch LCD (Pink/Red)

Nikon Coolpix S630 12MP Digital Camera with 7x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD (Jet Black)

Transferring photo files from the camera to the computer is faster if you have a card reader. This one comes with adapters for the various sizes you might have in your family or dorm room:
Kingston Mobility Kit – 4 GB microSDHC Flash Memory Card with SD and miniSD Adapters + USB 2.0 Reader MBLY/4GB (about $20)

5. Video Cameras

Flip video cameras are the new craze. You can capture video by pressing one giant red button and it is automatically stored to a USB drive. Plug the drive into your computer and the camera recharges its battery while the video clips download to your Desktop. I have this and I love it. The camera is great for anyone interested in creating podcasts, YouTube videos, short videos of friends or family events, or spontaneous B-roll.
Flip Ultra Camcorder 2nd Generation, 120 Minutes (White)

If your gift-receiver is a filmmaker, she might want a camera with options that put her in control of the aperture. I have an old SONY TRV, but if I were buying a new camera today, I’d get the Canon XL1:
Canon XL1S MiniDV Digital Camcorder

Mini-DV tapes are always in demand if your filmmaker uses a mini-DV camcorder (basically, just about anything current that is not the Flip camera):
Sony DVM60PRL Mini DV Tape 60min Premium Data Cartridge 10 Packs

When the project is finished, you should receive a playable copy on disk.
Maxell – 100 x DVD-R – 4.7 GB 16x – spindle – storage media

These are the nuts and bolts. I’ll post again with more eccentric gift ideas for those who are inclined to wear Paul Frank glasses and Chuck Taylors.

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