10 Must-have iPhone Apps for Designers

Gabrielle Gosha
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iVincent - A tiny Van Gogh painting on an iPhone

Photo: JD Hancock

With a new year comes bigger and mostly better additions to the design communities. This can be anything from new resources like textures and brushes to new design trends making the rounds.

We even get an arsenal of new web and mobile applications every few weeks which is making it a lot easier to get things done without being tied down to one place.

Last year I introduced 22 Creative, Useful iPhone Apps for Graphic Designers ranging from free to a few dollars that wouldn’t put a dent in your pocket. This time I’m coming back to bring 10 more to help fellow and inspiring designers make the most out of both their time and work. The apps here cover a range of things that will help you stay productive which will include actual applications geared to drawing, note taking, typography and even image correction.

Hopefully you will find something in the bunch to aid you on your next project.

iDesign

iDesign

  • Price: $9.37
  • Category: Design & Drawing
  • Compatibility: iOS 5+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: If you’re in the market to find a premium app with the primary focus of designing and drawing then you have a number of options to choose from. iDesign is just one of them. iDesign is like a mini pocket Illustrator without the Adobe name attached to it.

The app allows you to not only design but allows you to also create high quality 2D illustrations and technical drawings which makes this app a good fit for just about anyone.

Another great addition is the fact that you can use your finger in lieu of purchasing a stylus and still accurately create without finger obstruction. There are tons of features that come with the app that should make it worth its price including multiple layers, smooth multi-touch zoom, iCloud support and much, much more.

ArtStudio

Art Studio

  • Price: Free
  • Category: Design & Drawing
  • Compatibility: iOS 4.3+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: Should you need an on the go editor and designing app without shelling out any money then your best bet is ArtStudio.

This app isn’t just for those looking to doodle either. You can sketch, paint and even edit your photos should you need to. There are tons of things going for the app including a selection of brushes which will be familiar grounds for those of you accustomed to programs like Corel, Photoshop and GIMP.

The interface is also user friendly so creating should be a breeze without too much trouble thanks to a brand new graphics engine. There are plenty of other helpful features that come packaged in the app including 16 tools, 150 high quality brushes, layer options, 40 available filters and plenty of more additions worth checking out.

ColorSchemer

ColorSchemer

  • Price: Free
  • Category: Color Utilities
  • Compatibility: iOS 4.0+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: Your color choices can take your design to a whole new level so it would be helpful in your arsenal of iPhone designing apps to have one that deals specifically with color.

With ColorSchemer you can turn your iOS device into a color bible just for you to use whenever you want.

Aside from your typical color options that you often find in apps of this nature you gain access to over 1 million color palettes created and shared by ColorSchemer users. That right – there is 1 million reasons to grab the app.

But if you need more incentive how about this? With the app your ability to create palettes is virtually endless. You can devise color palettes out the photos on you already have or from pictures you just snapped. Not only this but you can harmonize your colors and even visually see how they work together in the built in pocket color wheel.

ColourSchemePro

ColorSchemerPro

  • Price: Free
  • Category: Color Utilities
  • Compatibility: iOS 6+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: Now if ColorSchemer isn’t your cup of tea but you still want a free color app you can try ColourSchemePro by Asian Paints.

Now this app takes a different approach when it comes to working with colors. While you can still share you color palettes via social media networks like Facebook and Twitter the app has built in colors waiting for you to pick from. With this app you simply select your desired color from Asian Paints Colour Spectra’s fan deck and from there you let the app guide you into selecting either a monochromatic, analogous or complementary color scheme.

Don’t worry, you’re not tied down to these 1800 color choices as you can simply use one of your own photos to do the same thing. The app allows for customization to your colors which is always a nice thing plus there are some effects that you can use as well though limited.

Fuzel

Fuzel

  • Price: Free
  • Category: Photo Editor
  • Compatibility: iOS 7+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: A common thing coming out of apps in the last few years is that they allow you to do things you once thought you were incapable of doing.

Fuzel is a nice, simple, fun app that can turn your photos from boring to share worthy within minutes. Now this isn’t your typical photo editor where you just slap on a couple of filters and call it a day.

