From sketching on the go to choosing colours and fonts, these awesome iPhone apps will speed up your workflow and help you make the right design choices.
Good things come in small packages, and though you may not have considered it, the iPhone can be a pretty handy design tool. Stocked with the right apps it can pack some real punch in the studio - and more importantly, out of it.
Despite some strong competition from recent new phone launches, the iPhone continues to be the main smartphone of choice for the design world, and so we've rounded up the very best iPhone apps around to help your day to day design workload.
So whether you plan to do some sketching on the move, are after a particular tool to aid your daily design work, or prefer to take things more seriously with something to help you manage your projects, time and money, there’s a great selection of must-have apps here.
- Also read: The best iPad apps for designers
An app for the little ones! Any designer will know that it all starts when you're a kid and this adorable new app from designer and animator Lucas Zanatto aims to motivate those budding youngsters. Not only does it encourage children to draw, it shows them the main features of the animals with animations to help them to learn the alphabet.
Drawnimal is available for iPhone and iPad, with over 30 different animated animals and sounds. You can also switch between 4 different languages. Download Drawnimal from the iTunes.
02. Trovi London
When visiting a new city, it's natural to want to know about the best places to discover. However, as a creative, you'll want to know the hidden gems, the design classics and a nice place to have an afternoon drink.
The perfect accompaniment to our Designer's Guide to London, Creative design agency Fiasco Design crafted Trovi London, which harnesses the power of geolocation to offer users exclusive deals, events and promotions based on their current location.
03. Design Duet
Ever wanted to view your Photoshop canvas on the go? Well, this iPhone app enables you to view your Photoshop canvas live, on your iPhone, over WiFi! Design Duet is designed to help those involved in the process of creating apps and the like by removing the guesswork about how design elements are affected when viewed on a mobile.
But how does it work? It connects directly to Photoshop natively using Photoshop Remote Connections to create a live 'second screen'. Then, the changes made on your Photoshop canvas are automatically updated on Design Duet to preview your designs. It's super simple to use and will no doubt speed up your workflow.
04. Sketchbook Pro
SketchBook Pro by Autodesk is one of the most popular iPad art apps with you digital artists. The smaller screen version, SketchBook Mobile, is a brilliant addition to any designer's iPhone app collection.
There's a wide range of digital pencils, pens, markers, and airbrushes to choose from, all accessed via a simple but intuitive UI that lets you pin toolbars to the screen for easy access. You can work with layers, transparency options, annotations, and advanced blend modes and with Dropbox integration - what more could you want?
Created by Austrian software artist Lia, this pattern creating iPhone/iPad app is perfect for any illustrators, designers and procrastinators. Sum05 invites the user to interact with the chosen device and requires no training to be used; you simply need to tilt, shake and tap to produce random colours, reposition curves and more.
Photojournalist John D. McHugh was tired of people stealing photos he's posted online so he created Marksta, an app that enables you to watermark your work. Add your copyright information or logo to images direct from your iPhone before uploading them to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or other sites.
07. Photoshop Touch
There comes a time in every designer's life when you're on the move, you haven't brought your iPad, and you need to do some last-minute fiddling with an image or design. For this reason, Adobe has released versions of its Photoshop Touch tablet app for the iPhone.
It's essentially the same as the iPad/Android tablet app but downsized for the smaller screen, offering the same core Photoshop features, including layers, selection tools, adjustments, and filters, plus you can use your smartphone's camera to fill an area on a layer with the 'Camera Fill' feature.
When you buy the new app, you get access to Adobe Creative Cloud and 2GB of free storage. That mean you can start a project on your smartphone and finish it on your tablet, or back in Photoshop on your Mac or PC (as long as you've bought all three tools, that is).
Gradients have become a lost art in iPhone photography, but Geló fills that gap in the market well. Once you’ve taken or imported an image, you see a carousel of 'gels'. Cycle through to choose a colour, tap it, and then it's applied to your shot. Using the sliders you can tweak how the filter affects your shot, and it's this high level of control that makes Geló a winner.
