12 Gifts For Design-Snob Dads

Father’s Day presents that won’t go in the garbage


I’ll bet your dad would love a tie or a BEST DAD coffee mug again. Or follow our advice. Here are a dozen ideas for a variety of design-minded dad-types.


Stuck-in-a-gin-and-tonic-rut dad

A set of mixology dice includes wooden dice that blends eight possible ingredient types (spirit, sugar, liqueur, citrus, fruit, herb, spice, and bitters) in 1.5 million cocktail combinations. Father’s Day is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Gracefully aging dad

We recommend Sabi Space’s line of elegantly designed bathroom storage solutions. The collection includes towel racks, toilet paper rolls, hooks, and mirrors in neutral colors with vibrant accents–and requires no tools to install. It has a minimalist Baby Boomer spin so it doesn’t scream old man.

Gadget geek dad

Nothing kills the buzz for a geeky guy like a mess of heavy, tangled cords. For Dad’s laptop, buy the Dart, a charger designed by MIT-spinout FINSix that is smaller and lighter than anything else on the market. The color options are a bonus. (Caveat: Chargers for Apple computers are double.)


Caffeine-junkie bike-commuting dad

If your dad is in this diehard caffeine-crazy overlap, buy him this clip-on coffee holder, designed to withstand bumps on the roughest of roads. Bookman, the Swedish design firm behind the product, is also known for its clip-on bike lights.

Sports-nut (married) dad

Men get stuck with boring wedding rings while women get the diamonds. Worse, they have to fit that ring over their man-knuckles. Traditional rings are an awkward fit for men with large knuckles, says Jeff McWhinney, a California-based machinist and designer. McWhinney turned his attention from bicycles and skateboards in order to give men a ring with an open-close clasp locking mechanism (so dads can take it off when, you know, rappelling down a cliff) and a ruggedly modern style. It’s a bling-ring with a function.

Lazy-morning dad

Is your mom sick of dragging your dad out of bed in the morning? She might appreciate the Withings Aura, which optimizes sleep using a system that combines data from a fabric-covered sensor with a bedside lamp that glows red or blue, depending on the time. This is probably the only bedroom accessory you will ever consider buying the ‘rents.


Audiophile dad

Does he like to work “in the zone?” If so, he’ll swoon over these retro headphones, which let users seamlessly switch between personal playlist and conference call. It won’t, however, keep him from singing along.

Dog-loving dad

Try one of these doggie daybeds by Rosi & Rufus, a serious upgrade from the standard crate or floor pillow.

Techo-gaming dad

If he’s got an iPad and you’ve got a younger sibling, chances are their curiosity might overlap in Osmo, an interactive toy that uses “reflective AI” to let you play simple games with words and shapes in a reality somewhere between your table and your iPad. The best part: Osmo’s three apps and corresponding accessories transform “screen time,” with all its negative connotations, into a social experience with cross-generational appeal.


Toolkit dad

If Dad loved breaking out the toolkit to design pinewood derby cars when you were younger, he will surely appreciate these cool 3-D printed miniatures of Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s famous “Strandbeest” sculptures. A marvel of design, they emerge fully formed from the printer, and move seemingly of their volition.

Traveling dad

Does your dad always get stuck with cancelled flights and inconvenient transfers when he’s on the road? This Colfax’s smart backpack will alleviate the pain of weak Wi-Fi and drained batteries. A power source within the sleekly designed backpack routes energy to the devices that need it most.

Patriotic grilling-fanatic dad

Hit two of his favorite holidays with one gift. This witty Star Spangled Spatula, designed and manufactured in the USA, is made of stainless steel and American walnut. It’ll make flipping burgers for the family an even more patriotic pursuit. “Grill-master” title is not included. (He has to earn that.)

About the author

Senior Writer Ainsley Harris joined Fast Company in 2014. Follow her on Twitter at @ainsleyoc.