A fancy new iPad is the perfect travel companion for any designer. The richness of the large multi-touch screen makes for some incredibly useful and fun apps that can really drive your creativity.
Below we’ll look at 30 different apps spanning several categories that can help designers and creatives out with everything from jotting down notes and wireframing to staying on task.
You never know where you’ll be when inspiration will strike, so never leave home without your trusty sketchpad, or in the case, sketchpad app. Some of these are more for fun than professional work, but others really push the bar for the precision and finesse possible from drawing with your finger.
“The ultimate app for iPad. Stylish, powerful, and easy to use, Penultimate encourages you to take notes, keep sketches, or work through your next breakthrough idea– whether you’re in the office, on the go, or home on the couch. ”
Developer: Cocoa Box Design
“Precision 2D vector drawing & design in an intuitive and user friendly interface for the iPad and iPhone / iPod Touch.”
Developer: Samson Lopez
“Autodesk SketchBook Pro for iPad is a professional-grade paint and drawing application. Using the same paint engine as its desktop counterpart, SketchBook Pro delivers a complete set of sketching & painting tools through a streamlined and intuitive user interface designed exclusively for the iPad experience. ”
Developer: Autodesk Inc.
“Adobe Ideas is your digital sketchbook, letting you capture and explore ideas anywhere you go. Adobe Ideas is an ideal companion for the professional design applications from Adobe, including Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop software.”
Developer: Adobe Systems Incorporated
“Qvik Sketch Pro is one those cool things that you just plain need on your iPhone and iPad. Draw sweet looking sketches quickly regardless of your drawing skills. Qvik Sketch Pro makes bad looking pictures look good, and great looking drawings look awesome. Try it, draw it, share it.”
“iDraw is the most feature-packed vector illustration and drawing app available on the iPad. With support for Layers, Text, Images, Multi-color Gradients, Brushes, a powerful Bezier Pen Tool, fully customizable Canvas Styles, Clipping, PDF export, and much more!”
Developer: Indeeo, Inc.
“Sketchpad is vector drawing with your fingers. You can just draw with your fingers, it’s that simple. Sketchpad is designed to look as a sketchbook and can be treated as such; draw with your fingers and swipe left and right to flip pages. Sketchpad is a pure vector drawing application and this gives you a lot flexibility.”
Developer: Bohemian Coding
“SketchPad is a fun, easy to use drawing and note taking application for the iPad. SketchPad allows you to draw in a variety of colors, collect and browse through notes and share notes that you create on the iPad over email.”
Developer: SketchPad HD
“iDraft is a simple, easy to use notebook for iPad. You can draw a picture, make a record for a conference, or just write down what you have in your mind with iDraft.”
“Freeform is a vector drawing tool for your iPad. Create quick sketches, mockups, or diagrams with this powerful tool. Export your drawings via email in JPG, PNG, or PDF formats, or save to your photo library. Create new designs whenever or wherever inspiration strikes!”
Developer: Stunt Software
Typographiles will love seeing and interacting with fonts in a whole new way with these clever apps. Also be sure to check out the Helvetica notes app in the “Notes and Productivity” section below.
“iFontMaker is the first font editor exclusive for iPad. With the touch interface, your 100% original hand typeface can be done in 5 minutes. You can email the typography or convert it into a TTF file available in all applications such as Adobe CreativeSuite, Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows, and also in your web site as a web font!”
Developer: The 2TTF
“Typefaces is a font viewer for iPhone and iPad. This application shows you all the fonts in your device and all the glyphs included those fonts”
“TypeDrawing is a really easy app to use, but it’s perfect for creating typography art and unique watermarks over your photos. If you love typography, this poetic visual art app is absolutely yours.”
Developer: Hansol Huh
“Font Book for iPad is a nice and simple way to preview fonts on your new toy. Install fonts in app (not system) via iTunes File Sharing”
Mockups and Wireframing
The iPad is the perfect device for getting hands on with wireframing. The apps below make it easy to quickly rearrange elements and create new ideas.
“Mockups provides designers and developers with the ability to quickly draft wireframes for their websites and iPhone/iPad apps. Created exclusively for the iPad, iMockups combines a beautiful interface with intuitive functionality, taking full advantage of the breakthrough touchscreen device.”
