Top 10 Apps For Designers & Creative Professionals

As creative professionals, we use our phones and tablets to run our businesses, keep track of our goals and propel our futures. There are so many apps available, but which ones are worth your time? Today we’ll be looking at some of the apps that I use regularly to make my life easier and take my business to new heights. I’ll provide some information on the included features, how I’m using the app and how it ranks from an accessibility perspective.

Our devices are the first line of communication for most of us. Phones originally had a singular purpose: allowing one party to make a voice call to another party. Over time these tiny computers morphed into our everything devices.

As creative professionals, we use our phones and tablets to run our businesses, keep track of our goals and propel our futures. There are so many apps available, but which ones are worth your time? Today we’ll be looking at some of the apps that I use regularly to make my life easier and take my business to new heights. I’ll provide some information on the included features, how I’m using the app and how it ranks from an accessibility perspective.

This isn’t a definitive list, but rather my personal experience. This list focuses on the mobile / phone version of each application. Many of these also offer tablet and web versions, but not everyone has a tablet or laptop, so that’s not our primary focus. I’ve included links to relevant app stores for easy access. There are some apps that are exclusive to iOS, but if anyone wants an Andriod option for any of these apps please let me know!

Apps For Creatives Pinterest Pin

Canva: Design, Photo & Video

Canva icon preview Price: Free
Accessibility Rating:
★★★

Download From The Apple App Store

Download From The Google Play App Store

Canva is one of my favorite apps for creating quick and beautiful designs. Canva started as a graphic editor and has expanded to so much more over the years. There are a variety of tools to help you create social media posts, planners, videos, t-shirts, wallpaper, posters and so much more. The possibilities are nearly endless. Canva is available on iOS, iPadOS, Andriod, and the web.

One of the strongest points for Canva is the price. It’s free to use most of the features and you can upgrade to Pro if you want unlimited access to Canva’s huge library of assets. There are a lot of people who’ll compare Canva to something like Photoshop. There are some excellent editing features like the background remover available on Canva; however, this isn’t the right comparison. Yes, Photoshop is way more powerful, but it’s also way more difficult to learn and way more expensive. Canva gives you the ability to jump right into a project and make something beautiful.

Canva takes the “jack of all trades” approach. There truly is something for everyone available within Canva. While I do know how to use many of the professional design apps, I find myself returning to Canva because I can whip a complex project quickly. Having so many assists at my disposal keeps the projects fresh and the clients happy. There is also the ability to jump from my iPhone, to my Andriod, to my iPad, and to my computer to work on projects seamlessly. I love a multiplatform app!

Procreate Pocket

Procreate icon preview Price: $4.99
Accessibility Rating:

Download From The Apple App Store

Procreate comes in two flavors: there is a version for the iPhone and a version for the iPad. The Procreate Pocket app shares some of the features available in the full Procreate iPad app, but they are completely separate. Procreate Pocket is useful for getting your sketches down when you’re on the go. For many artists, inspiration doesn’t wait for you to grab your iPad and Apple Pencil. Having the flexibility to draw anywhere can be invaluable.

Procreate Pocket has an outstanding set of brushes and includes the ability to import your own custom brushes. The app contains all the features you would expect from a dynamic color picker to the ability to apply filters and effects to enhance your work. While Procreate Pocket doesn’t contain every feature offered in Procreate for the iPad, it’s a full-featured app for creatives. Unfortunately, Procreate and Procreate Pocket are only available for iOS and iPadOS devices.

GoodNotes 5

GoodNotes 5 icon preview Price: $7.99
Accessibility Rating:
★★★

Download From The Apple App Store

If you’ve spent any time in the planning or education communities you might be familiar with GoodNotes. GoodNotes is an app used for creating notebooks and marking up documents. This app goes beyond your standard PDF viewer and gives users a full suite of tools to bring their files to life. You’ll have to option to write, draw, type, and import media into your files and notebooks.

