Essential iPad apps for designers & PM’s

November 6, 2012

Below are a selection of apps for the Apple iPad that I recommend as being very helpful, and once you have used a few times, very near impossible to do without (unless you have to). I use an iPad so have only selected apps for this device, if you have other manufacturers copies of the iPad, other similar apps may exist.

Oh and incase you are about to google it, PM’s are Project Managers…

Adobe Proto £6.99

proto image

Adobe Proto lets you create wireframes of websites and apps right on your tablet

There are quite a few wireframing tools available for iPad (such as the excellent iMockups) but Proto from Adobe really stands out. I love its gestures – you can really quickly wireframe a site or app and get your idea across to someone in no time at all.

Adobe Collage £6.99


Adobe Collage lets you assemble creative moodboards combining images, drawings, video and text

When starting a creative project of any kind, a mood board is essential to get a flavour for the look and feel before you really put anything substantial together. Collage, enabling you to bring in images from your camera or those from Creative Cloud or Google Images, is a neat tool for exploring these when on the move.

When working on a project, creating visuals with a client is invaluable – it saves time, every single time you do it. Apps like this can triple productivity at client meetings. Combine a few apps here and you can be on target for a very good meeting, accurate specifications and a very happy customer.

Adobe Photoshop Touch, £6.99


Given how hugely complicated Photoshop for desktop is these days, a part of us wishes Adobe Photoshop Touch wasn’t just for iPad

It may not be Photoshop CS6, and Adobe Photoshop Touch isn’t without its limitations–there’s no RAW import, and the maximum image export size is 1600-by-1600; however, it retains enough of its desktop cousin’s features (and places them in a sleek, pared-down, tablet-optimised interface) to make it an essential purchase, and one of the best iPad apps for designers.

 Adobe Ideas, £6.99


Adobe Ideas: providing all of the colours (but, sadly, none of the skills) to enable you to draw pretty flowers

Suitably named, the thinking behind Adobe Ideas is to get visual brainwaves down rapidly. The app provides a simple but effective toolset for outlines, thumbnails and rough drawings, and you can draw over the top of images (photos, screen grabs) should you wish to. Usefully, exports are vector-based and so can scale indefinitely. “It’s a great app for fast sketching of any ideas and designs”.

Palettes Pro, £3.99


Palettes Pro might have an interface that breaks your eyes, but it’s great for rapidly creating colour schemes

Although the previous products showcase how the iPad can enable you to create artwork, some apps turn your device into a focussed environment for critical ancillary tasks. For example, Palettes Pro provides the means for creating myriad colour schemes, either from scratch, through the use of colour models, or by grabbing colours from photographs and websites. “I really like the way it enables easy colour capture, and how it gives you the ability to build themes for anything you like”.

FontBook, £3.99


Beautiful typography? Check. New iPad? Check. An absurd amount of time wasted with FontBook? Definitely

‘Comprehensive’ is perhaps the best word to describe FontBook, which documents over 100 type foundries, representing 1650 type designers, constituting 35,000 fonts. Over-the-air updates ensure the data is always up to date, but Mall is most impressed by the manner in which the app enables you to explore typefaces: “There are resources online for browsing type categorically, but this app lets me browse non-linearly, which makes for a completely organic discovery experience.”

LiveView (free)


LiveView shows your Mac’s screen on an iPad, so you can prototype interfaces (or, in this case, actually start making one).

Many modern designers are immersed in designing for mobile, but smartphones and tablets boast wildly different resolutions to desktop monitors, and so it can be tough to visualise how work will look on device screens. LiveView is one of the best iPad apps for quick ‘n’ dirty simulation, which mirrors your computer screen on a connected iPad. Sorry if you don’t use Mac’s – maybe think about getting one, they are the better design option.


iMockups, £4.99


A top-secret prototype taking shape in iMockups.

iMockups turns wireframing into a tactile activity, enabling you to drag app or website components around and resize them with ease. “It’s one of the best iPad apps for quickly creating wireframe prototypes,” It’s extremely simple to use with its intuitive UX and I find the app invaluable for focusing on a site’s foundations, free from detail. Built-in linking functionality is also a nice touch, allowing you to create interactive prototypes.”

Mockups – the first and simplest task to get your iPad into a meeting with a client, it will allow you to viaualise and explain how designs will come to life. Most people lack the ability to imagine or visualise a project as a finished site, app or what ever it is… Use all that technology has to offer and make your job, and your customers easier.


All prices are taken from iTunes and are correct at time of publishing.

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