30 beautifully designed and functional mobile apps

There are an unimaginable number of apps available for smartphone users now, so it takes a lot to stand out in the crowd — both in functionality and design.

We sloshed through hundreds of these apps to pick out some of the most beautiful mobile apps specifically for designers. So, turn your phone into your own little robotic personal assistant! The apps have been sorted into 7 categories:

  • Plan: Plan your day, your week, your year and your design life.
  • Explore: Explore imagery from all over the web and keep it organized and accessible.
  • Experiment: Make your own artwork! Not all art or design has to be for work — it can be fun too.
  • Game: The best way to learn is to do it in an entertaining way. Challenge yourself!
  • Type: Typography can be a difficult skill to learn, but there are a lot of learning tools and reference guides to help you with it.
  • Photograph: Capturing images from the world around you can be one of the easiest ways to find inspiration for your design work.
  • Share: Don’t keep all of your great work to yourself — share it with all of your social groups.

1. Plan

Rise

App

What is it? An alarm clock to get your creative day started.
Price: $1.99
Download: iOS

Sunrise

app

What is it? A beautifully designed interface for Google Calendar — keep track of all your meetings and appointments.
Price: Free
Download: iOS

TeuxDeux

app

What is it? Keep a simple day-to-day list of your design and personal tasks.
Price: Free
Download: iOS

Google Keep

app

What is it? A to-do list on steroids — keep all of your ideas, notes, photos and lists in the same colorful place.
Price: Free
Download: Android

Mint

app

What is it? Keep an eye on your earnings.
Price: Free
Download: iOS and Android

Everest

app

What is it? Plan and share your bigger life goals with this community of achievers!
Price: Free
Download: iOS

2. Explore

Feedly

app

What is it? It’s an RSS feeder but much prettier and more organized.
Price: Free
Download: iOS and Android

Kuvva

app

What is it? Browse through a huge selection of iPhone backdrops, curated from great designers around the world.
Price: $1.99
Download: iOS

Flipboard

app

What is it? Make your own “magazine” out of the images and stories that inspire you most from around the web.
Price: Free
Download: iOS and Android

Press

app

What is it? Android’s beautification of GoogleReader — another RSS aggregator.
Price: $2.99
Download: Android

3. Experiment

Visualator

app

What is it? Computer Art’s dedication to the collage: Create vibrant abstractions out of colors, shapes and patterns.
Price: Free
Download: iOS

Gravilux

app

What is it? Originally released as an interactive project in art galleries by Scott Sona Snibbe, Gravilux lets you manipulate the pixel-based shapes on screen.
Price: $1.99
Download: iOS and Android

SKTCH

app

What is it? Who said digital sketching has to be all brush-based? Not the creators of SKTCH, who created a generative drawing tool using presets made by a global network of digital artists.
Price: $1.99
Download: iOS

asdfbmp

app

What is it? Pixel art generator based on the retro bitmap style.
Price: $1.99
Download: iOS

4. Game

The Font Game

app

What is it? Test yourself with I Love Typography’s Font IQ app.
Price: $1.99
Download: iOS

eBoy FixPix

app

What is it? Puzzle together eboy’s intricate digital art pieces.
Price: $0.99
Download: iOS

EYE vs EYE

app

What is it? Compete against another user to see who can precisely match a color the most accurately and quickly, using only RGB sliders.
Price: $0.99
Download: iOS

PRESS CHECK

presscheck

What is it? Game inspired by print plate alignment — going old school in speed and accuracy.
Price: $0.99
Download: iOS

Year Walk

app

What is it? A haunting and beautifully illustrated first-person video game, based on Swedish folklore.
Price: $3.99
Download: iOS

5. Type

The Typography Manual

app

What is it? All the details you need about your favorite fonts.
Price: $3.99
Download: iOS

Fontbook

app

What is it? According to their website, it’s the “world’s most comprehensive typographic reference tool,” where you can browse through over 37,000 typefaces.
Price: $0.99
Download: iOS

Overgram

app

What is it? Layer creative typography over your photography.
Price: Free
Download: iOS

6. Photograph

Luminance

app

What is it? Easy to use on-the-go photoediting tool.
Price: $0.99
Download: iOS

Color Thief

app

What is it? Steal the dominant colors from 1 image and infuse them into another.
Price: $0.99
Download: iOS

Cinemagram

app

What is it? It’s the Instagram of cinemagraphs! Create easy cinemagraphs with your phone and share them with your friends.
Price: Free
Download: iOS and Android

Shutterstock

app

What is it? Access Shutterstock’s library of images from your mobile device.
Price: Free
Download: iOS

7. Share

Qwiki

app

What is it? The app creates stylish movies around images and brief videos that you shoot yourself.
Price: Free
Download: iOS

Bump

app

What is it? Share files with others wirelessly through bumping your phones together.
Price: Free
Download: iOS and Android

Static

app

What is it? Measure your social media effectiveness.
Price: $1.99
Download: iOS

Path

app

What is it? A social networking app that allows you to share information 1-to-1, or post to all of your social media outlets at once.
Price: Free
Download: iOS

Share your favorite apps in the comments!

The author

Kaitlyn Ellison
Kaitlyn Ellison

Kaitlyn is part of the Community Team at 99designs.com. She grew up in Boulder, CO and went to school at Northwestern University in Chicago. When she's not blogging, she spends her time having adventures and being generally creative. She's all about having new experiences as often as possible!

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