99pi Holiday Shopping Guide: 18 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Design Nerd

Happy holidays, beautiful nerds! If you’re still shopping around for something special, you’ve come to the right end-of-year list.  This isn’t your typical design collection — there are some lovely items in the mix, to be sure, but a lot of these were selected for the stories they tell or the small ways they can improve your everyday life.

We’ve covered a number of innovative regional designs on the show, but here are a few of our favorites: the heated Japanese kotatsu table; Finnish dish-drying cabinets; German tilt-and-turn windows; and the Australian Hills Hoist, a rotary clothesline (and national treasure).

The Obsessive Chef cutting board includes a multitude of guidelines for different grid sizes and angles to ensure your cuts are precise, featuring “guides for medium dice, small dice, brunoise, fine brunoise, batonnet, allumette, julienne, and fine julienne.”

Over the years, it seems like Pantone colors and associated graphic designs have become ubiquitous. Naturally, these have also been applied to Pantone Christmas tree ornaments.

Looking for something a bit more outdoorsy? Here’s a light pollution meter that will help you measure your neighborhood, town and nearby wilderness areas for the best skywatching opportunities. For those in the Bay Area: Berkeley and Its Pathways is a nice guide to picturesque public stairways, ramps and footpaths in this walkable California city.

Need some captivating wall art to start conversations? Yes, it’s a map of Napoleon’s march, but wait, there’s more! Here’s a biography of the map’s designer with 60 more illustrations.

Happy with your home but feeling like your best friend needs a better one? It’s a bit higher-end, but if you’ve bought yourself a nice Modernist house, you might consider this angular MDK9 Dog Haus.

Not sure why they labeled it a “gift for men” — really anyone can appreciate the rugged luxury of a brutalist concrete flash drive.

Before we go, here are a few more items to round out our nerdy design collection, including a double-sided Falling Water puzzle (twice the fun)! There’s a moonlighting pun in this moon lamp somewhere, and it’s yours to find. Turn a favorite city map into a sleek metal necklace. Clip Art surveys 26 historical paper clips, because: why not? Create your own music box with the Music Box hole punch. And last but not least: the Wrensilva Sonos Edition Record Console may set you back a bit, but sure is a nice way to listen to the latest episode of 99% Invisible!

  1. Daniel R Przybylski

    I saw a box on a shelf at a local hardware store for a fold out backyard laundry line, and the label said, “Outdoor Clothes Dryer.”

    I kept reading as I expected to see something like, “Sun not included.”

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