The best graphic design apps reduce the time it takes you to perform a function and improve workflow. But not just any old will do, it is important to use apps that provide a notable benefit – and are preferably free. Or at least low cost.
Freelancers and brands need to use all kind of apps, programs or tools in order to use their time. Because when you work on your own, time is synonym of money.
To know everything about what is graphic design can improve your business profits, but you need to work effectively if you want to see good results as soon as possible.
The best graphic design apps you must discover
Here, you can find a comprehensive guide about apps that are going to help you on your day to day.
We can’t always guarantee free and low-cost in our selection, but (in our opinion) this bunch of bad boys are some of the best apps for graphic designers available and can be synced with your design software.
Adobe Ideas by Adobe
Adobe Ideas is the iPhone companion of Illustrator and allows you to sync work you are doing in the latter to make refinements.
For a free tool, Adobe Ideas is a surprisingly powerful piece of kit that includes an excellent brush selection, color sliders, and up to 10 layers which can be moved and resized.
Adobe Kuler by Adobe
Another free Adobe app we love is Kuler. It is restricted to Apple users, but has one of the finest color pallets available to graphic designers – and can also be synced with Adobe Ideas above to put final touches to your artwork.
Editor’s note: There are actually a couple of other Adobe apps we could easily add to the list but have emitted them on the grounds that we don’t want to appear to be an Adobe marketing mouthpiece.
Design Duet by Forging Design Studios
If you’re using Photoshop Remote Connections, Design Duet is the best graphic design app to let you see how your design will look on an iPhone once the design goes live.
We love it because of its simplicity – click on the app, enter your password and your changes immediately appear. You can even save the preview to your camera roll or share the image with other Apple devices.
Evernote by Sketchbook B
When you’re working with various devices and applications, you want an easy-to-access storage locker you can save ideas, thoughts and screenshots to on any device.
Evernote is not only compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows, but also syncs the platforms to make it easy to find everything you’ve captured.
Fontstruct by Fontstruct
Now that big and bold typography is becoming a graphic design trend, having a wide choice of fonts at your disposal is critical. But that is exactly what FontStruct give you and with a flexible editor that is easy to use, you can easily craft your own typography as well.
You can even share your fonts with other users, or help yourself to any fonts you fancy that have been created by other graphic designers. And all for free!
Fontographer by FontLab
If you want a fully-kitted out typography kit for serious professionals, you can’t get better than Fotographer. The only drawback, or rather setback, is the squeaky bum price tag of $408.99.
It’s not compatible with Android either so not possible to use on any mobile device, but it does have some extremely powerful tools that are not available on other font kits.
Framer Studio by Motif Tools
If you’re using Photoshop or Sketch, Framer Studio is the logical app to improve your workflow. The strength of this tool is its capacity for prototyping animation, interactions and interfaces, and although the package costs an eye-watering $129, is a worthwhile investment.
You can always take advantage of the free trial to get a feel for the software and determine whether it is the right tool for you before you purchase.
InkScape by Hinerangi Courtenay
If you are looking for a free and flexible drawing tool as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw, InkScape is your answer. Considering this is a free tool, we think it’s one of the best graphic design apps out there and is also ideal for illustrators and web designers thanks to the SVG, XML and CSS support as standard.
The app gives you everything you need to design vector graphics including tracing, path operations and direct XML editing.
GIMP by The Gimp Team
GIMP is a free open-source photo-editing suite. It’s a highly popular tool with graphic designers because it is well-supported and updated at fairly frequent intervals.
The software is not a million miles off the capabilities of Photoshop and gives you the basic functions of touching-up photos, correcting color and resizing images together with more complex tasks such as image composition and creation.
Mindnode by Ideasoncanvas
Mindnode enables you to brainstorm and organize your visual representations from a nugget of an idea into a fully blown concept.
The app is only available from the App Store, but is an essential tool that helps graphic designers navigate through your work by providing a bird’s-eye view which makes planning so much easier to fathom.
Photo Editor by Aviary
We sense that we have neglected Android users a little in this round-up so we’re throwing this one in especially for you. Photo Editor is a photo editing app that enables you to add quirky touches to your artwork such as sharpen, blur and other cool photo effects.
Plus you can add in your own illustrations and text. Additional features can be purchased for a small fee.
Pixate by Pixate
Pixate is a multi-platform app that recently teamed up with Google so you can validate designs and test functionality from any device. The makers of the app claim their product is the most “powerful prototyping app on the planet.”
Whilst it’s difficult to disagree with that boast, we can’t confirm it one way or the other as we haven’t tested every prototyping app.
But once you’ve used pixate, there really isn’t any need to try any others because the app lets you upload layers and add interactions and animations in a few clicks without writing any code. Then you can check your work on Chrome as if the design were live.
Text Fixer by TextFixer.com
For a free browser-based tool, you can’t go wrong with Text Fixer to… well, you know what to use it for. You can clear unnecessary spaces and clean up body text or arrange a list into alphabetical order.
Vector Snap by Andreas Borg
This app is a great time-saver and when you’re working with vectors, you should give Vector Snap a whirl. All you have to do is snap an object you want use with your phone’s camera, then use the Vector Snap app to create a unique image instantly.
If you’re not too keen on the outcome, use the apps pixels, filters, text tool and advanced color lab to modify the image, or save it to your desktop and touch it up in your graphic design software.
Wunderlist by Wunderlist
Graphic designers are often too busy to organize your schedule in any coherent fashion. But the Wunderlist app can help you with that.
Fitted with a schedule you can share with others, Wunderlist allows you to create lists, have conversations with other designers working on the project, set due dates and reminders. Any lists you share are updated and synced in real-time so everybody is on the same page in an instant.
Tools to help graphic designers
Work with good tools and apps let you have more free time to draw graphic design inspiration and improve your projects.
Internet is full of free or low-cost apps that are excellent job partners, and it’s important to know and try them. Maybe, if you dedicate some time to try them, you’ll find your best options.
We appreciate there are loads of other great apps and graphic design tools out there, so why not share your favourite tools and tell us what you think are the best graphic design apps.
At MadridNYC we use some of this apps, so if you need help to choose one, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to assist you!