The most common uses for GoodNotes are notetaking and planning. The ability to combine different types of media in the same space gives creatives unlimited options for instructing their life, notes, or assignments in a way that brings out their best. If you need a place to map out your ideas, plan your next project, create client sketches or prepare for your classes; GoodNotes has you covered. The app is currently available for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.

mojo — Insta Story Maker

Mojo icon preview Price: Free
Accessibility Rating:
★★

Download From The Apple App Store

Download From The Google Play App Store

Social Media is a huge part of our career and personal lives. Conveying messages dynamically is one of the keys to creating an engaging and dynamic social media presence. Mojo is an app that allows you to create content in various sizes for popular sites such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook. There are several beautifully designed templates that you can customize to fit your brand’s aesthetic.

Creating stunning videos is easy with mojo. You’ll select a template and add in photos, videos, and text to customize your project. You can add some background music and choose fonts and typography that sets you apart from other creators. Once you’re done with your project, you can export the final piece directly to your social media platform or you can save it and upload it manually. There are a few templates and free features, but like with most apps, you get the most from having a premium subscription. There are both monthly and yearly plans to choose from.

Note: The mojo app is available on both iOS and Android, but you cannot share a subscription across both platforms at the time of writing this article. That means that if you pay for a subscription on iOS you can’t use that subscription on Android. You’ll need to pay twice. So, if you’re like me and have multiple devices, buy the subscription on the device that you’ll use the most for creating content.

InShot – Video Editor

Application icon preview Price: Free
Accessibility Rating:
★★

Download From The Apple App Store

Download From The Google Play App Store

There are those people who are spectacular video editors, and there’s the rest of us. If you fall into the second category of people InShot can be a lifesaver. It’s a great editor to get your social media content looking super snazzy and if you’ve got the patience for the small screen, you can edit full-length videos. There’s an iPad version, but I prefer LumaFusion when I’m editing video on the iPad.

Where InShot really shines is the ability to crop videos to fit all those crazy social media sizes. It also has some created text, background effects, sounds, and stickers to make video magic happen. Most importantly, the app is easy to use. The icons and layout are very intuitive, even for beginners. There are some paid features, but honestly, the free version has everything most people will need to put out some awesome videos.

Drafts

Application icon preview Price: Free
Accessibility Rating:
★★★★★

Download From The Apple App Store

At first glance a text editor might not be at the top of your list for creative apps, but hear me out. As a creative, you have a lot things to manage, emails to write, brand deals to review, clients to appease and content to revise. Dafts can handle all of this and more. Drafts isn’t your average text editor. There are a ton of features that help you stay organized and in control.

Let’s say ou want to start a Twitter storm about your passion for rainbow colored pancakes. You can type the full essay in Drafts and share it out bit by bit to Twitter. Or what if you’re researching the history of fashion design for a proposal that your writing? You can use Drafts to collect, store and then explore all of your findings into central document that you can reference easily. The power of Drafts can take your research and planning up a few notches while making your life easier in the process. The app is free on iOS, iPadOS and macOS with the option for monthly or yearly subscriptions.

Unread: An RSS Reader

Application icon preview Price: Free
Accessibility Rating:
★★★★★

Download From The Apple App Store

How do you find inspiration and stay informed? Do you scroll down your feed and just read whatever shows up? Or maybe you’re the type of person that goes directly to your favorite website to see what they’ve posted lately. There’s a better way my friend. Unread is a beautifully designed RSS reader that can keep all of your favorite blogs and news sources in one place. If you’ve never heard of it, RSS is a standardized system for the distribution of content from an online publisher. So it’s basically a list of all the articles published on a website. You can use an RSS reader like Unread to subscribe to a collection of websites and see all your favorite content in one place. This is great for having art, design, or fashion sites all show up in one central place. This stops you from relying on a social media site to decide what you get to see. It also makes it easy to focus and engage with the inspirational content you enjoy.

Unread is not only beautiful, but it’s functional. There are features to help you bookmark, archive, and share the content that you’re loving. A huge part of your social media presence is sharing content from popular sources. Unread makes it easy to share directly to social media sites, Later, Buffer, Tailwind and etc. Unread is available for iOS and iPadOS.

