Graphic designers may prefer to use desktop applications for more flexibility and power. But with more and more creatives on the go and needing to go mobile, mobile apps for graphic design are more important than ever. We’ll be showcasing several of the best apps for designing, sketching, and drawing on the go.
Whether you want to scan in a drawing, do some painting, or sketch out ideas, these mobile apps are must-haves if you’re a designer or artist in 2020. Cover photo by: Artsy Crafty
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Best Mobile Apps for Graphic Design
Canva is known in the social media community as one of the best resources for amateur designers. This app is very basic in terms of graphic design, but even professional designers may like its simplicity over opening up Photoshop on their desktop. It lets users use templated designs and text to create great-looking social media graphics. You won’t be doing any high-level photo manipulation with Canva, but you can easily create an Instagram story in minutes that looks great. Choose from templates or create something yourself with your own elements.
Available for iOS, Procreate is an illustration-based design app. It has a truly extensive list of brushes to use. These brushes and pencil options are customizable and allow for creative sketches and illustrations. The whole app is very customizable, including the interface, gesture controls, and brush settings. This app pairs nicely with the Apple Pencil, which can use angle and pressure to create a realistic brush stroke.
This versatile app features a ton of tools, giving you a mobile experience similar to Photoshop or Illustrator. It has an infinite canvas and supports layers. It even features a pen tool. You’ll find features such as transform, vectorization, unlimited undo, customizable text tool, and more! It’s an intuitive layout that will serve as a fine substitute for the desktop Adobe programs.
While Infinite Design can be an alternative to Illustrator, there is a mobile version of Illustrator itself. This app has many of the same features. If you have Illustrator on your desktop, you can sync with the mobile app to continue working on a project between devices. Since it’s a mobile app, you probably shouldn’t do anything too complex here like logo design, but it”s great for doing a sketch and creating some basic vector illustrations that you draw. The app comes with five different pens and support for multiple layers.
While the normal Photoshop mobile app, Photoshop Express, has some photo editing features, Photoshop Mix gives you some key photo manipulation tools. This app lets you cut out and remove parts of images to merge multiple images. While not nearly as powerful as the desktop version of Photoshop, Photoshop Mix has some color adjustments and image filters that can help you composite photos more naturally.
Read our in-depth guide for Photoshop Mix: Adobe Photoshop Mix: An In-depth Guide for Beginners
We have another Adobe app to add to the list, and this one is Adobe Capture. This app serves a very specific purpose, but a useful one. Sometimes, especially when you’re on the go, it can be easier to sketch out an idea on a piece of paper. Capture lets you create vector graphics out of photos you capture, so that you can use them in Illustrator or Photoshop to refine and finish the image later. It also has some other fun features. You can take a photo of fonts you see out in the world, and Capture will identify similar fonts for you to look at. You can also capture colors, textures, and brushes based on things you see around you.
Autodesk Sketchbook is a graphic design app that has over 190 preset pencils, pens, and brushes to draw and paint. It has a focus on drawing with a simple interface, and has enough tools that you could take a sketch and turn it into a full illustration with color and shading. With a pencil stylus, artists and designers can get even more precise.
These apps are practically essential for graphic designers and illustrators, and you should almost certainly have at least one of these installed on your device. You’ll be able to sketch on the go, then refine your ideas when you get back to your desk!
Are you a photographer in addition to a designer? Then check out our top 20 mobile apps for photographers!