Black Friday 2019: Support Indie Makers

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Rachel Andrew is a web developer, writer and speaker. She is the author of a number of books, including The New CSS Layout. She is one of the people behind the … More about Rachel ↬

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Rather than do a round-up of the best deals available this Black Friday, we decided to do a round-up of the best independent products and makers. If you have money to spend, why not send some of this to folk creating great stuff in our community.

Every time I have checked my email over the last two weeks, it has been full of Black Friday deals. We will get a short respite before the New Year offers start to roll in. I like a bargain as much as anyone, however, I think that plenty of sites will be covering the best offers on electronics and tech.

I thought we would do something different this year at Smashing. I’ve launched a number of independent products over the years — downloadable software, software as a service, self-published books, and a course. I know how difficult it can be to get the word out about your products when self-funding, so I thought we could give a boost to all the indie makers out there and feature some of their products.

We asked the Smashing community for their suggestions, and so here is a list covering pretty much every kind of product you can imagine. I hope you can find something you need in these, and help support these hard-working folks.

Search by category:

  1. Books
  2. Gifts, Artwork, And Posters
  3. Printed Magazines
  4. Courses And Training
  5. Software And Tools
  6. Other


A collection of independently published books, and small publishers, with a shoutout to a very special project.

Oddly Amazing Animals

Oddly Amazing AnimalsA book project started by the talented Cindy Li, who was a friend to many of us in the web community. After Cindy passed away, her friends got together to finish the book, and all proceeds will go to Cindy’s two young sons.

The Power Of Digital Policy

The Power Of Digital PolicyYou don’t need an army of consultants to help you protect your organization from brand degradation and reputational threats. This practical guide by Kristina Podnar will guide you in minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities.

The Game Engine Black Book

The Game Engine Black BookThis book details techniques such as raycasting, compiled scalers, deferred rendition, VGA Mode-Y, linear feedback shift register, fixed point arithmetic, and many others tricks. Fabien Sanglar also went into much detail to describe the hardware of 1991, and has released the source code under GPL license.

404 Ink

404 InkFounded by two publishing freelancers, Heather McDaid and Laura Jones, this publisher has one goal: supporting careers of new and emerging writers — and making as much noise as possible about each.

A Book Apart

A Book ApartBooks available in two formats (Standards and Briefs) on topics ranging from technical to theory: responsive web design, Git, and JavaScript to content strategy, design principles, management, and more. For people who design, write, and code.

Smashing Books

Smashing BooksOur very own Smashing books aim to deliver in-depth knowledge and expertise shared by experts and practitioners from the industry. Our most recent one, Inclusive Components, explores bulletproof solutions for building accessible interfaces.

Gifts, Artwork, And Posters

If you are finding gifts for friends and family for the holidays, why not support these independent makers.


DoodleCatsTopple the cat approves of this website of cat-themed products! Created by artist Beth Wilson, you’ll find a wide range of cute cat-themed greetings cards, gifts and accessories.

Seb Lester

Seb LesterMost of us have already heard of Seb Lester, but you’ll be thrilled to know that his beautiful hand-lettered work is also available to call your own.

Jessica Hische

Jessica HischeJessica is a lettering artist who has been creating custom lettering artwork for established brands, classic books and postage stamps for over the past ten years. You’ll find a wonderful collection of prints, cards and pins on her site.

Draplin Design Co. Merch

Draplin Design Co. MerchAaron James Draplin is the founder of the Draplin Design Co., based in Portland, Oregon. You’ll find a range of fun items on his site.


HeyShopThe graphic design and illustration studio Hey launched an online shop back in 2014. Since then, they’ve been sharing their personal creations with the public.

Print Workers Barcelona

Print Workers BarcelonaA nice and lovely graphic shop that focuses on handmade, limited, signed, numbered and self-published production. Artists who mainly use screen printing without forgetting other techniques such as risograph printing or letterpress. Graphic work of more than 100 international and local artists. All at affordable and real prices.

The Oh No Shop

The Oh No ShopBrought to life by Alex Norris, we’re sure that you’ll be all smiles when you check out his prints, pins and more.


LevensIf you’re a fan of jewels, check out these beautifully handmade ones done in ceramic, silver and gold. Designed by Mar del Hoyo from Barcelona, Spain.