Fuzel is created for those wanting to do more with their photos – in this case, create collages. While this may not be needed for every designer out there the app still has some cool features.

You can animate your photos and create collages that can be set to music from your iTunes library. Auto beat detection is available as well as three video length options, auto, manual and Instagram. The app comes with other additions as well like hundreds of available layouts that are fully customizable and embeddable assets like stickers and patterns.

PicLab

PicLab

  • Price: Free
  • Category: Photo Editor
  • Compatibility: iOS 6.0+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: Another photo editing option available to iPhone users is PicLab. This app admittedly has a beautiful yet simple interface that can make editing a breeze.

Unlike the previously mentioned Fuzel this app isn’t about creating photo collages as it is more about the art of creating eye pleasing photo edits.

One of the first things you are sure to notice with this app is its typography features. There are tons of available font collections at your disposal and some of them even come from notable designers which is pretty nice. Using and adding typography is made easy thanks to customizable features but the app isn’t all about type.

Photo effects are available as well to make those necessary edits along with over a 100 overlays and masks. There are also 20 different filter effects to apply to your photos for quick looks.

FontBook

FontBook

  • Price: $4.99
  • Category: Typography
  • Compatibility: iOS 5.1+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: If you ever wanted to carry around the Original Typeface Compendium now is the time to do so with this iPhone app.

The FontBook staff have been dedicating themselves since 1989 in the documenting and comparing of commercial typefaces. This app is for those truly into typefaces. With tons of resources you will find yourself being able to access 36,734 typefaces from 8,038 font families and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the iPhone version you will be able to use the new filters, searches and lists which will allow you to concentrate on a more practical focus.

While the app does seem to come with a lot of libraries to explore the price is definitely worth it if you’re a typophile.

Path On

Path On

  • Price: $1.99
  • Category: Typography
  • Compatibility: iOS 5.1+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: Not everyone is obsessed with type so will probably be looking for something more casual and perhaps even creative. That’s where Path On makes its appearance.

This is a different type of app as far as typography is concerned. Instead of focusing on creating your own fonts or finding a set to use this app is all about adding type to your photos in a creative way and with an interesting method.

To add text you just use your finger to draw a line where you want your text to appear and Path On really means anywhere. There are no restrictions as far as this app is concerned plus it comes with some nice features.

With nearly 300 different fonts to choose from you are given unlimited use and lots of control. Need to fix the alignment, letter spacing or size the app has you covered along with a few other things.

Inkflow Visual Notebook

Inkflow Visual Notebook

  • Price: Free
  • Category: Notes & Productivity
  • Compatibility: iOS 7+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: While having apps that can generate cool effects and colors whenever is always nice sometimes you just need to get your thoughts down.

There are some great apps out there that focus on making you more productive and Inkflow Visual Notebook is one of them. The app is described as being a word processor for visual thinking and visual thinkers. This app offers visual thinkers a lot from being able to jot down your thoughts when they appear to organizing and rearranging them in a way that better suits your thinking flow. Not only this but you can zoom in at will with the full resolution zoom that will allow you to zoom and pan with two fingers.

Adding items like text, photos and paper backgrounds is pretty seamless as well. Plus you can export your work to PDF, high resolution JPEGs and share them in a variety of ways.

Sketchworthy

Sketchworthy

  • Price: $2.99
  • Category: Notes & Productivity
  • Compatibility: iOS 7+ with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Description: If you are in need of an app to not only help you get your notes down but also manage your thoughts then you probably want to look to Sketchworthy.

This app allows you to manage your sketches, notes and anything else you may have scribbled down. You’re able to manage your work by creating “notebooks” which are equivalent to folders but it gets even better.

Sketchworthy allows you to annotate any and every thing that you have in your notebooks. The annotation even gives you the ability to capture and save maps, websites and images.

There is even a feature where you can purchase and download any paper you may need thanks to its built in paper store. That means anything from blueprints to lists and so much more. Not to mention you can share your notes via social media should the mood strike you.

Let me know if you have any personal experience with any of the above apps or if there are any other great iPhone apps for designers that I missed (there are plenty, so I’m sure I haven’t got all the good ones).

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