The Nice List: a Christmas gift guide curated by It's Nice That
An evolving resource of brilliant things made by creatives, so you can buy original gifts and support the industry while you’re at it.
Christmas shopping this year is, like the rest of 2020, just not the same. Shops are shut, and online shopping can often be devoid of any inspiration. But never fear, the It’s Nice That team is here with a new feature we’re calling The Nice List. Essentially, it’s a place to congregate lots of brilliant things made by designers and artists we love, so you can buy original gifts for the creative in your life, and support the industry while you’re doing so – spreading exponential joy! The items range from beautiful to silly, with resources pooled from across the It’s Nice That network. We’ll be adding to the list as we find more leading up to Christmas, so check back if you run out of present ideas (again).
© Misaki Kawai
© Kaye Blegvad
Based between Berlin and Seoul, Migkai crafts bespoke handmade silver jewellery. Each unique piece is delightfully charming and if you’re after something really special, you can commission a custom piece too.
Not just any kind of bag, these couture silicon bags are a quirky alternative to the ordinary accessory. Hand-crafted by Christin Rothe, Trolli offers up a variety of designs from the colourful and monochrome, to the large and the small.
Product designer Katharina Ruhm has an undeniably compelling aesthetic, injecting her beautifully made products with humour and character at the same time. If you’re after something totally distinct this Christmas, this might be perfect for you.
An illustrator and designer from West Yorkshire and currently based in London, Clare’s shop is brimming with prints, stickers, badges and accessories featuring her colourful designs.
The Paris-based illustrator Lea Maupetit is well known for her vivid illustrations which never fail to brighten up a room. Find out more on her e-shop where she offers Risograph, digital and screenprints, also available at a number of international retailers.
Ceramics, hats, greeting cards and much more, Scottie’s optimistic illustrations celebrate inclusivity, playfulness and tenderness. A gift designed by Scottie is bound to make someone chuckle this Christmas.
© Charlotte Mei
© Kristina Micotti
Kaye Blegvad has a host of products available on her online shop. Jewellery, rugs, blankets, bed spreads, belts, clothes, pins, ceramics and more adorn her signature illustrative style in a range of warm and muted colours.
London-based illustrator and maker Lucy Payne creates handmade, hand-dyed and hand-painted leather goods. Available for commissions, her wonderfully made leather goods are available in keyrings, purses, belts, dog collars and more.
Glasgow-based artist Isobel Neviazsky brings portraits to life with her exquisite practice. Available for commissions, the artist is known for her delightful pet and family portraits which are available in a variety of sizes. She also has a host of zines, prints and paintings available to purchase.
Lydia is a designer and illustrator based in Glasgow, who knits and crochets garments and accessories, and who is also open to bespoke commissions.
Nancy Tulley is a graduate from The Glasgow School of Art and is now a purveyor of gorgeous handmade knitwear and crochet creations.
We’ve always been massive fans of Misaki Kawai’s weird and wonderfully fluffy world, but you can also buy her work and make your own world a bit fluffier. On offer are fashion, stationery, dolls, zines, charms and everything in between.
© Sunboy Toys
These rings – made by artist, sculptor and illustrator Alec Doherty – are his clever and playful take on those 90s mood rings, which had those heat-sensitive “gemstones” that supposedly changed colour depending on your mood.
If you desperately need a glazed earthenware plate shaped like a sleepy slice of bread, there’s only one creative you need to search out: Charlotte Mei. On her site you can find that, plus comics, zines and other ceramic creations.
Illustrator Kristina Micotti offers up a range of colourful goodies, covering everything from pin badges to blankets, from patches to prints – all featuring her immediately recognisable smiley faces.
Set up in 2017 by Katie Lundie and Isobel Neviazsky, Sunboy Toys is a Glasgow-based maker of friendly and colourful toys from almost entirely recycled and repurposed materials.
Since we wrote about her work last year, Genie has built up a following of loyal fans. If you’re one of them, head over to her site for a t-shirt, enamel pin or a print.
© Lydia Morrow
© Risotto Studio
Magculture loves magazines and we love Magculture. Jeremy Leslie always has the greatest selection of periodical favourites and first issue new titles in stock in his Clerkenwell store. Open for click and collect and delivering too, buying from Magculture is a two for the price of one deal when you purchase new independent magazine from one of the best independent shops.
Based close to our office home on Broadway Market, Donlon Books (in real life) is a treasure trove of books for any creative or culture loving individual. Jumping between niche areas of culture through to huge photography tomes (big gift material) and independent magazines, Donlon is a go-to destination. Thankfully, lots of their titles, including some very rare editions, are also available online. We’ve got our eye on A Messy History of Women in Printing and Typography.
In this house, Clay Hickson is King. Besides running his own creative practice and newspaper The Smudge with Liana Jegers, Clay also runs Caboose, a printing press that will also point you in the direction of another bunch of illustrators to admire. Gift wise, a Caboose 2021 calendar is certainly the way to see the year in correctly.
Another brilliant bookstore, if you’re stateside Mast Books is a must (virtual) visit. From fiction to memoirs, the best mags and collector’s finds too, Mast even has a gift certificate you can buy for the picky pal of yours.
For the graphic design lover in your life, a copy of Actual Source’s Shoplifters will surely always bring joy, especially at the holidays. Besides running their own studio, the Utah-based designers have plenty of options to peruse in their shop. Look at these socks!