Cristina Junquero

Cristina JunqueroInspired by Andalusian religious imaginary and classical jewellery, the work of Cristina Junquero revisits tradition to bring something new. Her studio is set in Barcelona.

Casa Atlántica

Casa AtlánticaSince 2014, Casa Atlântica works to give value to trades that are gradually being lost: their objects are born in villages of Galicia and Portugal from the hands of artisans who, with materials such as ceramics, wicker or wood, give life to their designs.

Après Ski

Après SkiEstablished in 2009, this accessories and objects studio creates designs that are inspired from the observation of different cultures and traditions — seeking people and places authenticity through books and travels.


PimoroniFounded in 2012 by Jon Williamson and Paul Beech, Pimoroni makes tech treasure for tinkerers.


Varianto:25A small startup based in Bulgaria that create fun and innovative products for developers worldwide.


YsoldaAn online store for knitters, based in Edinburgh.

Printed Magazines

As I know from launching our own print magazine here at Smashing Magazine this year, creating a print magazine requires a huge amount of work. Here are some of your favorites.

Offscreen Magazine

Offscreen MagazineOffscreen is an independent print magazine that examines how we shape technology and how technology shapes us. Offscreen Magazine is a favorite of many Smashing readers. Also check out the Dense Discovery email newsletter (I always find something new there).

Bubblesort Zines

Bubblesort ZinesZines about computer science, for ages 8-100! Each zine focuses on one concept and is filled with comics, diagrams, stories, examples, and exercises.


WizardZinesZines by Julia Evans that are aimed at working programmers who want to know how to use grep / tcpdump / strace in a fun way. (A lot of them are focused on systems/Linux concepts.)

Like The Wind

Like The WindThis running magazine is a favorite of mine. Beautifully printed, with inspiring stories from the world of runners and running.

Courses And Training

3D Fundamentals

3D Fundamentals3D is a creative playground for designers, yet still uncharted territory for most of us. 3D Fundamentals teaches you shape, form, lighting, color, and animation in a beginner-friendly course.

Every Layout

Every LayoutIf you find yourself wrestling with CSS layout, Every Layout is for you. Through a series of simple, composable layouts, you will learn how to better harness the built-in algorithms that power browsers and CSS.

Terminal Training

Terminal TrainingWorking with Terminal can be daunting. This video course wants to cure you from any fear of the terminal. For designers, new developers, UX, UI, product owners, and anyone who’s been asked to “just open the terminal”.

Universal JavaScript with Next.js

Universal JavaScript with Next.jsIf you’re tired of configuration, build tools, spagetti code and want to focus on building amazing web apps with the latest features, this complete video course will get you fit for building web apps with Next.js for React.

The CSS Workshop

The CSS WorkshopLearn CSS layout through a series of video tutorials. Straightforward and practical examples help you banish layout confusion for good.

Software And Tools

A whole selection of interesting products and tools. Many of these have free plans. If you love one of these products, however, do consider signing up for the paid version if you can. Bootstrapped products need sales, or they go away!

Better Blocker

Better BlockerA privacy tool for Safari on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Launched by Aral Balkan and Laura Kalbag, the aim is to protect users from behavioural ads and companies that track and profile folks on the web.


PolypaneBuilt for designers and developers, the browser Polypane lets you create sites and apps that work for everyone. Features include multiple synced viewports for responsive design, visual impairment simulators, built-in accessibility testing tools, live refreshing, layout debugging and screenshotting.

Common Ninja

Common NinjaThe Common Ninja team creates plugins with the purpose to help web designers, developers, and site owners to upgrade and color their website with zero effort, time, and knowledge.


HelperbirdThe browser extension wants to bring the benefits of accessbility and customization to everyone, with features such as dyslexia fonts, changing the font and background color, text to speech, overlays, dyslexia rulers and more to make the web accessible to your needs.

Lunch Money

Lunch MoneyNo matter where you are in the world, Lunch Money keeps track of every dollar, euro, and yen spent. At the end of the day, they add it all up in your currency of choice so that you stay on top of your spendings without doing the maths.


TimematorTimemator automatically captures everything you do on your Mac. You define the rules, and once you open your working file or application, Timemator will start the timer for you automatically.


