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2015 Impact Design Gift Guide

December 23, 2015

Once again we’ve teamed up with our friends at Makeshift to bring you a holiday gift guide for all the impact designers in your life, and maybe a few others who are making a difference …

What do you get for the designer who has everything, or more to the point the designer who wants to do so much? Macy’s or the mega-mall would never carry what makes this kind of person tick. A nice sweater just won’t do. At Makeshift, we constantly dig for stories of hidden creativity – sparks of genius and rocket fuel for change. We’ve put together a few of our favorite things to delight and amaze, all designed to equip the creative impact makers in your life with tools to make the world a better place—even if it’s just one magnetic building block (or snap-together mini-robot) at a time.

01_raspberry_piFor the Maker: Raspberry Pi Zero
The Zero packs enough power to run Minecraft into a 65mmx30mm package for a mere $5. Perfect for everything from controlling a plant-watering system to running a home theater.


For the Little Maker: Cubelets
Cubelets breaks the complex task of building a robot down into simple snap-together components. Making a mini R2D2 is as simple as following one of the enclosed “recipes”. Some assembly inspired.


For the Engineer: “Cool Tools – A Catalog of Possibilities”
A colorful review of tools and products that have stood the test of time, from a folding backwoods Sven-Saw to the world’s best book on basket weaving. Think Consumer Reports meets the Whole Earth Catalog.


For the Architect: Tegu
More than just a building toy, Tegu is an experiment in social entrepreneurship. Those who make it make a living wage and for every tree harvested, a thousand more are planted in its place.


For the Urban Planner: “Cities: Skylines”
With SimCity facing an uncertain future, Finnish studio Colossal Order has taken up the torch with Cities: Skylines. From infrastructure to zoning, players have carte blanche to run the city of their dreams.


For the Industrial Designer: Sketchbook Pro
Sketching out ideas, scrawling notes, giving shape to flights of fancy – Sketchbook Pro makes it almost as easy as pen-and-paper, with the added benefit of 3D perspective and animation.


For the Social Entrepreneur: An Impact Hub Membership
Free a budding social entrepreneur from the drudgery of working out of a Starbucks. Impact Hub is an international network of co-working spaces for social impact “where change goes to work”.


For the Sustainability Maven: Myco Make
Part sculpture, part packing foam, part garden, Myco Make turns fast-growing mushrooms into a moldable, sustainable material to make anything from teddy bears to wedding dresses.


For the Design Educator: “How To Thrive In The Next Economy”
A leader in imagining a more sustainable future through design, John Thackara takes readers through an exploration of what has gone wrong and how it can be put right, and how even small shifts can pave the way to major change.


For the Design Student: IDEO U
Give the gift of learning with a flexible, self-paced course from IDEO U. From storytelling to prototyping, this innovative platform connects students to the best of design thinking, and to each other.


For the Artist: “1,000 Ideas for Creative Reuse”
Going well beyond coffee can planters, this upcycler’s bible is packed with inspiring ideas for transforming discarded objects into jewelry, furniture, clothing and more!



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