Gifts for creators
Issue 69: A curation of various creative tools (nice)
It’s that sacred time of year when Annual Gift Man comes down from the moon and brings gifts (that’s a Simpsons reference). Whether you celebrate a holiday or it’s merely December, this time of year comes with gifting. I figured it might be good to brainstorm some ideas of items you can encourage creativity for your friends or loved ones…maybe yourself.
I don't have any affiliate links or care to link to them, so know that all these links to everything below are unsponsored and based on my pure love. Let me know what your favorite items are. I’d love to add them to my list!
For the desk and office
Ugmonk Analog starter kit: A very elegant system to keep yourself organized. I rely much on analog work to keep my brain functioning at its best. Though any type of pen and paper works, Ugmonk designs products that are of the utmost quality.
Dot grid index cards by Baron Fig: Doesn't Baron Fig sound like the name of a supervillain?
Taschen book: Every creative needs a cool book for their shelf! These books provide great inspiration when you need a break.
Mechanical keyboard: Not only are mechanical keyboards great for annoying the shit out of your partner, but they also serve a lot of practical uses such as ergonomics.
Wood pen cup by Grovemade: Handy pen holder, or put a plant in it!
Check out the newsletter workspaces.xyz for desk inspiration.
Accessories for iPad owners
Though this is exclusive to iPad owners, it’s worth sharing. The tablet by Apple usually ends up b being a Netflix watching machine for many (nothing wrong with that). Getting the right accessories to set up your iPad can maximize your creative output!
Compass Pro by Twelvesouth: Without a doubt, the Compass Pro is the best iPad accessory I’ve ever owned. It’s super portable, durable, with various working positions with the pencil and external keyboard.
Keys-to-go by Logitech: The Magic Keyboard by Apple is great, but they add a lot of weight to your iPad. These portable keys are really convienent when you want to do longer writing sessions.
R1 aluminum hinge holder foldable stand by Satechi: You can definitely hold more than an iPad on it, but this is one of the most versatile stands I’ve ever owned
Yohann iPad stand: If you have a dedicated desk area for your iPad, this is a must-get.
Dash Sleeve for iPad by Waterfield: Really nice iPad case that encourages to bring little but the essentials
This isn’t a top five of my favorite books of all time but some of the usuals I gift to people.
The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson: One of my favorite reads about innovation.
Loonshots by Safia Bahcall: Recommend reading this is you need to dream big.
The War of Art: Winning the Creative Battle by Stephen Pressfield: A great pick-me-up when you’re feeling the creative drought
The Humane Interface by Jef Raskin: One of the most sacred reads for a designer on how to make computers approachable for humans.
Deep Work by Cal Newport: A book by best-selling author and Georgetown Computer Science professor Cal Newport on focusing and getting things done.
Pens for sketching and writing
The pen is mightier than the sword. For creatives, the pen is the sword. Here are a few of my daily creator tools.
Saraska Series gel pen by Zebra: Since I color code my sketches, I highly recommend blue, red, and black.
Copic Multiliner SP Pen: This is the pen I use in my drawings for this newsletter. The ink dries fast and have great viscosity.
Pentel Fude Touch Brush Sign Pen: The thicker the better when it comes to sketching out ideas. A sign pen prevents you from trying to hash out every tiny detail.
Pilot G2 gel pen: You can basically find these pens at any store. They are really affordable and highly effective!
Kuretake No. 8 Fountain Brush Pen: Great for inking.
Lux pens (AKA fancy pens)
A guilty pleasure of mine is collecting high-quality pens. They are the equivalent of a katana sword for creators and makers.
Ajoto stainless steel natural brushed pen: This one today is my favorite but stays at the desk.
Mark One pen by Studio Neat: I’ve been using this one for daily writing. It feels nice to hold and write and the price point is more forgiving in case I lose it!
CW&T Pen Type-A: An awesome pen and ruler combo
CW&T Pen Type-B: Stainless steel is my favorite and enjoys this one at the desk—very heavy duty. I did an A/B test (get it?) of the two CW&T pens and think Type-B is my favorite
Machine Era stainless steel pen: Love the company’s quote: "If you're going to carry something everyday, it should be well crafted and reliable"
Sweet, real, paper
As much as I love tablets in both iPad and e-ink display form, I continue going back to paper. Even if a tablet feels like paper, it’s not. I’d rather stock up on the equivalent price of a reMarkable tablet than the tablet itself.
LEUCHTTURM1917 - Medium A5 Dotted Soft Cover: This is my tool of choice for the last decade.
Midori MD Cotton Notebook: This is the paper I use for the drawings in my newsletter
Hanji book by CW&T: Very nice paper texture and weight for more long-lasting work (I might use this form factor for a zine)
Baron Fig Mastermind Desk Pad: Though I love books, pads are nice to tear off and put ideas up on the wall. I started using this set and highly recommend it
Tweet of the week
For those who like to goal set and reflect, Joey Banks put together a great template. This is a great time to practice gratitude.
Deep work music
Ishome is the pseudonym of Russian electronic producer Mirabella Karyanova. Here’s a track of her performance at the Eastern Electronics Festival in Berlin.
Virgil Abloh’s Lecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (RIP, Virgil. Thank you for reminding us not to over-think and start making)