SwiftScan – Document Scanner

Application icon preview Price: Free
Accessibility Rating:
★★★★

Download From The Apple App Store

Download From The Google Play App Store

I’m not a fan of paper documents. They take up space, they aren’t searchable and you can never find them when you need them. When I’m handed a paper document, receipt or piece of mail that I’d like to keep I scan that information and put the paper into the recycling bin. Enter SwiftScan: an outstanding app for processing all the paper in your life. I’ve tried multiple scanning apps and I haven’t found one with as many options as SwiftScan. I also find the auto-detection and color modes are a bit better than other apps I’ve tried.

SwiftScan can do more than just your basic document scanning. It does a great job with full color prints and sketches too. It’s one of my favorite ways to get my sketches from paper to digital. The color enhancements make even the basic black and white sketches come out clean and crisp so they’re ready for me to digitize in Adobe Illustrator. I know what you might be thinking, and yes, Adobe does make an app that can vectorize your sketches. Here’s the thing though, not everyone is in Adobe’s ecosystem. If you are, great! But I think it’s important to be able to accomplish these type of tasks without being tied to an entire ecosystem.

SwiftScan has all the features you would expect from a document scanner, plus tagging, folders, multiple export options and themes to personalize the app. The subscription can be pricy, but the free app will get the job done for anyone looking to digitize a few things here and there.

1Password – Password Manager

1Password icon preview Price: Free
Accessibility Rating:
★★★★★

Download From The Apple App Store

Download From The Google Play App Store

Sometimes being a creative professional requires more from the professional side than the creative side. As a creative, you probably spend a good amount of time on the internet. People who spend time on the internet usually have a lot of passwords for all the different sites they encounter. And have you noticed that every site has its own rules for password strength? To be as secure as possible online, every website should have a strong, unique password. You’re thinking, “Yes Eryn, I know that. I don’t have time to make up some random passwords for every single website. I’m busy creating magic over here.” I hear you my fellow creative! That’s why a password manager has your back.

There are a lot of password managers out there. They basically all accomplish the same goal: keep your passwords in a central location so you can find them later. There are a few big contenders in this category, mainly LastPass, 1Password, and Dashlane. These apps offer similar features, but my pick goes to 1Password for its interface and iOS-centric approach to the application. 1Password offers a better solution to password management. The app can create strong passwords, automatically fill those passwords and the website, store those passwords securely, and alert you if your password has been compromised. Where 1Password goes beyond other password managers is with the Pracy.com integration. Privacy is a service the generates single-use and merchant-specific debit card numbers. This protects your information if a website is compromised. By protecting your passwords and card information you have a better chance of staying safe on the internet.

Pixelcut: AI Graphic Designer

Pixelcut icon preview Price: Free
Accessibility Rating:
★★

Download From The Apple App Store

Download From The Google Play App Store

Pixelcut is wonderful for anyone who has an online shop or sales physical products. The app allows you to take your bland product images and really transform them! You can perfectly remove backgrounds, add colors, shapes, text, and animations. The app specializes in creating product photography that works across all the social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, Tumblr etc.

Presenting your products in a visually appealing way is critical to selling products. No matter how awesome your product is, no one will take the time to engage with your items if they aren’t aesthetic. As creatives and small business owners, we are the face of our brand. Pixelcut can create amazing profile pictures by removing the background, adding special effects and improving the quality of the photo. There are monthly and yearly subscriptions available. The app can be used for free, but it really requires a subscription to get the most out of the app. Pixelcut is available on iOS and iPadOS.

Conclusion

Running your creative business from your mobile device has never been easier! There are so many apps available to help you with every aspect of your daily to-do list. Many of the popular apps are available on iOS and Android, but there are some iOS exclusive apps. If you’d like a list that’s more Andriod specific just let me know and I’ll take a look at the Andriod equivalents of these apps. We can also take a look at some of the Mac exclusives too.

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