Designer’s iPad Tool Box

With the announcement of the iPad many designers have been anxiously awaiting what applications may come from the tablet based platform.  From those whom I talked to, it seemed that many people thought the iPad may respond to the touch of your finger similarly to how a drawing tablet for your desktop does.  For me, I was slightly let down (thus far) by the lack of functionality available from the iPad.  Lets just say I have been waiting for a CS5 for iPad’s.  Despite this, I have still found a very useful round-up of quality applications that any designer would find useful.

Below I have laid out the designers iPad toolbox.  Obviously, there are other great apps out there, I have found these to be solid and very useful even if you don’t design on your iPad.

iMockup for iPad ($9.99)


From my experience most serious designers never leave home without their notebook. When that moment of inspiration hits, you need somewhere capture that! Throw away that old notebook and say hello to iMockups for iPad. iMockups has taken the process of “mockups” to the next level. A favorite feature is the ability to store multiple designs within individual projects.

Adobe Ideas (FREE!)

Basic Drawing/Sketching

Adobe Ideas is a great free app to add in your tool-box. Adobe Ideas helps you draw your ideas in a similar way that iMockup does except I feel it has a different purpose. Ideas is a much more basic and open canvas. In addition you can annotate photographs and extract color themes from images. Once you are done, you can email the design as a PDF.

Photo Ripper ($1.99)

Crop Images/Cut/Rip

Photo Ripper is a unique app only available for the iPad. Photo Ripper allows you to rip, cut and arrange photo’s as you like. All you simply do is save images while browsing the internet or simply transfer images from your computer when you connect. The rip function gives you a unique rough edge to which you can create very cool collages and compilations. In addition, you can send designs as albums, cards or collages.

Phaidon Design Classics ($19.99)


Phaidon is the most comprehensive collection of design elements I am yet to find. This is truly a gem for those looking for inspiration. This is easily worth the $19.99 if you are serious about design.

This is a collection of highly researched product designs over the last 200 years. You can view design elements from everything from calculators and candy to clocks. Truly a great collection!

Author Bio: I am a 26 year old internet entrepreneur and co-founder of MOJO-Themes. In addition, I have been involved with custom design and development for the past 6 years out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Feel free to contact me on twitter and let me know your thoughts or just say hi! @bradynord

Co-founder of
  1. Chris
    July 1, 2010

    Moodboard is also a great app to have when meeting with a client or just trying to get some ideas down on ‘paper’

  2. July 1, 2010


    i hope android based tablets will have just a robust apps like the ipad.

    i like the ipad but also i advocate for underdogs.

  3. July 2, 2010

    I think you just forgot this one: 😉
    Thanks for your post!

  4. July 2, 2010

    Apps like these really make me consider wanting to get one.

  5. July 8, 2010

    Brand, great article.

    Would welcome you guys to join our iPad Facebook group (Channel iPad) and post links to any articles you write related to the iPad.

    Channel iPad is an open Facebook community for designers, developers and companies creating content, sites or applications for the Apple iPad.

    Hope to see some posts in our group to your content!

    Thanks >> b

  6. August 14, 2010

    Excellent post. Keep up the working and looking forward to more great articles in the future.

  7. September 1, 2010

    As a designer, the most useful iPad app for me has been Photos. Yes, photos. It has worked wonders for presenting my portfolio to clients. Other than that, MoodBoard has been a nice toy for amusing clients, and iMockUps has been easily the best wireframing tool on any platform.

  8. July 2, 2011

    Oh great article! Didn’t know that Adobe had a sketching app… Wonder if it competes with the autodesk one…?

  9. Victorine
    August 3, 2011

    Unfortunately Adobe Ideas is not a free app anymore 🙁

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