Here Are The 31 Design Apps We’re Loving Right Now

There’s so many design apps on the market—how do you know which one is right for you? We’ve rounded up the best graphic design apps for you to choose from.

black ipad with design app

Life as a creative has never been better, thanks to the sheer volume of amazing tools and toys out there at your fingertips. Finding a design app is easy; finding a truly great design app is a little harder. So, how do you tell the winners from the losers when it comes to design apps? Well, we’ve done the work for you and compiled a list of the best graphic design apps. Each one is guaranteed to help you create amazing work that will really enrich your online design portfolio—and help land you bigger and better clients and freelance design jobs. Let’s check ‘em out!

Design Apps for iPad

1. Font Candy

  • Fantastic specialised tool
  • Creates vibrant, effective typography
  • Shares with social media

Font Candy has quickly earned a stellar reputation as one of the best typography-centric apps available—and one of the best free design apps. Not only does it engage you with a simple to understand UI, it also offers a great selection of curated fonts, along with built-in animations and filters that can make a massive impact in your creatives. It also contains a wide assortment of editing options, and even has auto-sizing for Facebook and Twitter profile and header images.

Photo Editing Design Apps

2. Paper

  • Really simple and intuitive
  • Fantastic, immersive experience
  • Responsive and powerful

This sketching app is touted as among the most immersive mobile graphic design apps on the market. Designed for handwritten notes, drafting, diagramming, and sketching, Paper is made to help creatives take down their ideas in rapid-fire fashion. The interface is beautifully simple, which means you won’t be distracted by needless functions and can focus on what matters.

3. Hipstamatic

  • Turn your phone into a DSLR camera
  • Produce analog-looking photos
  • Features a darkroom editing suite

This award-winning product is easily one of the best design apps for iPhone, providing access to world-class photo editing features. Choose from a selection of “lenses” and even adjust your photos with a fully-integrated suite of editing features. This is as close as you can come to a real camera experience on an iPhone. If you’re looking to get a perfect shot for your next portfolio piece, this is how you’ll get it.

4. Repix

  • Easy to use
  • Syncs with most social media platforms
  • Surprisingly powerful tools

Repix keeps things simple, and it is this simplicity that has earned it a spot among the best free design apps for iPhone. Select from a range of filters, touch-up tools, and effects (and save them for use in your work with a few simple buttons). There’s a lot of power in this wee app, and it seamlessly integrates with all your social media platforms; that means you can upload to all of them at once.

5. Gelo

  • High-quality color adjustment
  • Fast, simple
  • Useful gesture editing

An interesting entry in our design apps list, Gelo does things a bit differently. You select from solid colors and gels, geometric shapes, and gradients, and use blend modes to apply adjustments to photos. Gesture controls allow you to adjust rotation, panning, and zoom with a few swipes and pinches, and can add a lot of impact to otherwise drab images. It’s a different take on image editing, so if you want a taste of something new why not dive on in and give it a download?

Productivity Design Apps

6. Pantone Studio

  • Huge library of color schemes
  • Works with sRGB, Pantones, Hex, Harmonies, and more
  • Easy to master

If you print for the physical world, you may not want to live without this app; it’s a favorite among type-obsessed graphic designers and one of the coolest free design apps for iPhone . It’s designed around a simple enough principle: making palettes for use in eye-catching creatives. It sounds simple, but any designer can tell you how much of a difference a palette can make to any piece of art. This design app handles CMYK, Hex, sRGB, and harmonies, and can cross-reference across all color guides and color systems. With over 10,000 standardized Pantone colors in its library, Adobe Creative Cloud syncing, and social media sharing, it’s a wonderful option to help with style sheet design and so much more.

7. Todo Cloud

  • Intuitive, engaging design app
  • Makes life easier
  • Unrivaled task organization

Another design app focused on organising your life, Todo is a bit different than the rest. Where Evernote and OmniFocus are more all-in-one, Todo is the undisputed master of to-do lists and task management. Through this wonderful little creation, you’ll be able to organize the mundane and complicated without too much rigamarole, set timers, and remember important dates.

8. OmniFocus 3

  • Unrivaled organization of entire projects, on the fly
  • Well designed UX/UI
  • Easy to learn

Ten years on, OmniFocus has really matured from its early days and has more than earned its spot among the best graphic design apps in the world. It can manage just about everything in your life and boasts a powerful array of designer-specific features that allow you to prototype, take notes, reach your team, and keep projects organized, no matter where you are. If you want a one-stop-shop that will keep you from missing deadlines and help you remember that killer idea you had en route to the office, you’ve come to the right place.

Art Design Apps

9. Palettes Pro

  • Super-focused app
  • Can select a palette from photographs
  • Speeds up production

For a few bucks, you’ll have access to one of the most versatile palette design apps on the market. Take a photo and use the app to sort a palette from the hues automatically, or hand-design your own and let the app take the guesswork out of contrast and brightness. It can really speed up production, and the ease-of-use makes it well worth the investment.

