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Culture + Gift Guide

2019 Holiday Gift Guide For Web & Design Geeks

By:

Jason Clark
Jason Clark

on 11/27/2019

It's time again for our annual Holiday Gift Guide! For 9 years now, all of the savvy folks at VIA Studio have hand-crafted this list of totally awesome gifts. So, strap in because we are taking you on a journey to be awarded as the best gift-giver possibly ever.

​DESIGN NERD GIFTS

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Paper Girls

80's nostalgia, time travel, monsters, this amazing graphic novel series has it all. Volumes 1 - 6 available now. - Mark Biek

Buy

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Understanding Comics

If you are looking for something user-experience adjacent (and who isn't?!) this is the first of two books I'd recommend (see "Entertainment Nerd" for the second!). Scott McCloud's seminal Understanding Comics is a surprisingly entertaining deep dive in the theory, practice and impact of the graphic novel medium. It'll have you reconsidering everything you thought you knew about "comics". - Ben Wilson

Buy

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The Mug from East Fork Pottery

I have a collection of about 50+ mugs at my house, but I always reach for this one. - Katie Hisle

Buy

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Legalize Humanity 18x24 Serigraph Print

Legalize Humanity. Now more relevant than ever.
Designed by the amazing people of Old Pal Provisions, all profits from the sale of these prints goes directly to Border Network for Human Rights, a charitable organization creating positive change in the world. - Mitch Wiesen

Buy

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Giant MS Paint Enamel Pin

Everyone's favorite retro user interface is now a large enamel pin! Its oversize dimensions make this the perfect vaporwave aesthetic statement piece for a backpack, tote or jacket. - Mitch Wiesen

Buy

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A Field Guide to American Houses

For the architecture enthusiast, or anyone who likes wandering around neighborhoods looking at houses and making fun of them or wishing they could live there or wondering why they went with those shudders they don’t really fit the style and is that a tower on top or a dovecote, etc. - Alec Robertson

Buy

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May Your Futura Be Bold T-shirt

A cheeky tee for the design lover on your list. Designed by Happy Cry Presents. - Mitch Wiesen

Buy


GADGET NERD GIFTS

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PhoneSoap 3 UV Smartphone Sanitizer

Phones can get pretty gross but we use them everywhere - at the dinner table, during a workout, probably on the toilet. With the PhoneSoap Sanitizer, you can kill 99.99% of all bacteria and germs that live on your phone. I have one on my nightstand and throw my phone in when I get home. - Nick Stewart

Buy

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Garage Parking Helpers

These are items that you wish you had after the fact (tech is all about redundancy right?) and are pretty cheap in the long run - parking targets and wall guards. - Nick Stewart

Buy

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OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer

This tool splits, pits and slices avocados. Has a stainless steel pitter that removes pits with one quick twist. Has a slicer that lifts fruit from skin in seven perfect pieces. A soft, comfortable non slip grip ensures you'll enjoy using it and it is top rack dishwasher safe. - Nick Wunderlin

Buy

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The Best Lockpicking Set for Kids

My daughter told me that she wanted "a lockpicking set just like the one that Louise Belcher from Bob's Burgers has", so here you go. A lock pick set and book for kids. It's a FUN HOBBY (that might be illegal in your state). - Ben Wilson

Buy

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Orion FunScope 76mm TableTop Reflector Telescope

This little powerhouse is perfect for backyard viewing, and is small enough to be portable. You can see the moons of Jupiter just like 'ol Galileo! - Ben Wilson

Buy

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Behringer TD-3 Synthesizer

Behringer has a reputation of rebuilding classic analog synthesizers. This is a clone of the acid bass Roland TB-303. I own a real 303, but golly I can't get enough of this sound. - Jason Clark

Buy

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Skektek the Scientist

It's no secret that I'm a Jim Henson fanatic. The reboot of The Dark Crystal on Netflix is a phenomenal achievement. I'm excited about the new possibilities and would be happy to have a few Skeksis and Urrus surrounded me. - Jason Clark

Buy

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Brookstone Electric Wine Bottle Opener

My most prized possession and the perfect gift for all the wino stepmom's out there! - Ashley Trommler

Buy

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Dash Waffle Bowl Maker

Need I say more? - Ashley Trommler

Buy

BEAUTY NERD GIFTS

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The Daily Set from The Ordinary

