Beyond Candy and Flowers: 6 Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Designer in Your Life

It’s that time of the year again. Love is in the air…or not. (Valentines Day is really a manufactured holiday anyway, am I right?)  But since we’re all suckers for love, real or unreal, and this day of hearts and flowers is growing near, you may find yourself drawing a blank on what to get your special someone. Or worse. You have an actual situation on your hands – you are in love with a designer (digital, interior, product, graphic, environmental, set, clothing, self-described, or otherwise). We’re a quirky, picky bunch. Nothing ordinary or cliché will do; and the ultimate gift – the Apple Watch – won’t be out for at least another month. So I’ve gathered some ideas that have been swirling around the studio:

Creative Cloud Connected Smart Notebook from Moleskine

Show the designer in your life you care by making their workday a bit easier with this cool new journal/sketchbook smart notebook. Using a special Creative Cloud app from the Apple Store*, your love can transfer their sketches and ideas from this notebook straight into Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop for refinement. How does this benefit you? All the time they will save can now be spent with you. Wink wink.

*Sorry Android users, you’ll have to move on down the road. Seriously, how many designers use Android phones anyway?

The Colour of Song Litho Print

Where there is a love for design, a love for music usually isn’t far behind. This litho print combines these two featuring the titles of 576 tracks that include a color in its title like Yellow Submarine, Purple Rain, Back to Black, Brown Sugar, Pennyroyal Tea and (for all children of the 80’s) Pretty in Pink. It’s also the ultimate color guide that will look “spectacular spectacular” on any office wall.

PANTONE UNIVERSE Coffee and Tea Accessories

Speaking of color, PANTONE color guides are as essential to your designer lover as is oxygen. (Ok, so are you.) But hot caffeinated beverages easily take the second slot in their list of life’s necessities. From sets of six cups to coffee pots and teapots to sugar bowls and travel cups – the folks at PANTONE allow you to give the gift of color. Nice.

Eames Arrow Serigraph

With all the love in the air (or potential love), Cupid has a lot to do on Valentines Day. Give the little guy a hand by giving your designer love this serigraph that celebrates the legendary design of Charles and Ray Eames. Not only will you get cool points for knowing who they are (if you don’t – just pretend), seeing this on their wall will be a daily reminder of Cupid’s arrow pointed right at them.

BookBook for MacBook

Show your designer you care about their precious MacBook Air or MacBook Pro as much as they do. You know how important that shiny silver piece of machinery is to them, and you know they like to be stylish and unique. This handmade leather case offers both. Hardback covers, reinforced corners and a cushioned spine give solid impact protection, while it’s vintage book design keeps their Mac out of sight – and out of the hands of thieves – wherever they may take it. Voracious reader thieves? It’s possible.

Geek Love Poem T-shirt

And finally, if a digital or web designer has stolen your heart, this t-shirt may be just what you are looking for. Combining their love of code with poetry is a sure fire way to woo them this Valentines Day. If the second half of this geek prose is confusing to you, don’t worry about it – you’re not supposed to get it.

So love your designer – as difficult as it may be sometimes. We apologize in advance (and always love, love, love you back).

Happy shopping.

Chris Mohler is a Creative Director at Designing North Studios. Away from the studio, she celebrates life’s milestones by illegally drinking champagne on the beach, power shopping, and being a hooper extraordinaire, football lover, wine snob and fearless culinary experimenter. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn.

6 Smart Sites/Apps That Might Make Holiday Shopping More of a Breeze

The holiday shopping season is upon us (yippie! no?), and the team at Designing North Studios has compiled a short but helpful list of sites and apps that have a UX that might just make things easier. From helping you navigate the mall parking lot, to finding the perfect gift, we’ve got you covered.

Fancy offers a beautiful UI, with the killer combo of intuitive search functions, painless checkout, and stellar product photography. Offering very unique merchandise – from clothing and accessories, to things for your furry friends, food, cars, travel and destinations, this site curiously has it all at your fingertips. Fancy also allows you to “chip in” with friends and family on a gift for someone, where everyone pledges an amount. Crowdshopping, I guess.


Another great and well-known one-stop shopping experience is With a rotating, easy to search, more modern catalog of gifts and its super smart checkout experience, you can find something crazy for everyone on your list. The site’s product photos, easy to read product details and reviews remove the guesswork from your gift buying, while free shipping and returns (and white space) make it a great overall shopping experience. Yes, it’s Fab.

Warby Parker

Looking for something for the fashionista on your list? Try Warby Parker eyeware at The clean UI makes browsing glasses and sunglasses frames pretty neat. The experience takes the guesswork out of the equation. By uploading an image of the person you are buying for, you can virtually try a pair of glasses on them using a simple set of tools to reposition, scale, and angle frames and arms until they fit that person’s face! (What? yep.) Once you have the positioning just right, the site remembers the settings, so you can try pair after pair and find the right look. For you’re friend. (long pause) Or For you. (Stop shopping for you!)

Tadd Car Finder

If online shopping isn’t your thing (like, you’re an alien), and you’re hitting the malls instead, this free app for iPhone and Android is hilarious and helpful (both good mall emotions). Tadd Car Finder will actually help you find your car in the parking lot. This handy and easy to use app uses map annotations and notes to help you remember where you parked, and the exact location of your car, in detail. Note to self: How did I ever get home without this app?


Giftster is an app for iPhone and Android and a website that can be thought of as an online gift-registry that is not store-specific. By signing into one group account, you, and those in your group, add things they want along with gift preferences (sizes, interests, etc.). The platform links with sites like Amazon, Target and other stores through your web browser – allowing you to add items to your list with a simple click and drag. It also allows you to mark a gift as reserved or purchased, avoiding duplicate gifts.  Instantly, you have all the information you need at your fingertips to get your holiday shopping crossed out done. Kinda like that old folded up Christmas list you carried as a kid, gave to your mom who then mailed to the North Pole. Kinda.


Need to drop a few (or many) hints about what you really want this holiday season? Check out (also available for iPhone or Android). The straightforward design and UX of the site and the app allow you to shop, collect and share products you are wishing for with friends and family. It’s like Pinterest for wishers vs. pinners. There’s a lot of ‘wishing’ going on here at the studio. Back to work people!

So what kind of shopping experience do you look for during the mad holiday dash? Quick? Kind? Beautiful? Simple? One-click? Mind reading? We’re kinda curious this season. Good luck out there.

Chris Mohler is a Creative Director at Designing North Studios. She loves the holidays, her cats, and has nasty case of insomnia at the moment.

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