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15 Design Apps For Your Consideration

By designRoom | September 24, 2013

15 Design Apps for Your Consideration

When the iPad was released it was panned for being a large iPhone. Tablets were thought of as media consumption devices, because of their size and their touch interface. Now though, they are extending out from general use and into creative and development capabilities. But fret not, traditionalists. These mobile platforms have a long way to go before they replace the trusty desktop workhorse and convince me to stop using my iMac. Even so, I am increasingly finding design apps that integrate easily and effectively into my workflow. Here’s my list (and I’d love to hear what you use):

iPad Only:

Procreate: ($4.99)

Procreate | Creative Design App

Procreate is a digital painting app specifically designed for the iPad. I love this app because it is highly responsive with almost no lag. It has an easy to learn interface that is friendly to both left and right handed users. Like Photoshop, it has layers and will export files in a few formats including .psd and exporting to Dropbox. Website

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Sketchbook Pro: ($4.99)

Sketchbook Pro | Creative Design App

This app was created by Autodesk. It is exactly the type of pro-level painting program you want. Instead of feeling scaled down for iPad, it feels naturally created for it (a lot like Procreate). Also, like some other apps, it does have Dropbox integration for saving files. Website

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Paper by 53: (Free)

Paper by 53 | Creative Design App

This is a quick, responsive, fun to use app for quick sketching. With its uncluttered interface, sketching is a breeze. It also offers a variety of in-app purchases that offer access to different styles, like pencil, pen, markers and more. It is also perfect for sending quick ideas via email thanks to its helpful export features. Website

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Inkist: (Free)

Inkist | Creative Design App

Inkist is a bitmap-based drawing and painting program perfect for making illustrations, with a clean interface and an ability to fine tune. The best part about Inkist is that it’s currently free. Very artist/creative friendly. Website

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App Cooker ($24.99)

AppCooker | Creative Design App

Helps to prototype and actually make apps. App Cooker lets you design and create interactive prototypes and then share them using Dropbox. It will even help you develop a business model for pricing the app you are developing. Website

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Adobe Color Lava ($2.99)

Color Lava | Creative Design App

With a cool name like Color Lava, it has to good, right? For Photoshop users, Color Lava turns their iPads into palettes to interactively blend colors and create swatches. Website

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Adobe Nav ($1.99)

Adobe Nav | Creative Design App

While Nav doesn’t have as cool a name as Lava, it’s more than useful. Nav becomes your toolbar in Photoshop so you can touch the icons and keep your mouse where it is on screen. Kinda neat. I just wish it was free. Website

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iPhone & iPad:

Adobe Photoshop Touch ($9.99/$4.99)

Photoshop Touch | Creative Design App

This app is perfect if you are already a Photoshop user. The learning curve is minimal. For PS newbies it is a little steeper. Touch is a great way to edit files. And it ties into Adobe’s Creative Cloud. The iPhone version is essentially the same as the iPad version but for smaller screens. Both offer the same Photoshop features, like layers, selection tools, adjustments, and filters as well as the ability to work directly on your photos. iPad Version | iPhone Version

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Mextures: ($1.99)

Mextures | Creative Design App

This photography based app might look like another Instagram-style homage to older photography. But rather than just using pre-designed filters, Mextures is a lot more. This app lets you use high resolution textures, gradients, light leak emulation and other effects in layers to build (and save) your own favorite processes for a lot of customization. Well worth the $1.99 if you’re a fan of editing and stylizing your photography but don’t want to use the pre-made effects in Instagram or Hipstamatic. Website

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Prototyping on Paper: (Free)

Prototyping on Paper | Creative Design App
It essentially takes your drawings and lets/helps you make them active links from your photographs of the doodles to bridge the gap between concept and functioning prototype. Website

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Adobe Kuler: (Free)

Adobe Kuler | Creative Design App

This was previously a web service offering from Adobe, but has become an app. The iPhone version is unique because you can use it to generate color themes using your iPhone camera. Kuler captures five points of color in any scene and breaks them down into RGB and HEX builds. It’s also great to search color sets that other people have made. Website

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myPantone: ($9.99)

myPantone | Creative Design App
The Pantone book to go. A neat idea, but likely better to use for reference than as a true Pantone book. For the price, it’s a great way to get access to information quickly. Website

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FontBook ($0.99)

FontBook | Creative Design App

This is a neat way to browse typefaces and compare fonts with each other with your own text on the go. Website

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Fontly (Free)

Fontly | Creative Design App

Fontly combines the Instagram-style news feed with other typography lovers to capture, map, and explore your local typography. Website

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WhatTheFont (Free)

WhatTheFont | Creative Design App

This app hasn’t been updated in a while, but its nice to have a mobile version of the WhatTheFont web feature which works pretty well for very common typefaces. Website[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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