How would you go about finding nifty Christmas gifts for male and female friends who happen to be award-winning, fun-loving and discerning graphic designers? Would you head straight to the MoMA Store or Cooper-Hewitt Shop? Would you scour editor picks from Cool Hunting? Or would you offer a lump of coal in the name of hipster irony? But wait, there’s more. The gift has to be useful and not-too-expensive (we’re talkin’ under $20 a pop). While you chew on that, here’s my own brainstorm and its backstory.

Last month, I read a New York Times article about famed designer Milton Glaser. He’s the genius who came up with this iconic Bob Dylan album cover and the “I ♥ NY” logo. Not one to rest on his enviable body of work, the octogenarian is now revisiting product design via collaborations with brands like Alessi.

What captured my immediate attention was the two mugs he created for Barnes & Noble. They were perfect! At $10 apiece, they fell safely into the affordable category. They were unisex. And they would surely prove their utility since there ain’t a designer alive who isn’t addicted to coffee (or green tea).

The “Caffeine Dosage” mug featuring a skull and crossbones on one side.

The other side lists the symptoms of a caffeine overdose.

The “Caffeine Requirements” mug measures the amount of caffeine for various activities.

For example, driving requires 10 ounces. Thinking clocks in at 6 ounces.

Thrilled with this discovery, I immediately headed out to two different B&N stores. My one gripe is that they didn’t come packaged in a box. Can we say “epic fail of merchandising”? Or maybe it was done on purpose, forcing the buyer to figure out how to wrap them in a presentable way. Instead of just cramming each one in a gift bag with lots of tissue paper, I came up with a corny but clever idea.

Crumpled-up, light brown tissue paper represents coffee-with-cream in the mug.

A white bow stuck on top represents whipped cream or frothed milk.

I wish I had taken some photos yesterday as proof, but these mugs were indeed a hit with my designer friends. And I hope as they’re ingesting their drug of choice, they’ll fondly think of me!