You can tweak individual colours and the position of the effect until it gives you a realistic graduation (usually for a horizon), or you can get a bit arty and create vintage looks or use different shapes to add a 'gel collage' effect. You can also choose how the gel effect is applied, either a tint, a solid gel (Over) or mixed into the colour palette (Add). Coupled with contrast tweaks, you can create impressive images.
M.dot enabless you to easily create a 'business card' style website on your iPhone using a template. There are several neat features. Alongside the ability to add About Me, Text, Blog and Gallery pages, you can add 'furniture' for every page, such as a logo, social media buttons (complete with your account embedded), and a splash image.
In addition, you can provide your business address and telephone number, and M.dot will add a useful 'Call Me' button and geographical map directions to your site. Images can be added from your Photo Library, or directly from the camera.
Dotdotdot enables you to manage and organise all of your eBooks, snippets of text and RSS feeds in one place, tag and locate your favourite passages quickly and easily, and share what you’re reading with Twitter, Facebook and fellow dotdotdot users – including specific quotes and your comments on them. The app is currently in a private beta phase - sign up at the site for free.
An app that's perfect for rookie freelancers. It enables you to calculate how much you can charge for your creative services, taking under account factors like the project, client, location, as well as your education and experience.
Evernote allows you to save your ideas, things you like, things you hear and things you see. You can access your inspiration anywhere as it works with nearly every computer, phone and mobile device out there. And to make things easier, you can search by keyword, tag or even printed and handwritten text inside images.
Instagram is a photo-sharing app that enables its community to take pictures, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services. It's a great source of inspiration: if you don't believe us check out these 8 amazing Instagram accounts.
As busy creatives, we're all guilty of getting a bit overwhelmed by workflow from time to time. This app helps you to ensure all your deadlines are met. Notifications messages are shown even when the app isn't running so you've got no excuse!
Frametastic is a tool for sharing the big picture; not just a moment but a memory. It allows to you to have a creative outlet for organising the photographic elements of your life whilst also allowing you to alter your images with a set of colour filters. Kind of like Instagram but more framey.
OK, OK we know we're featuring a lot of photo/image based apps but you lot seem to love them out there! With a tag line 'Snap it. Tweak it. Love it. Share it.' Snapseed is pretty self-explanatory. It also won TIPA's Best Mobile App for 2012.
Already an Apple staff favourite, ColorSchemer has become a must-have iPhone app for designers. You can browse and search over 1 million palettes created and shared by COLOURlovers members as well as connecting with the COLOURlovers community.
18. The Font Game
One for all you creatives that think you know typography like the back of your hand. From the makers of I Love Typography comes The Font Game - the smash hit rapid-fire typeface-identifying game. Train your eyes by identifying more than 1000 font samples, and play quickly to secure a spot on the Hall of Fame!
The Behance Network app for iPhone allows you to explore millions of creative projects by the world’s top creative talent. The app also offers the ultimate mobile portfolio that seamlessly syncs with your Behance projects. Behance’s team of curators feature new work every day from top portfolios in the fields of design.
This is the app for you web designers out there. Webr helps you create, publish and edit, dynamic websites from your iPhone or your iPod touch. Using their intuitive themes, you can create, not just blogs but full working websites, viewable in any browser on the computer.
A valuable reference resource for anyone passionate about working with type, complete with practical hints and tips for setting text, working with special characters and getting to grips with the terminology involved. There are also neat little tools such as an Em Calculator for scalable web type, and a font-size ruler.
This official app from the undisputed kings of colour acts as a digital swatch book, including over 13,000 colours from the Pantone Plus Series and beyond. You can use it to match hues from photos, generate harmonious colour palettes and then share them, or synch them with your design software programs of choice.
Dubbed a “precision 2D vector drawing and design” app, iDesign features a unique offset drawing tool that enables you to draw accurately with a fingertip without blocking your own view. It features advanced point and shape editing functionality, and is well suited to drawing on the move.
