Free iPad Design Apps for Inspiration and Creativity

Computers have made big changes to the way designers create things. In the past two decades, graphic designers have went from designing things hands on with drawing and painting tools, to creating their designs entirely within software such as inDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. These days, with broadband internet so wide spread, designers can design work from almost any location. No longer are they tied to one space.


Various iPad apps have arisen that cater to the needs of graphic designers on the go. Apple’s app store has hundreds of creative apps which can be used in the design industry.


We have chosen some of the best free graphic design apps for this article.


  1. Adobe Ideas

    adobe ideasThis iPad app once had a cost of $10 in the apps store, but Adobe has made it completely free for us. Adobe Ideas allows the production of freeform illustrations right from an iPad which can be shared to Twitter and Facebook. It includes many great features, including toolbar customization, 10 drawing layers, 50 level redo/ undo, color theme extraction and Kuler sync. Creative Cloud users can sync the app with a desktop or iPhone.

  2. Paper by Fifty Three

    paper ipad appPaper is meant to emulate the process of sketching or jotting down ideas on real paper. Think of it as a sketchbook, journal or notebook. Paper works intuitively without messing with settings - just choose a tool and color. Tools include eraser, pen, pencil, and brush. Creations can be streamed to Tumblr, emailed and shared to Facebook and Twitter. Paper was voted as the app of the year in 2012!
  3. Fx Camera

    fx camera appFx camera allows the taking of photographs with different effects. Effects with Fx Camera include toy camera, vintage, water for all, fisheye and symmetrical. Voice Picture allows users to capture speech while snapping photos. Voice Pictures an also be shared with your Facebook friends.
  4. Visualator

    visualatorThis free iPad app comes from the same people who brought us Computer Arts magazine. Designers can experiment with form, colour and shape to create beautiful collages, which can be used in other design work. Visualator includes two useful tools – Triangulate and Gradulate.

    Also available on the iPhone.
  5. Quark DesignPad

    designpad appThis free app is great for experimenting with different layout designs. Designpad is useful for designing advertisements, posters, invitations, postcards,  brochures,  newsletters and  business cards on the go. Features include pre-defined layout types, grid-based, customizable columns and rows, controlled opacity and color, and much more. The layout can be shared on Facebook or Twitter, emailed anywhere, and printed. Designs can be further worked on in QuarkXPress.

  6. Design Spring

    design springThis popular free iPad app is brought to us by popular designing blog Creative Bloq. Design Spring is an amazing source of daily inspiration! Each day Design Spring is updated with new typography, graphic design, illustration and graphic design from top illustrators and designers, as well as upcoming talent. Design Spring allows browsing of pictures by color and category, and artists can be contacted via their website or Twitter.

  7. Capture Pilot

    capture pilot photography appCapture Pilot is a very useful tool for professional photographers. Photographers can use an ios device to zoom, view, tag, rate, and pan high resolution images during a photo shoot with Capture Pilot. This can be very convenient, especially for working with clients.

  8. Dribbblr

    Dribbblr ipad appThis free iPad app is an endless source of inspiration from famous designers around the world. Find inspiration for textures, icons, web design, and more. Dribbblr is very popular among the online designing community.


Using these handy free iPad apps, designers can create, come up with ideas for projects, and share them elsewhere (usually email, Facebook and Twitter).


If there are any free iPad apps for graphic designers we have not mentioned, please tell us all about them below.


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