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20 Amazing iPhone Design Apps That Can Make Anyone a Designer

20 Amazing iPhone Design Apps That Can Make Anyone a Designer

One of the great things about our mobile devices is the sheer amount of things they can do. Mobile apps can help monitor your health, balance finances, entertain, and educate. It should be no surprise that apps can be incredible tools for design also. While many may be familiar with some design apps for iPad and tablets, some truly ingenious apps for Apple’s smaller screen are available too. Some iPhone design apps are truly revolutionary, while others are a quick way to add design elements to photos and videos. Regardless of your skill level, the following 20 apps are incredibly useful and time-saving for designers, or designers to be, of all experience levels.

FilMic Pro

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    FilMic Pro is the answer to shooting professional quality video with your iPhone. If you’re looking to shoot high quality video, it is crucial that you control the exposure and focus. The iPhone’s default camera, however, is permanently set on auto adjust. FilMic fills the gap for video designers, letting you control focus, exposure and white balance. Additionally, you can lock all three, regardless of changes in condition. FilMic Pro can film at a higher nitrate than the iPhone’s default camera, letting you minimize blurry action. This is an important tool in any designer’s arsenal for professional quality video work.

    Blux

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      Blux is a powerful photo app for the iPhone that makes easy to produce nicely designed photos, with minimal photography knowledge. Blux automatically detects what setting you should shoot a photo with, simply by processing the current scene in front of your lens. Blux also pulls weather information from your location from the internet, maximizing your photo settings for you.

      Sum05

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        Sum05 is a fun, easy-to-use app for established designers, and design beginners alike. This design app requires very little operating knowledge, yet creates incredibly dynamic designs. With this app, the user simply tilts, taps, and rotates their iPhone to create new colous and reposition strokes. Sum05 is a fun, easy way to produce incredible designs.

        Layers

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          Layers is a powerful sketch and drawing app for the iPhone. At $4.99, it’s a moderately priced app that delivers many features only available in more expensive apps. Like the name suggests, Layers lets users draw within different layers, allowing a user to customize transparency, order, position, size and fill of each layer. By separating your drawings into layers, you can more effectively color and erase your image. This app includes many different default brush types, another advantage over many iPhone sketch apps. Another indispensable feature of this design app is the smear tool. Where many drawing apps let you use various brushes, few include the smear tool. By smudging your colors together, shading an image is much faster and easier. Sure to make drawing complicated figures much easier, Layers makes drawing on the iPhone faster and more controllable.

          Adobe Kuler

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            This free app is sure to be a staple in any designer’s phone. Kuler lets you quickly and easily create color palettes from photos. The app identifies five points of color on your photo, then presents you with a color palette. You can easily edit the pallets with a variety of tools, plus seamlessly generate color pallets from photos on Flickr. The easiest and fastest way to generate color palettes for drawing, painting or graphic design, Kuler is truly an app to bring your designs to the next level.

            Adobe Ideas

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              Another free, powerful app from Adobe, is Adobe Ideas. Intended as a companion to Adobe Illustrator, Ideas lets you quickly create vector images right on your iPhone. Since vector images in Illustrator can be time consuming, and require a high degree of program knowledge, Adobe Ideas is a powerful design app. Quickly create vector images for use at any size, plus quickly share to social media or your Adobe account.

              Marksta

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                Every designer needs a way to autograph or watermark their work, which makes Marksta an essential app for designers on the go. Marksta lets users quickly and efficiently add their watermark to photos, and then export to social media. Marksta is perfect for when you need to publish a design, but want to make sure the world knows it’s yours.

                PicLab HD

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                  PicLabHD is an excellent photo design app, perfect for social media posts. The app lets you add typography to your own photos, with many styles included. This app also includes layer-based editing, so you can build beautiful phrases with shapes and banners as well. PicLabHD also lets you control rotation and bend of the text, plus allows you to erase text, to dynamically fit your image. For $1.99, it’s an impressive photo design app that even supports adding your own watermark or logo.

                  Gelo

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                    Gelo is a helpful design app, letting users quickly apply gradients to photos. Gradients are an essential tool to adding effects to landscapes with a strong horizon, but can also be used to create custom vintage effects. Gelo offers full control over effect position and transparency, as well as color.

                    PhotoChop

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                      Photochop is a quick way of adding your photo into other environments. A quick and effective tool for any designer, Photochop lets you cut subjects out of your photos and add them to a wide variety of backgrounds. This design app lets you flip and resize your image too, so you can smoothly integrate the photos.