ExistBy combining data from services you already use, Exist can help you understand what makes you more happy, productive, and active. Bring your activity from your phone or fitness tracker and add other services like your calendar for greater context on what you’re up to.


ProxymanProxyman is a native, high-performance macOS application, which enables developers to observe and manipulate HTTP/HTTPS requests. Intuitive and friendly.

Standard Notes

Standard NotesSometimes all you need is a reliable and fuss-free tool to jot down your thoughts and ideas. Standard Notes is just that, a free, open-source, and completely encrypted notes app.

Leave Me Alone

Leave Me AloneUnsubscribing from the emails you don’t want to receive any longer can be time-consuming. Leave Me Alone shows you all of your subscription emails in one place so that you can unsubscribe from them with a single click.


ReadermodeYou’re getting distracted easily when you read? Reader Mode instantly removes clutter, ads, and distractions from any article. Dyslexia support is built in, too.


FathomStop scrolling through pages of reports and collecting gobs of personal data about your visitors, both of which you probably don’t need. Fathom is a simple and private website analytics platform that lets you focus on what’s important: your business.


ButtondownButtondown is a small elegant tool for producing newsletters. The minimalist interface makes it easy to write great emails; the automation acts like the editorial assistant you wish you had; and the portable subscription widget helps grow your audience from anywhere.

Carrd.coNo matter if it’s a personal profile, a landing page to capture emails, or something a bit more elaborate, Carrd lets you create simple and responsive one-page sites for pretty much anything.


PlacidFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest — all of them have different requirements when it comes to social share images. To save you time, Placid creates your social share images automatically. You define a template once, the tool does the rest.


CalibreCalibre helps you monitor and audit web performance and make meaningful improvements where it matters. You can simulate real-world conditions to understand what your audience is experiencing, see the impact of third-party code, receive monthly reports on crucial metrics without having to spend hours on distilling performance data, and much more.


TransistorHave you ever considered starting your own podcast? Transistor helps you with the rather boring part, storing your MP3 files, generating your RSS feed, hosting your podcast’s website, and distributing your show to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.


KirbyKirby is a file-based CMS for building your own ideal interface. Combine forms, galleries, articles, spreadsheets and more into an amazing editing experience.


PerchThe Really Little CMS. Used by thousands of happy customers around the world, Perch does not dictate your front-end code but lets you bring your own code to your project.


StatamicStatamic cuts out the database and creates a faster, more productive way for you to build, manage, and version control beautifully creative, bespoke websites.

Other Things

A bunch of things that didn’t really fit into any other category.

rooki.designAn online magazine for design students and free design awards, Rookie was born out of the frustration in finding good, free resources for design students. Now, you can find everything you need in one single place.

Femtech Insider

Femtech InsiderStay up-to-date and read about the latest industry trends, while you learn more about founders, companies, organizations and investors at the intersection of tech and women’s health.

Rapscallion Soda

Rapscallion Soda“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavours & furniture polish is made with real lemons.” The handmade, bootstrapped soda company from Glasgow wants to change that.

Tech ladies

Tech ladiesTech Ladies connects you with the best jobs and opportunities in tech. Join the community or post to their job board if you are looking for employees.

Front-End Challenges Club

Front-End Challenges ClubDo you want to put your front-end skills to the test? The Front-End Challenges Club gives you a new fun challenge to master every two weeks.

Diversify Tech

Diversify TechDiversify Tech connects underrepresented people in tech. Once a week, they’ll send you scholarships, events, job opportunities, and more.

With Jack

With JackWith Jack is all about insurance for freelance creatives, giving designers, developers, illustrators, and other web professionals the insurance they need. No endless features or stale service but one solid policy and the personal touch.

Find Support If You Are An Indie Maker

There are some excellent communities that seek to support bootstrapped businesses, sole founders and small teams. Check these out to find interesting products — or to get help in shipping your own.

  • IndieHackers: Work together to build profitable online businesses.
  • Makerlog: A collaborative task log that helps over 3000+ creators get things done.
  • WIP: Maker Community.

Add Your Favorites To The Comments!

Did we miss one of your favorite independent products? If so, please add a link in the comments, and don’t forget to let us know what it is and why you love it, too!

Smashing Editorial (il, cm)