A fave publisher of ours (with arguably the best name about) Bronze Age is the perfect place to pick up a publication this year, from its zines to prints, t-shirts and caps too.
4 Brown Girls Who Write, from Rough Trade Books
Sophy Hollington: My Mind Hides a Friendly Crater, from Caboose Books
From dream duo Nina Hervé and Craig Oldham, Rough Trade Books have continuously put out a number of our favourite short releases since launching. With pamphlets written by a range of musicians, artists and writers, there’s a huge range to pick up (and sets or lucky dips too), but you can’t go wrong with the beloved Sophy Hollington and David Keenan sticker pack.
For those in the UK (or locally if you’re up North) Rare Mags is a favourite pit stop of ours if ever in Stockport. Delivering throughout the UK, here you can pick up the newest issues of your favourite magazines, stationary, cook books and subscriptions too.
Volunteer-run Good Press in Glasgow is an independent shop selling zines and publications from a number of artists we love. At the moment you can also add a series of specially made bookmarks to your order too.
Based in Glasgow, O Panda Gordo is a small press dedicated to all things contemporary comics and drawing, run by João Sobral. Working with artists across the globe, O Panda Gordo publishes books and zines featuring comics and drawings, and also stocks a selection of titles published by other artists and independent publishers.
Round Table Books is a bookshop created by Knights Of, a children’s fiction publisher striving to create diverse books for all kinds of kids. It stocks inclusive stories for all readers, from under fours through to adults.
© Sulo Puzzles
Founded in 2012 by Gabriella Marcella, Risotto is one of Scotland’s best-known Risograph printers and stationery companies. Best-known for its vibrant calendars and graphic t-shirts, the studio has recently launched a series of characteristically-colourful collaborations.
Wrap Magazine shares the “very best in contemporary creativity” and its shop is no different, stocking stationery, cards, homeware and more from some of its favourite artists.
Momoko Mizutani is the founder of Momosan Shop, a place she opened with the aim of showcasing and selling homewares and objects made by skilled independent craftspeople – mimicking the pottery shops of her native Japan. Momosan sells everything from clothing to homeware and books.
DIY Art Shop is nestled on Shacklewell Lane in east London and sells everything from plant pots to scarves and prints, all made by independent creators. You’ll find cute, bright and often funny items.
Pépite is a curated collection of contemporary art and design objects by emerging artists, hand-picked by founder Irina Rybakov. The shop sells one-of-a-kind and limited edition works, predominantly ceramics, but also sculpture, glass pieces, illustration, jewellery and accessories.
© Color Gem crayons
© Clare Lewis
Based in London, Ambar Homeware is a creative studio, shop and also a textile development hub, founded by Natalia Nicolau. It works on surface design, print and custom-made knit projects for both fashion and interior design, including a new range designed by illustration duo Craig & Karl.
The New Craftsmen is a shop with a mission to share the work of makers from across the British Isles. You can find everything from furniture to sculpture, prints and lighting from an incredible range of artists and designers.
Sulo Puzzle was created by Jean-Baptiste Viot, looking to fill a gap in the market for design-led jigsaw puzzles made in France. Sulo’s range features delectable artworks by illustrators Simon Landrein, Albert Tercero, Louis Otis, Ana Popescu and Camille Deschiens.
Sunspel has collaborated with David Shrigley for a winter capsule collection including jumpers, socks, t-shirts and boxers, adorned with unmistakably Shrigley artwork. 10 per cent of profits go to environmental preservation charity Stump Up For Trees.
This is Studio Ghibli’s online merch store, a potentially dangerous visit for the bank accounts of anyone who loves Ghibli films or general kitsch overload. May I point you in the direction of the No Face piggy bank? Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
© TSB Christin
© Ambar Living
Aries has collaborated with Jeremy Deller on a collection of plates and mugs decorated by the renowned artist. The graphics are inspired by Stonehenge and Neolithic sites surrounding Wiltshire, some more directly (the stone arch with a smiley face in between) and others more subtly…
Yet another great place to find puzzles you actually want to look at when they’re done! Whiled’s collection features artworks by Ana Leovy, Lan Truong, Tess Smith and B.D. Graft.
A definite highlight of this list: crayons that look like rocks! The Colourgems by Studio Unto come as a cube and are shaped into more organic forms by drawing with them “in a process similar to rock erosion”. WANT.
Jungalow started as Justina Blakeney's design blog and blossomed into a hugely popular lifestyle brand and store selling “jungalicious” design goods. Ideal for bringing colour and pattern into your home.
Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival have released a series of prints from their archive, including works by David Shrigley, Martin Sharp, and Adam Sage with Johnson Banks, plus a new one by Morag Myerscough. All are available from the online store of local screenprint studio, The Private Press.
Pattern queens Patternity have just launched their new print shop, with four collections to explore and a range of artworks to suit any interior – from bold geometric, monochromatic designs to more delicate beauty found in nature.
© Scotty Gillespie
© Holly St Clair for Wrap
More gift lists!
Our sister company Lecture in Progress has joined up with Sad Grads to create a spreadsheet of creative gifts made by emerging makers.
Products shown are by (clockwise from top left): @tsb_christin, Actual Source, Rough Trade Books, @bad_buzz at DIY Art Shop, @faye_roc, Eleonor Bostrom at DIY Art Shop, Clare Lewis, Misaki Kawai, @babakganjei at DIY Art Shop, @migkai and Lydia Morrow.