Having scooped the Apple Design Award for best productivity app when the iPhone App Store first launched, OmniFocus has continued to develop and packs plenty of features into its simple, intuitive interface. There’s a high price tag, but it’s invaluable for organising all your daily tasks in one place.
Move over, Instagram: this nifty little app enables you to bridge the gap between photography and motion from the comfort of your iPhone, by animating sections of an image and then applying vintage filters to add that hipster edge, before sharing your creations across social media.
This app’s tagline says it all: “Time is money. Track it wisely.” Both its design and function are simple but effective, based around large stopwatch-style timers for particular project tasks, linked up to billable hours, timesheets and expenses - so you can keep track of those necessary evils of freelance life on the move.
This is a great way to create and manage colour palettes to use in your design work, whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. You can sample colours from images, websites or whatever you can find, as well as adding them manually. The initial free app can be upgraded to Basic or Pro versions for full functionality.
This particular task management tool is rather well connected, offering synchronisation with Dropbox, iCal, Outlook, iCloud and also its own Todo Online service. Organise your projects into various related checklists, map deadlines onto your calendar and keep on top of every aspect of your working life.
29. What The Font
Making use of the font identification engine on global type library MyFonts, this rather handy app will attempt to identify any typeface based on a snapshot on your iPhone, and then links through to further information and purchasing info. Of course, it can sometimes miss the mark - but when it works it’s fantastically useful.
30. Mill Colour
This photo-grading tool feeds years of experience from colourists at leading Soho-based visual effects house The Mill into one free app. Rather than applying a grading filter, it manipulates your source image to help you replicate the kind of look and feel that might be achieved in a high-end digital suite.
This one’s just bit of fun really: you just type a sentence to use as a starting point, and then draw with your finger to create pieces of typographic artwork. There are various fonts to choose from, and you can export the results to work on them further.
Riding the crest of the current trend for retro, analogue aesthetics, this is a beautifully designed photography app that enables you to switch lenses, film and flash settings to create and share highly stylised images. It’s also highly expandable, with a broad range of special packs available for in-app purchase.
However cynical you might be about the buzzphrase ‘blue sky thinking’, this genuinely handy app is about getting your thoughts down and making sense of them. Sketch out notes and ideas and link them together in a digital ‘mind map’ that you can then save and share with colleagues.
While your iPhone camera is able to produce some half-decent images in standard light, the slow lens means that it generally performs badly in low light conditions, and blurs easily. This nifty app taps into the phone’s accelerometer to detect when the camera is steady and improve quality.
While many of the Touch suite are arguably best suited to iPad, Photoshop Express - though not to be compared with Photoshop CS6 - has some useful tools for photo-manipulation on the go that can be just as valuable on iPhone - including filters, effects and basic editing tools. There are also several expansion packs, ranging from £1.49 to £2.99.
A free creative tool from our sister magazine, Computer Arts, Visualator features two innovative tools - Gradulate and Triangulate - with which you can easily create striking abstract imagery with your fingertips. It was built entirely in Flash CS5 as a showcase of what’s possible with the platform.
This highly practical tool can function as a standalone calculator, but as the name implies it really comes into its own for photographers - with tools for working out how many raw captures you can fit on a card, timelapse settings, hyperfocal distances and more.
38. Action Method
Just one part of a whole suite of Action Method products from the mighty Behance Network, this app is all about maximising your productivity - and syncs with its web-based equivalent, Action Method Online. Tasks can be filtered according to project, due date and so on, and even delegated to your contacts.
This is another invaluable tool for anyone who works with colour schemes regularly - whether for graphic design, web design or illustration. Generate complementary shades based on a key colour; cherry-pick your favourite colours from photographs; and collate and manage your favourite palettes in scrapbooks for later reference.
An elegantly designed task management app that strips everything right back to basics with an interface that’s based around colour-coded strips and instinctive, iPhone-native gestures to create and manage your to-do list. Pull to add a new item, swipe to complete, and pinch to compress the list - very satisfying to use.
Have we missed YOUR favourite iPhone app? Tell us about it in the comments below!