Developer: Endloop Systems Inc.
“We are proud to offer you a new app for website sketching and apps interface making, including iPhone and iPad apps. This app will make designers, programmers, interface designers life much easier. Easy-to-use interface and a lot of various stencils will help you to mockup any web sites and apps interfaces.”
Developer: Nick Golovin
“Design interfaces for iPhone applications, on your iPad! Wireframe a screen on the go, and e-mail it to a friend or business partner with a single tap.”
Developer: Mutual Mobile, Inc
Notes & Productivity
Deadlines, conference calls, client meetings, and all kinds of other distractions are among the necessary evils of being a designer. Help keep track and manage it all with these great utilities.
“Things is a beautifully focused and amazingly intuitive task manager. Other todo applications either oversimplify or are too difficult to use. Things instead offers the perfect balance between ease of use and powerful features.”
Developer: Cultured Code
“Sorted is an intuitive To-do app, designed to help you sort your everyday tasks. Unlike many other task oriented apps out there, Sorted gets out of your way and lets you focus on what you need to do. ”
“We all take notes – somewhere. The iPad is the perfect device to collect our thoughts and organize our notes, but the apps available all leave something to be desired. HelvetiNote is here to simplify and improve your note taking experience. HelvetiNote was designed and built specifically to fill a void in the iPad app market, and offer us all a purist and more enjoyable means of collecting our thoughts.”
Developer: Rage Digital Inc.
“Daily Notes converts your iPad into a beautiful and elegant journal, cased inside a leather jacket. Whether you want to take notes in meetings, record key points while reading a book or would like to just jot down your passing thoughts – this app is for you.”
“A practical handwriting note-taking tool with palm detection, magnifier glass for writing fine text with big finger, stroke smoothening for faster writing, keyboard for typed text, PDF exporting, and Google Docs uploading.”
Developer: Viet Tran
“Jot notes with your finger, set alarms and save Stickies to your Home Screen.”
Developer: Electric Pocket
“Notebooks, the one and only notebook that you’ll ever need, is now available for the iPad. It has been optimized for and takes advantage of the iPad’s new capabilities, and thus delivers even more value and better experience than the original Notebooks for iPhone.”
Developer: Alfons Schmid
“Lovingly handcrafted for Apple’s revolutionary device, Notably is a simple and beautiful way to write on your iPad.”
“The best notes taking app on the iPad! Stunning user interface. Customize your notes with a choice of different paper textures and fonts. Organize your notes by Category & Subject”
Developer: App Apps, LLC
“Moodboard Pro is an amazing app for organizing all the things that inspire you. Our customers have used Moodboard Pro to design websites, plan weddings, visualize films, organize art projects, plan perfect vacations, achieve goals, create collages, and much more. Our beautiful, intuitive interface will help you create custom mood and inspiration boards right on your iPad. ”
Developer: A Tiny Tribe llc.
iPads and other e-readers are quickly replacing bookshelves and becoming the personal library of the future. Add to yours with these magazines tailored specifically for knowledge-hungry designers like you.
“Web Designer is the premier magazine for aspiring online creatives and industry professionals. The monthly title offers cutting-edge practical projects spanning XHTML, CSS, Flash and WordPress as well as hosting features and interviews with the web community’s most influential people.”
Developer: Pixel Mags
Price: $1.99 (Each Issue is $4.99)
“Computer Arts, the Italian magazine dedicated to digital design and computer graphics, is now available as an iPad App. Read our tutorials on Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, Illustrator and many more, discover our features about the world of design you love and how you can make money with your skills, and learn how the professionals create their masterpieces.”
Developer: Sprea Editori spa
The iPad may not be the optimal device for web development, but this app will come in handy when you’re out and about and need to make a quick change to a live site.
“Markup for iPad lets you connect to your websites and edit the text files within them.”
Developer: Soroush Khanlou
What Did We Miss?
The thirty apps above should go a long way towards filling your iPad with apps close enough to being work related that you can probably count them as tax deductions.
What great apps have you found that are fun and useful for creative types? Tell us about your favorites and leave a link below.