For the majority of designers, a typical day is diverse and without a lot of structure. Environments are widely variable, and mobile devices have become as critical an attachment as the computer. With mobile development evolving rapidly, designers can get more and more accomplished on the go, spending more time being creative and less time worrying about the tasks piling up at the studio.
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Below are 10 of the most essential mobile apps for designers, chosen for their utility, usability, and necessity. Even if you don’t own an Android or iPhone, this list can serve as inspiration for what you need to get next.
Voted one of the “5 Must-Have iPad Apps” by Wired magazine, this amazing app from Autodesk transforms your mobile device into the ultimate sketchbook. It boasts professional sketching capabilities, a rich toolset, and intuitive interface. With just your fingers, you can create anything from a rough sketch to deeply detailed artwork, and each file can be saved in a variety of formats or imported directly to PhotoShop.
Availability: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android
Palettes is a powerful iOS app for the iPad and iPhone4 that lets you create palettes on the fly from anything, anywhere. You can select colors from a snapshot, webpage or pre-made models and store them in a handy palette library. Tapping a color from the Palette view gives you all the detail you could possibly want in the form of RGB, CMYK, Gray percentage, and Web Hex values. If you opt for the pro version, you can even import palettes into a wide variety of graphic editing programs, including the Adobe Suite.
Availability: iPhone, iPad
Nearly 25% of websites on the internet today use WordPress, and as a designer, you probably have a WordPress portfolio of your own, or several clients that use this outstanding platform. While you can navigate through the dashboard from your web browser, the WordPress mobile app makes organizing and posting content extremely easy and efficient. It also enables you to share photos and videos directly from your phone, making it an absolute must for bloggers and blog designers.
This simple and free tool from developers Andrew Kaz & Phill Ryu turns your mobile iOS device into a virtual measuring stick using an impressively accurate interface that you adjust with a quick drag and tap. Measurements are displayed in inches or centimeter, depending on which option you choose, and are fine-tuned down to a fraction. This app is essential for drafting, wireframing, or project planning on the go, and keeps an entertaining log of everything you have measured and when.
Availability: iPhone, iPad
Things is a thorough productivity app loved by designers everywhere, regardless of the 10$ price tag. It uses logical categorization to sort your To Dos and then throws them at you based on where each task falls on the timeline. Each item can be tagged for diligent organization, such as Client, Errand, or Project, and notes attached to provide detail. If you are a Mac user, Things conveniently syncs with the desktop version via Wi-Fi to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Availability: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Dropbox is awarded a place on most essential design tool lists, and with good reason. It allows secure sync and transfer of files between any internet-connected device and offers a clean and simple mobile app for browsing your storage from anywhere. Items can be marked for action later, and viewed offline. Dropbox mobile is compatible with a wide variety of developer apps available from the Dropbox App Directory which extend its capabilities substantially, such as WiFi printing plugins, text editors and notifiers.
Availability: Android, iPhone, iPad,Blackberry
Tracking and invoicing your clients for meetings, errands and other on-the-go activities is a crucial task that must be done accurately. Billings Touch gives you a timer, mileage tracking, invoice management, and full CRM from a beautiful interface. Billings is a free download, but purchasing the app will unlock the sync feature if you currently use Billings on your Mac.
Availability: iPhone, iPad
Armed with a source code viewer, you are in a better position to solve site issues for your clients while sipping coffee at a cafe, but you will have a hard time implementing the fix without a solid FTP solution. Both AndFTP for Android and FTP on the Go for the iPhone allow you to make a secure connection and download, upload, edit or manage your remote web space from a clean and full featured interface.
Availability: Android, iPhone, iPad
Typography is everywhere, and if you are on the lookout for new or undiscovered fonts, this free app is a must-have. Simply snap a picture of found type anywhere such as signs, posters, or magazines, and this app will grab the best match from MyFonts.com automatically. Features include isolating specific characters and a separate image gallery showcasing your snapshots.
Arguably the most essential app for Creatives of all types, Evernote mobile is a central hub for collecting and managing ideas, inspirations, and important information. It can grab all manner of things, from photos to voice clips, and presents them in semantic categories for fast access. Your data is synced seamlessly with your cloud-based Evernote account so you can access it anywhere. For a premium fee, you can enable collaborative features and SSL encryption for an extra boost.
Availability: Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry, Palm