                      TiltShift Generator

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                        One of the many popular photo effects today includes a technique called tilt shifting. Tilt shift lenses are specially made so everything is out of focus, except one depth level. The result is an image with intense focus, that sometimes looks like a real life scene is made out of toy models. With TiltShift Generator, you can easily achieve the same effect on your iPhone photos. Unlike blur effects in other apps, TiltShift Generator includes radial, straight, and ellipse blurs. Ellipse blurs are crucial to achieving an authentic tilt shift look in many landscape photographs. This design app also includes filter options, to quickly treat your photos.

                        Fuzel

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                          Fuzel is a great option for those looking for quick photo collage apps. Unlike other photo collage apps, Fuzel integrates many different kinds of shapes for your photos, not just rectangular collages. Elegantly simple frames and basic editing tools let you display several photos at once, while still using an original design. This app also supports direct export to many social networks and sharing sites, plus gives you full control over photo size and positioning.

                          pixelWakker

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                            An excellent editor to convert your photos to pop art inspired images, is pixelWakker. The app is free and offers an extremely simple to use interface. Great for aspiring designers of all skill levels, pixelWakker offers several different effects. Simply choose a photo from your library, and apply one of four effects. One mimics comic book pointillism, another reproduces your image out of smaller versions of your photo. A third filter forms your image out of rounded lines, and the last effect reproduces your image with colorful circles of various sizes. A great way to quickly produce pop art style images, pixelWakker offers photo transformations that other, high-level graphic design programs don’t.

                            Path

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                              Path is another design app that lets you add text to photos. However, this app offers a different, highly valuable approach. Path lets a user draw the path the text should follow, rather than needing to work with different settings. Type the text after drawing your path, and the text immediately flows along the area you chose. Additionally, users can control alignment and character spacing, plus choose from a large library of fonts.

                              FX Photo Studio

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                                FX Photo Studio boasts the largest collection of filters among iPhone photo editing apps. Not only are there many filters to choose from, this design app includes text and banners to impose on your photos. It’s also incredibly easy to browse the large library of effects, as filters are organized by genre. Finally, FX Photo Studio lets you apply filters to your photo, but control where the filter is applied, making it a powerful option for quickly making your photos more appealing.

                                Photoshop Express

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                                  While the full version of Photoshop offers a multitude of editing options, it requires an in-depth knowledge of the program. For those looking to jump into design, but don’t have advanced knowledge of Photoshop, Photoshop Express is a powerful design app. Also free and used for photo editing, Photoshop Express offers many advanced features, including blemish removal, red eye removal and advanced control over exposure, hue, and contrast. The app is also available for iPad, and includes 20 filter effects to give your photos extra punch. The best part about this design app is the wide sharing options. Photoshop Express supports exporting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, text message, camera roll, email, as well as in-store printing with Walgreens. You can also buy an add-on that lets users efficiently get rid of dirt, noise and blur.

                                  Camera+

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                                    Camera+ is another high quality app to make design accessible to anyone. For under $2.00, this app combines filters, photo editing, and photo frames into one app. Especially convenient for those that like framing their social media photos, this app offers powerful editing and shooting tools. In camera mode, this design app lets users view exposure settings, as well as recommended lighting and white balance settings. In addition, Camera+ lets you shoot photos in burst mode, quickly capturing a succession of photos. This feature is incredibly helpful for shooting action, and avoids the delay of the regular iPhone camera. Then, there’s no need to switch apps to do your editing.

                                    Doodlebuddy

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                                      Doodlebuddy is a simple, yet worthwhile drawing app. With an easy to use design, Doodlebuddy is a straightforward drawing app. Unlike other drawing apps, however, Doodlebuddy offers 44,000 colors to choose from, plus various drawing effects and stencils. Adding text is also included, which makes this app great for quick outlines or sketches.

                                      Typography Manual

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                                        This design app is incredibly valuable for those looking to grow their typography skills. The app includes many tips and tricks to working with type, as well as special characters. A great tool for moving into design more seriously, The Typography Manual empowers users to produce better, more well-thought out designs. 

                                        GoDaddy GoMobile

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                                          GoMobile is an essential tool for designers who want a quick way to share their accomplishments or work. GoMobile allows users to create simple websites using a business card-like design. The app uses templates to make creating your site quick and easy. While not strictly a design app, GoMobile is a great tool for designers just looking into networking and marketing their work.

                                          Featured photo credit: The App Store/PhotoAtelier via flickr.com

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                                          Alicia Prince

                                          A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                                          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                                          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                          Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                                          Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                                          Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                                          So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                                          Joe’s Goals

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                                            Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                                            Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                                            Daytum

                                              Daytum

                                              is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                                              Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                                              Excel or Numbers

                                                If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                                                What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                                                Evernote

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                                                  I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                                                  Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                                                  Access or Bento

                                                    If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                                    Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                                    You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                                    Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                                    All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                                    Conclusion

                                                    I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                                    What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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