10 Essential iPad Apps for Web Designers

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It’s hard to find a great set of iPad apps that you can rely on as a designer amidst the constantly growing App Store, and most articles are filled with irrelevant apps — like social media clients — and apps with duplicate functionality, like three vector apps that all do the same things. In this article, I want to help you narrow it down to just ten insanely useful apps that each fill a specific function in the list, and that will be useful for any web designer. You might have found alternatives that suit your tastes, but for the designer with a new iPad, this should be a great starting point.

Adobe Ideas

Adobe Ideas is a sketching app for the iPad that allows you to get ideas down while out and about for later reference. It’s at the top of the list because this is probably the most common use case for design work on the iPad — capturing ideas for later. The app lets you configure a palette, work with different brush sizes and opacities, and keeps quite simple. Despite its limitations, some users have done interesting things with it, as you can see in the screenshot. Oddly, after spending $5.99 on the app you’ll need to shell out another $0.99 on an in-app purchase if you want to use layers.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express is a handy companion to Ideas that lets you edit photos, from the basic crop, color adjustments and a smattering of novelty effects. It is on the surface a free app, but like Ideas it delivers extra functionality through a $4.99 in-app purchase called the Camera Pack. The Camera Pack introduces noise reduction, a camera timer, and auto review. The app also features sharing functions through Photoshop.com.


Continuing in the vein of apps that let you flesh out ideas on the iPad for implementation on the computer, OmniGraffle is a great app for wireframing layouts, and developing sitemaps. It is, like most of Omni Group’s iOS apps, a hefty $49.99, but comes highly recommended. If you’re an OmniGraffle for Mac user, you should even be able to use most of your stencil library on the iPad.

SketchBook Pro

If you want something with some power, SketchBook Pro might be the app to check out. With a quality set of brushes and other tools, including dynamic symmetric drawing, SketchBook is an app that is one of the few apps that is often used to create great art that doesn’t need to be redone ‘for real’ on the computer later. For $4.99 you get up to 12 layers on an iPad 2 at 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, or 4 layers with a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution.


Penultimate is a notebook app, where you can take notes, draw simple sketches, and even include photos, making it a great app for organizing plenty of ideas and even moodboarding. Penultimate is a pretty cheap buy at $1.99 and you can extend it through a variety of in-app purchases that’ll  give you templates for task lists, music paper, and so on.


Moodboard, as the name suggests, is an app purely for creating moodboards. These are boards that allow designers to organically build up an aesthetic for their next piece by placing and playing with colors, fonts, images and textures, whether you’re working on a website, a print piece, or the look and feel of an entire brand. Moodboard will run you $9.99.

The Font Game

The Font Game won’t help you get any design work done, but it will help you keep up in a room full of more experienced designers. It’s described as a “rapid-fire typeface identifying” game to help you train yourself to identify over 1,000 popular fonts. There’s even a game mode for identify the elements of type, such as ascenders and inclined stems. The Font Game is $1.99.


This collection wouldn’t be complete without a vector app, and iDraw fills that role. For $8.99 you can use vectors to create illustrations, or even get diagramming if OmniGraffle’s price is a bit too rich for your tastes. iDraw uses Dropbox integration and SVG import and export to ensure you can use your desktop assets to design with on your iPad.


There’s nothing more annoying than realizing there’s a bug on a site you’ve designed while you’re away from a computer and helpless to do anything about it. It’ll probably remain a nagging distraction in your mind until you get back to the office. Fortunately, getting connected to FTP and making changes to your code is simple with Gusto, which costs $9.99 and comes with all the bells and whistles like tabs for working on multiple files and syntax color coding.

Analytics HD

I don’t know many designers who can resist the urge to check out how traffic to their sites is doing each day. There are free Google Analytics apps for the iPad out there, but I haven’t found one that doesn’t suck — so the reasonably priced $6.99 Analytics HD is a great buy to round out your collection of iOS apps for designers. A lot of these apps allow access to a limited subset of your Google Analytics data, but with this one you can access just about any data available in the web app itself. It’s also great for meetings with clients since it can turn your data into great full screen charts. Have we missed out your favorite design-related iPad app? Found a great design-related use for the iPad’s smaller sibling, the iPhone? Let us know about it in the comments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Essential iPad Apps for Web Designers

What are the best iPad apps for sketching and drawing for web designers?

There are several iPad apps that are excellent for sketching and drawing. Procreate is one of the most popular ones, offering a wide range of brushes and tools. Adobe Fresco is another great option, especially for those already familiar with Adobe’s suite of products. It offers a mix of vector and raster brushes, and it’s compatible with Photoshop. Concepts is a vector drawing app that’s great for sketching out ideas quickly. It offers an infinite canvas and a variety of brushes.

Are there any iPad apps that can help with web design coding?

Yes, there are several iPad apps that can assist with coding. For instance, Koder is a code editor that supports various languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript, and more. It also has built-in FTP and Dropbox support. Another app is Buffer Editor, a powerful text and code editor that supports syntax highlighting for over 80 languages.

Can I use iPad apps for prototyping web designs?

Absolutely! There are several iPad apps that are perfect for prototyping. Marvel is a design and prototyping tool that allows you to create interactive mockups. Another app is Adobe XD, which is a part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and allows for wireframing, animating, prototyping, and collaborating.

Are there any iPad apps for creating vector graphics?

Yes, there are several iPad apps for creating vector graphics. Affinity Designer is a professional-grade design app that supports both vector and raster graphics. Another app is Vectornator, which is a powerful vector graphic design software that simplifies complex design creation.

Can I use iPad apps for photo editing for my web designs?

Yes, there are several iPad apps that are excellent for photo editing. Adobe Lightroom is a professional-grade photo editing app that offers a wide range of tools. Another app is Pixelmator, which is a powerful image editor that lets you create, edit, and enhance your images.

Are there any iPad apps that can help with project management for web design projects?

Yes, there are several iPad apps that can assist with project management. Trello is a popular project management tool that allows you to organize your projects into boards. Another app is Asana, which is a project management tool that helps teams organize, track, and manage their work.

Can I use iPad apps for creating 3D designs?

Yes, there are several iPad apps that are excellent for creating 3D designs. For instance, Shapr3D is a professional CAD tool built for the mobility and precision of the iPad and Apple Pencil. Another app is uMake, which allows you to create 3D models, illustrations, and sketches.

Are there any iPad apps that can help with color selection for web designs?

Yes, there are several iPad apps that can assist with color selection. Adobe Capture is a versatile app that allows you to capture and create color themes. Another app is Pantone Studio, which provides access to Pantone’s color libraries.

Can I use iPad apps for creating animations for my web designs?

Absolutely! There are several iPad apps that are perfect for creating animations. Lottie is a library for Android, iOS, Web, and Windows that parses Adobe After Effects animations exported as json and renders them natively on mobile and on the web.

Are there any iPad apps that can help with typography for web designs?

Yes, there are several iPad apps that can assist with typography. For instance, AnyFont is an app that allows you to install additional fonts on your iPad. Another app is iFont, which is a simple and easy-to-use app for installing fonts on your iPad.

Joel FalconerJoel Falconer
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Joel Falconer is a technical content strategist. He has been managing editor at SitePoint, AppStorm, DesignCrowd, and Envato, and features editor at The Next Web.

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