10. Autodesk Sketchbook

  • Simple, Clean UI
  • Easy to learn
  • Professional-grade
  • Free

Probably among the best free design apps available anywhere, Sketchbook is powerful, lightweight and available on just about every OS out there. The features are easy to understand—and fun to use. Best of all? It’s completely free. No premium to worry about, ever! Expand your catalogue of content with truly breathtaking digital art to make your portfolio shine.

Video Design Apps

11. DesignLab Photo & Video Editor

  • Great for social media sharing
  • Quality templates for designs
  • Great customization features

With a nice selection of templates (over 1000!) and the ability to customize every element, DesignLab offers a useful app for designers with busy lives who need to crank our content, even while on the go. Edit typography, set Pantones, and elevate your social media presence all from the comfort of a single app with the marvelous price tag of $0. A worthy entry and one of the best graphic design apps for video editing.

Graphic Design Apps for iPhone

Photo Editing Design Apps

12. PhotoMarks

  • Easy to use
  • Well designed
  • Extremely Customizable

PhotoMarks is a tool available on the App Store for watermarking your online images. It allows you to apply text and logo watermarks to pictures shared through social media and email. The app is extremely easy to use and offers great customizable options as well. For example, you can adjust the size, font, shape, color, and transparency of your logo to get the exact look you want. Additionally, you can export photos in full resolution with no loss of quality.

13. Fuzel Collage

  • Award-winning
  • Extremely simple

Creating share-worthy images for social media and advertising purposes has never been easier, thanks to the integrated features in this little design app. Take any number of photographs and arrange them into wonderful collages, add text, and use editing filters to make minute adjustments to get things picture-perfect for when you’re ready to share to Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social media platform you use for your awesome work. It even sports animations, which can add interactive elements to your creations with a few simple taps. If you want a lightweight design app that will bring new life to your photos, give it a try.

14. Path On

  • Wide selection of custom options
  • Great font selection
  • Easily share on social media

Focused on adding text to photos, Path On is among the better specialist design apps available. There’s a great selection of customization options and plenty of fonts to pick from. It makes sharing your photos extremely straightforward, and is fully integrated with nearly every social media platform out there.

15. Exify

  • Extremely useful feature selection
  • Easy to use
  • Great for all skill levels

Exify provides a selection of tools for photographers that are ready to produce serious quality in their images. You can edit exposure and lenses, adjust color space, correct low-pixel details, change up color sampling and layout proportions, add copyright information and watermarks, and more. Turn your hard work into pure quality, and get your fanbase drooling with original head-turning photographs. When it comes to mobile graphic design apps, you’ll have a hard time topping Exify.

Productivity Design Apps

16. Over

  • Great for content creators
  • Social media focused
  • Great customization options

Social media branding tool Over is among the best mobile graphic design apps for web content creators. It helps you find fonts and templates, and lets you combine the two in fashion ads, photo spreads, posters, and more. It even has photo-editing tools for those needing to improve the contrast on a shot or adjust brightness.

Art Design Apps

17. Draw Pad Pro

  • Fantastic for rapid prototyping
  • Easy, swift diagrams
  • Can help you organize your thoughts

A great way to take notes, sketch and organize on the go, Draw Pad Pro is starting to gain traction in the app store (it recently passed three million downloads) and has earned a spot as one of the best design apps for iPad. It’s straightforward to use, and the UI couldn’t be simpler to grasp. It’s invaluable for making quick notes whenever something pops into your head. If you’re always filled to the brim with ideas, why not give it a go—it might just bring your next concept to life in ways you never expected.

18. Adobe Photoshop Sketch

  • Mimics drawing on paper
  • Responsive
  • Professional-grade

This design app is surprisingly powerful and has earned as spot as one of the best graphic design apps. Photoshop Sketch is a top-shelf option for creating art, no matter your particular preferences or style. It’s designed to look and feel as if you’re drawing on paper: ink bleeds, colors blend.

19. Adobe Illustrator Draw

  • Clean, strong UI
  • Available on every major platform
  • Syncs to Adobe Cloud
  • Professional-grade

As a creative tool, Adobe Illustrator Draw is wonderful: it’s responsive, has a great UI, and is instantly understandable to even neophytes of design. Free-form vector designs are its forte, and you can do it anywhere, thanks to Adobe CC being so well integrated into numerous device types. (Want more Illustrator tips? Check out our round-up of Illustrator tutorials!)

Best Design Apps for Android

Photo Editing Design Apps

20. Adobe Photoshop Mix

  • Edit and enhance photos
  • Allows you to share with social media
  • Super-simple

Using layers, this design app will allow you to edit photos on the fly via your mobile device. Combine photos and enhance your pics with a variety of filters, then share them with your communities (it’s really handy for blogging and social media).

Productivity Design Apps

21. Adobe Comp CC

  • Gesture-based inputs allow editing with minimal headache
  • Seamlessly interfaces with other Adobe apps
  • Can speed up production

With this mobile graphic design app, you can create layouts in a minimal amount of time, thanks to being able to take it everywhere you go, on any device you own, with full access to the Creative Cloud. Focusing on gesture-based inputs, Adobe Comp CC is extremely well-designed. Design your site on your commute, and get it ready for import into Photoshop when you get to the office, all with a few simple taps.