This is the best skincare set for people who have no idea how to take care of their skin. Like me. - Katie Read

Buy

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Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz Swingman Jersey

The jersey of one of Louisville's favorite adopted sons. Based on the road uniform worn during Utah's back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in the late 90s, this throwback jersey is a classic. A great jersey to make a statement as streetwear or guaranteed to get you tons of high fives at the Yum! Center if worn to a UofL basketball game. - Nick Wunderlin

Buy

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"Stranger Things" Season 3 Cycling Cap

Step into the upside-down world of period-accurate bike nerd-dom with this period-accurate reproduction cycling cap made famous by Lucas in Stranger Things Season 3. - Ben Wilson

Buy

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The Makeup Set from Glossier

This set is perfect for days where you want to look pulled together without putting a full face of makeup on. - Katie Hisle

Buy

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Harry Potter House Scarves

Stay warm and represent your favorite house with these fashionable Harry Potter house scarves. Whether you're a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff, we've got you covered! - Lance Humbert

Buy

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Rainbow Colorblocked Everyday Jumpsuit

One Jumpsuit to rule them all! The perfect statement piece. Vintage workwear inspired. Manufactured ethically and locally in LA by Big Bud Press. Size inclusive. & unisex. What more could you want in a jumpsuit? - Mitch Wiesen

Buy

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Pressed Blooms Jewelry

Gift a beautiful flower pressed necklace for your hunniebun or bestie. Handmade by Louisville local artist, Melody Partain, each piece is stunningly unique and sure to turn heads. - Ashley Trommler

Buy

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Nike Vaporfly 4%

Proven to actually save runners an average of 4 percent energy. To put in perspective, 4-hour marathoner who saves 4 percent energy will run 4 percent faster (9 minutes and 36 seconds, or a 3:50:24 marathon) … Which is significant. And pretty cool. Want. Need. K, thanks. - Morgan Plappert

Buy

INTERIOR DESIGN NERD

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Terrazzo Droplet Vase from the Now House Collection by Jonathan Adler

This vase is flawless, as is everything in this collection. Buy everything from this collection to show the home decor fiends in your life how much you love them... and what great taste you have. - Katie Read

Buy

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SKY - LED Torchiere Super Bright Floor Lamp by Brightech

Ok, I know it's weird to give someone a floor lamp for the holidays, so maybe this is just something to put on your own want list. This is the best floor lamp I've ever owned. It's sleek and so, so, so bright. It has three settings and the switch is a touch sensor. It comes in a handful of different finishes, so naturally I have a gold one for the living room and a white one for my bedroom. Highly recommend. 10/10. - Katie Read

Buy

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Confetti Puppy Vase

The infamous puppy vase by the great Katie Kimmel! Get one for every dog lover on your gift list, one in every color! - Mitch Wiesen

Buy

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Drippy Pot

Theres no better gift for the plant lover in your life than a drippy pot from Philly-based ceramicist Brian Giniewski. - Mitch Wiesen

Buy

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Doctor Who TARDIS Trash Can

For the Whovian in your life who might also be a compulsive cleaner, there's the TARDIS trash can. Imagine last night's carryout containers going on a journey through time and relative distance in space....all without leaving the kitchen! Disclaimer: the trash can is not larger on the inside than it is on the outside. - Danny Cash

Buy

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Birthdate Candles

If you want a gift with a personal touch but would rather let the stars do the hard work for you, consider a handcrafted birthdate candle, designed by destiny, or something. - Alec Robertson

Buy

PRODUCTIVITY NERD GIFTS

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USA Wrestling

Shameless plug here, support USA Wrestling! Women's wrestling is one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation, with the NCAA recognizing it as an emerging sport and states sanctioning it as its own sport (apart from men's wrestling). Wrestling as a whole is growing while other sports are declining, so get out there and support it with a gift. - Nick Stewart

Buy

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Stance Socks

Socks are typically considered a "boring" gift, but not Stance socks! These socks are comfortable and stylish. They are offered in a ton of different designs including Star Wars, Marvel, and sports teams. They also offer dress, casual and athletic socks. - Nick Wunderlin

Buy


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Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music

Like most people in 2019, I get most of my recipes from the internet. But this book goes deeper than just recipes. This book dives into the strategy of cooking: the best ways to grocery shop, how to organize your kitchen, etc. This book would make a great gift for someone who enjoys cooking and is wanting to learn more. - Katie Hisle

