Which are the best iPad apps for designers? There are certainly some strong contenders. Here, we bring you 12 of the best iPad apps that'll help designers produce great work.
The iPad is a fantastic tool for designers. It can allow you to sketch out ideas while out and about, or even help you produce a finished piece, particularly if used in conjunction with a
good iPad stylus. There are many apps that can help designers make the most out of their iPad, but which are worth downloading?
We've collected 12 iPad apps that we think are the most useful apps for designers into one article for you here. Of course, they're only the tip of the iceberg, so if you're a designer and you've got a favourite app that hasn't made it onto our list, let us know about it on Twitter or in the comments below.
Read on to find out what our favourite iPad apps for designers are.
If you use an Android tablet, take a look at our round-up of the
5 best Android apps for designers.
Astropad Graphics Tablet is an iPad app, but it works with a Mac app to turn your iPad into a graphics tablet.
Yes, that's right, you can use your iPad to draw directly into Photoshop or another applications on your Mac including Illustrator, Lightroom, Corel Painter, Manga Studio, Pixelmator, Mischief with Astropad.
It features palm rejection, pinch and zoom, customisable shortcuts and importantly, pressure sensitivity to allow it to work with lots of styluses, including many of those featured in our best stylus round-up.
View Astropad Graphics Tablet on the App Store.
Adobe has put some real effort into making great mobile apps for designers over the past year or so, and we'd highly recommend trying them out. If you've got a CC membership, you'll get access to all of the features in each of these apps as part of your subscription.
They're all designed to work seamlessly with Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC on your desktop, enabling you to work on your iPad while you're on the move and pick right back up where you left off when you begin working on your laptop or desktop computer.
The first app from Adobe we'd recommend for designers is Adobe's Color CC app, which is the renamed, redesigned version of Kuler. Use it to capture colour palettes at any time, whether it's from an image you've spotted on the web or a beautiful flower bed you've just come across on holiday. Those palettes, which Adobe calls color themes, will be automatically saved to Creative Cloud Libraries so you can access them from any device or share them with other designers on your team.
View Adobe Color CC on the App Store.
If you're a layout designer, Adobe Comp CC is probably going to be the app you use most on your iPad. It lets you create print, web and mobile layouts quickly and easily, and will also transform your drawings into accurate graphics, whether it's a circle, square or other shape that's quite tricky to draw using your finger.
As with the other Adobe apps, you'll get access to Creative Cloud Libraries for collaborating or working across devices, and you'll be able to send layouts to Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign with one tap to finish them off on your desktop.
View Adobe Comp CC on the App Store.
The final iPad app in our list is FontBook. It's a useful tool for designers as it offers an up-to-date library of typefaces from 145 international type foundries. That means that there are over 730,000 typeface samples within the app for you to browse through.
You can browse by Class, Foundry, Designer, Year or Name, or you can search if you've got a particular font family, foundry or designer in mind. Plus, there are font lists that let you search by criteria such as genre, stylistic period, similarity or popularity.
Add fonts to your favourites to come back to later when you're about to start a new project or get to work on a design that requires type.
View FontBook on the App Store.
Adobe Illustrator Draw is the evolution of the popular Adobe Ideas app, which was redesigned and renamed late last year like Kuler was. It still brings the ability to draw vector illustrations to the iPad, and therefore the fingertips of designers, but it also offers new tools to make things even easier.
You'll be able to create perfect lines and curves thanks to the Touch Slide digital ruler, add images from multiple sources including the Creative Cloud Market for tracing and collage, and you'll get access to familiar tools including customisable brushes, the paint bucket, eyedropper, layers and 50-level undo/redo.
Support for pressure sensitive styli including Adobe's own
Ink & Slide offers added appeal, too.
View Illustrator Draw on the App Store.
There's also a Line app that is designed to work closely with Ink & Slide but works even if you don't have the stylus and ruler hardware. It lets you draw grids that are easily adjustable and scalable, using drafting tools including rulers, French curves, shape templates and smart spacing.
Your work will automatically be uploaded to Creative Cloud for you to access on any device, and it's also closely integrated with Behance where you can share what you're working on and get feedback.
View Illustrator Line on the App Store.
Paper is a gorgeously designed sketchbook app that could come in really handy for doodling ideas or sketching up designs while on the move.
The expressive ink engine means that, even when you're using your finger to draw in the app, the results are generated reacting to your movements, so the lines won't be consistent in thickness for a more natural sketching experience. Better still you can use the app with
FiftyThree's Pencil stylus for even better results.
Earlier this year, FiftyThree
made all of its in-app purchases completely free (the app itself is free to download, too) so you can get the Sketch, Outline, Write, Color and Mixer tools without having to pay a penny. It's always been a free download that comes with its basic tool called Draw, but additional tools used to cost 69p each.
It's a really intuitive app, allowing you to use gestures to move between sketchbooks quickly and fluidly. You can rewind by using two fingers to return to any previous point in your sketch too. Email pages from your Paper journals via email, or publish them straight to Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter.
View Paper by FiftyThree on the App Store.
Photoshop Sketch offers up drawing tools including a graphite pencil, ink pen, blending markers and an eraser, as well as brushes including acrylic and pastel. It's essentially the design tools from Photoshop condensed into a mobile app, so you should find it familiar and infinitely useful.
There's also the Photoshop Mix app that's aimed more at photographers than designers but could come in handy. It's where you'll find Photoshop's other tools including Content-Aware Fill and Camera Shake Reduction, as well as other image enhancement features.
Both are connected to Creative Cloud and are free as part of your subscription.
View Adobe Photoshop Sketch in the App Store.
View Adobe Photoshop Mix in the App Store.
Another great app for drawing, sketching and digital painting is Autodesk's free Sketchbook app. It's designed to be as natural as possible, mimicking the physical experience of using pencils, pens, markers or brushes on paper.
With the free app, you'll get a selection of 10 preset brushes, synthetic pressure-sensitivity, a layer editor with up to 3 layers and 16 blending modes, and symmetry and proportional transform tools.
If you're willing to pay the £2.99 in-app purchase price for the Pro features, you'll get more than 100 brushes, the full Copic Color Library, more layers and blending modes, gradient fills and advanced selection tools.
View Autodesk Sketchbook on the App Store.
Shape is a pretty clever app from Adobe that lets you capture a vector from any image. You can use your iPhone or iPad's camera to take a photo of a shape you like, and use the sliders to create the vector shape you're after. That vector can then be used in the other Adobe apps mentioned in this round-up, as well as the desktop Adobe apps, thanks to the Creative Cloud connection.
View Adobe Shape CC on the App Store.
Available for free but with in-app purchases for additional functionality, Tayasui Sketches is another great app for designers. It's similar to Paper in that it offers sketchbooks in which you can jot down ideas or create beautiful pieces of work.
Tools include a pencil, watercolour brush, felt pen, eraser and more. Tools available via in-app purchases (£1.99 or £3.99 for the Pro Version) include layers and the ability to export layers as PNGs with transparency, as well as the ability to use a pressure sensitive stylus and some extra tools such as oil pastels and airbrush.
View Tayasui Sketches on the App Store.