Best Free Design Apps

Photo Editing Design Apps

22. Assembly

  • Useful for all skill levels
  • Create professional icons and logos
  • Masterful minimalist design

Assembly makes graphic design accessible to everyone. This powerful mobile graphic design app excels in minimalist design. It’s ideal for typography, logos, and icons, and sports one of the cleanest and most easily understood interfaces in the business. Take control of its many fantastic functions and design fresh and inspiring designs that can bring some new life to your online portfolio website. Templates make things even easier for those new to design, while Styles provide flexibility to every customizable element. Tagging friends and adding data to social media is included as well, making this a nice, well-rounded app for designers.

23. Snapseed

  • Functional, intuitive features
  • Well-reviewed
  • A great all-in-one photo editor

As a photo-enhancement design app, Snapseed stands out. It has a great reputation and is often one of the first online photo editors folks gravitate toward. There’s good reason for this: it has a large arsenal of easy-to-use editing tools that allows you to adjust color composition and sharpness, plus cropping, perspective correction, and HDR are ready to go. With the packaged creative filters you can easily change the mood of your photos; the app even lets you customize its own settings for a final layer of personalization not common in many design apps.

24. Adobe Photoshop Express

  • Extremely easy to pick up
  • Powerful photo editor
  • Syncs to Adobe Cloud
  • Great for social media

What a great image editor! With this design app, you’ll have access to most of the features you’re used to in Photoshop. Upload them to the Adobe Cloud and get them posted to your social media (or your design portfolio, right from your mobile device.

Productivity Design Apps

25. Adobe Capture CC

  • Unique tool with many nuances
  • Makes producing palettes a breeze
  • Good for generating original content

This is a really neat entry, and one of the best free graphic design apps for Android. Using your mobile device, you’ll be encouraged to look for patterns, vibrant colors, and amazing elements all around you in the real world. After capturing them in a photo, you can convert them into amazing design assets. Find fonts, generate palettes, and create patterns with the click of a button.

26. Evernote

  • Extremely useful features
  • Lets you organize your thoughts
  • Clean UI
  • Syncs with other apps

A favorite among UX designers, this design app is perhaps one of the most useful on the list, giving you a place to organize your thoughts. It can do a lot of other things, too: you can pull images from the web, design templates, sync your notes to all your devices, scan documents, communicate with your team, and even link up with other apps.

27. Fontli

  • Hyper-focused on fonts
  • Huge, friendly community

Fontlii is an app with a slightly different focus than many other design apps—it’s all about the typography. There’s lots of inspiration to be had here: cruise through the categorized lists, find the name of that elusive typeface you’ve looked everywhere for, and reach out across the global typographic community to meet new faces and connect with other typoholics.

Art Design Apps

28. Tayasui Sketches

  • Best-in-class brush features
  • Free design app
  • Professional-grade

Tayasui has a reputation for being among the best free design apps available. It sports great brush tools:seriously, the brushes are amazing. They’re super-responsive and feel just like the real thing. There’s also stylus integration, and a seamless and easy-to-use interface that will have you drawing amazing things in no time at all. If painting is more your thing, it has you covered there, too! With the included painting features you’ll be well-positioned to create a masterpiece that will make your online art portfolio shine.

29. Behance

  • Extremely popular
  • Share creations easily
  • Generate a fanbase
  • Find endless inspiration

This ranks among the best free design apps on the market; it is a leading platform you can use to showcase your art or discover the wonderful works of other creatives around the globe. It’s a commons for imagination, and you’ll find endless inspiration curated for your viewing every single day. Sharing your creations with the world has never been easier, and generating a following interested in your work is a snap.

30. Type:Rider

  • Nothing else like it
  • Masterfully designed
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Educational

Here’s a truly unique and amazing one (and, in our opinion, easily among the best free design apps on this list): it’s a videogame…about typography! It’s a masterpiece of good game design, and features puzzles that will stump even typography masters. As you play, it will teach you various typographic rules—making you a better designer for it.

Video Design Apps

31. Filmic Pro

  • The most powerful video camera for mobile
  • Edit and upload videos
  • Powerful features

Filmic converts your iPhone into the an advanced video camera. It’s got cutting-edge tech and a super-responsive camera interface, and it can edit and post your videos, no matter where you are. Plus, it’s ready for most existing codecs. If you’re a vlogger, filmmaker, newscaster, or anyone else that relies on video to make your mark, then you need to check this app out. It’s a truly astounding product for such a low price tag.

Don’t Forget to Upload Your Masterpieces to Your Online Portfolio!

With such a wide variety of killer design apps out there, it’s easy to try something new! Dig into the various options on this list—especially ones that are outside your normal wheelhouse—and see what you can come up with. Then, make sure to upload your creations to your online design portfolio.

Don’t have one? Use a website builder to create one in minutes. Make sure to pick one with modern templates that work well with your brand identity. Another cool feature to look out for? Client proofing. That way, you can review proofs with your clients, right on your website.

We can’t wait to see the awesome creatives you’ll produce with these design apps!

Need more design inspiration?
45 InDesign Tutorials for Stunning Designs
Our Guide to Becoming a Video Game Designer
63 Fun 3D Printer Designs To Try


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