With Christmas just four days away, the flurry of gift shopping is well underway. One of the advantages of being a designer or developer, however, is that we can make stuff ourselves: we do it all the time, after all, and we’re usually masters at pretty packaging. If, like me, you prefer to avoid the madness of the malls, why not consider one of these make-yourself Christmas gift ideas this year?
Nearly every bookstore and stationer has dozens of these in stock at this time of the year, and they wouldn’t ordinarily be very exciting gifts- except if you design them yourself. The secret is to stay away from the printed-on-a-crappy-home-inkjet look, and get them bound professionally. Easy options are self-publishing services like Lulu, or using the built-in Calendar function of iPhoto. More serious designers will want to find good InDesign Calendar Templates. For inspiration, check out Dooce’s very popular 2010 Chuck Calendar.
A Website or Logo
Be careful with this one: giving someone a free website or logo for Christmas can be tricky. For websites, you’ll want to specify exactly how much work you’ll be doing- if it’s just design and development, if hosting and maintenance is included- and if so, for how long- etcetera. If you do choose to give one of these, design and print up a nice one or two page “coupon” to be redeemed. And speaking of which…
My husband and I used to give each other coupons all the time when we were dating. They cost almost nothing to design and print, and can definitely be “gifts that keep on giving”. Find ideas for Christmas coupons you can design and give here.
Art: Illustrations or Photographs
Whether you’re particularly handy with Illustrator, or prefer to sketch with a pen and paper, original artwork is always a lovely present. An illustration of your recipient’s beloved pet, for example, is a great idea- or, you’re more of a Photoshop expert, fix up a photo and frame it for them. I once gave some neighbors of me a photo I had taken of their house in an inexpensive frame, and to this day they talk about how much they love it.
These are just some ideas of things you can use your creativity for this Christmas. Hopefully, you can think of others- you’ll be amazed at how much you can do with great design skills and a good printer.
What are you creating for Christmas?