Buy

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Bonavita Electric Kettle

This sleek kettle allows you to set the ideal temperature for your beverage whether you're preparing pour-over coffee or steeping your favorite tea. Plus, it looks great on the kitchen counter. - Alexandra Ponce

Buy


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Stasher Bag Bundle

Ditch the Ziploc's and invest in a set of Stasher bags. They're reusable, non-toxic, and dishwasher safe! Perfect for storing Christmas dinner leftovers. - Alexandra Ponce

Buy

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AirBnB Giftcard

I normally try to avoid purchasing giftcards, but I'll be damned if my face doesn't light up when I receive one for AirBnb. Gift that globe trottin' friend or family member an experience they won't forget! - Ashley Trommler

Buy

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Baby mop - The onesie that cleans your floors

Well this is fantastic. Watch the kiddo crawl around, and clean my floors all in one convenient and oh so genius package. Yes, please. - Morgan Plappert

Buy

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Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit

I love hot stuff and I like making things. I’m assuming I would love to making hot things. The kit also comes with blank labels, which could turn into a fun little design side-project. - Morgan Plappert

Buy

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Indian Instant Pot Cookbook

Give this to your friend/loved one who already got an Instant Pot last year and then hope for a dinner invite. - Alec Robertson

Buy

ENTERTAINMENT NERD GIFTS

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Spikeball

"Some say that if volleyball and foursquare had a baby it’d be named Spikeball. We like to say we’re building the next great American sport." Spikeball is basically volleyball where you hitting a ball off of a net in the middle of the players, so it's great at the beach, outdoors, etc.. It's not hard to play and will get you out of your seat and away from the computer during lunch - Nick Stewart

Buy

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Civilization Board Game

Are you tired of boring games like Monopoly? Do you love Settlers of Catan? Do you have 3 hours free? Then you need to play the Civilization Board Game, adapted from the classic Sid Meier video game series! - Mark Biek

Buy

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Nintendo Switch

For endless Nintendo fun at home or on the go! Play classics like Minecraft and Super Smash Bros or check out the breathtaking Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. - Mark Biek

Buy

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Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio

The LA Times called this "A boundary-pushing comic, a love letter from one blossoming new media to another." - and similar to Understanding Comics above, Jessica Abel's Out on the Wire takes you on an eye-opening deep dive into how audio production works and why it is so impactful. - Ben Wilson

Buy


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Movies (And Other Things) by Shea Serrano

If you're someone who can't talk enough about their favorite movies, this book is perfect for you. Shea Serrano, already a New York Times bestselling author, is back again, prompting interesting, humorous questions about some of the best cinema out there. - Lance Humbert

Buy

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Star Trek Phaser Universal Remote Control

Make simply watching TV feel like your very own away mission with this Star Trek: The Original Series phaser replica remote control. Just maybe avoid wearing a red shirt when using it. - Lance Humbert

Buy

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Forbidden Fruit Puzzle

The perfect gift for grandma. Or yourself... - Alexandra Ponce

Buy

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Lego NASA Apollo Saturn V

Relive a time in America's history when our eyes were on the stars with the Apollo Saturn V kit from Lego. Every detail is taken into account: from the command module to the splashdown pod to the camera Stanley Kubrick used to fake the whole thing. - Danny Cash

Buy

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The Evil One by Roky Erickson & The Aliens

Give the gift of lesser-known rock-n-roll history with Roky Erickson's "The Evil One" on vinyl. It's a collection of songs about aliens, demons, vampires and even alligators, all written by a once-institutionalized early pioneer of psychedelic music. You'll recognize songs that have been covered by the Foo Fighters, Ghost, R.E.M., ZZ Top and many more. - Danny Cash

Buy

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K-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher

Collected writings from the late critic/blogger/theorist reflecting on everything from Star Wars movies, Drake lyrics, punk music, Atwood novels, Derrida concepts and how they all relate to our increasingly doomed political situation. An inspiration but also a real bummer. Here's to 2020! - Alec Robertson

Buy

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The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

"Incredibly nourishing." — Björk
Still waiting on someone to buy this for me, so I haven’t actually read it, but it covers the evolution of music throughout the 20th century and looks really fun and interesting. And Björk liked it! (Please buy me a copy at least) - Alec Robertson

Buy


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