10 creative free iPhone apps for designers

Whether you're into 3D, illustration or animation, these free apps will only aid your creativity.

There are a ton of iPhone apps out there for every type of designer. Whether you're into 3D, illustration, graphic design, animation or photography you're bound to stumble upon a few addictive apps to boost your creativity. 

If you're looking for the best photo apps for iPhone and Android we have a separate post, but here we pick 10 of the best free iPhone apps you can download today!

01. Assembly

If you want to create vector designs without all the traditional pain of working with vectors, Assembly is a must. Rather than laboriously building shapes yourself, you work with a set of over 180 basic shapes that you can layer, stack and position to create your own designs. With the latest version you can even create and share stickers to use in iMessage.

02. Google PhotoScan

Turn all those old prints into pristine digital files

Most of us have a load of pre-digital photos lying around that we can't be bothered to scan, but Google's Photoscan app makes it a whole lot faster and easier to preserve those fading snaps. Just shoot each print from a few different angles, and Photoscan stitches everything together as a pristine digital copy.

03. Brushes Redux

Classic creative iPhone app Brushes gets a modern revival
  • Developer: Christoffer Hoel

Brushes was the original poster child for creative iPhone apps, and although the original developers have long given up on it, Christoffer Hoel is keeping it alive with a new version that's been rewritten from the ground up. Brushes Redux features a responsive OpenGL painting engine, records every stroke so you can replay your process, and is packed with all the brushes and settings you need to create amazing artwork at up to 4096x4096 resolution.

04. Snapseed

Fix your photos and learn how to take better ones that need less fixing

Another great free photo app from Google, Snapseed is designed to be a complete and professional photo editor, with 26 tools and filters, all of which can be stacked and tweaked to help you get the perfect result. There's also an Insights feature with tips and tricks about both Snapseed and general photography, so you can take better photos to start with.

05. The app formerly known as H _ _ r

Can't concentrate in a busy studio? Previously known as Hear but now without a name (we suspect trademark shenanigans), this app filters what you hear in helpful and entertaining ways. There are seven settings with different effects, including an Office setting to help you detach and focus, and an Auto Volume that mutes background noise but still enables you to hear people when they talk to you. Best of all, though, you can use it to add trippy audio effects to everything you hear, and turn wherever you are into a surreal soundscape.

06. Prisma

A simple way to create artistic masterpieces

The easiest and most useful app so far to take advantage of AI-powered imaging techniques, Prisma can quickly turn your photos into stunning and sometimes surreal artistic daubs, and makes it simple to share the results.

07. Illustrator Draw

Illustrator Draw is but one of many free apps from Adobe...

Adobe has shifted up a gear recently when it comes to free apps; all of them require a Creative Cloud ID, but they're almost all worth the effort. Illustrator Draw is ideal for creating vector art on your phone, and boasts several configurable pen tips, layers, merge options, shape stencils, stylus support, and 64x zoom, as well as layer blend modes and PDF export.

08. Adobe Spark Post

...and here's another

Also from Adobe is Spark Post, built to offer a fun and fast way to make stunning graphics. Just get a photo, add some text and then apply themes to instantly create beautiful images for all occasions, then share them via social media, text or email.

09. 3DMark Ice Storm

best free iphone apps

The real fun lies in running the benchmarking tests

3DMark's a benchmarking tool that's been putting PCs through their paces since the 1990s, and now there's an iOS version that'll give your iPhone (or your iPad or iPod) a proper 3D workout and award it a no-nonsense score.

The real fun lies in running the benchmarking tests, which are beautiful mock-ups of a detailed and action-packed 3D game. They're a delight to watch, and once they're done you can find out how many frames per second your device can manage and just how good it is at simulating 3D physics. Ice Storm is aimed at older devices; if you want to give your iPhone 7 a good hard benchmarking then go for 3DMark Sling Shot instead.

10. Fontli

best free iphone apps

Use Fontli to discover inspirational photography of type throughout the world

Fontli is a social network for type lovers, enabling the community to collect and share inspiring examples of typography from everyday life. Using integration with MyFonts database, its iPhone app also features type tagging on pictures. There's a Windows version too.

Contributions: Sammy Maine

Related articles:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim McCauley is a writer, editor and occasional podcaster, and is available for space parties.