'Tis the season to start thinking about how you're going to wrap up all of your thoughtful presents. Need we remind you that, especially for the humblest of gifts, it's all in the presentation? As design enthusiasts, we enjoy finding great wrapping paper that really stands out for its graphic motif or method of construction.
Feeling guilty isn't very festive and neither is wrapping your gifts in recycled brown paper bags. We've found three sites that offer eco-friendly wrapping paper and prove that environmentally-driven products don't have to be plain and simple. We particularly like the jolly prints from New York City-based Seltzer Goods (above left), with their bright graphics, like this camel-inspired design printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. They even use veggie ink, making it all the more green.
For patterns that really shine, look to Fish Lips (above center), who spread holiday cheer on recycled satin paper using soy-based inks. Their aim is to bridge the gap between contemporary prints, like this one with antlers and fire hydrants, and eco-conscious products.
Another source for responsible wrapping paper is
To get a little more bang for your buck, opt for a giftwrap set instead of individual sheets or a roll of all the same subject, which will provide variety and little more room in your wallet.
Our perennial favorites are patterns from our artist-designed gift wrap by emerging artists Seth Brau and Derek Aylward. Brau's black-on-white patterns adds pop psychedelia and Aylward's biting wit brings levity to gift-giving. Each of the limited-edition sets includes two sheets of each design for a mere $10 and you can only get them here. (Click above images for pop-up detail.)
If you're wrapping gifts for the art and design lover in your life, try Berlin-based S-Wert Design wrapping paper, a series of four designs, each one devoted to a different decade of Berlin's architecture from the fifties through the eighties, calling attention to gems of Berlin architecture and the way it's evolved—or hasn't evolved—in recent decades (above left). The four-pack can be purchased through the Cool Hunting 2008 Gift Guide.
For fun, pixelated patterns, try the Atari-like graphics from Eboy (above right), whose complex illustrations and unique style has gained them a cult following among graphic designers worldwide. The set includes eight sheets, two of each vivid pattern. It shouldn't be hard to find a bow to match these.