5 awesome (and free) iPad apps for graphic designers on‑the‑go

Inspiration can strike anywhere and anytime, and to fuel those lightning bolts of genius, you need an array of graphic design apps at your fingertips. These five free iPad apps will help you create stunning work, unchained from your desk.

From vector graphic software, color palette creators, and more, these free apps offer some stellar design tools that are great for graphic designers on the go. So, scope out your next destination and pack your iPad — it’s time to make good on inspiration!

1. Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Think of Adobe Photoshop Sketch as a bigger and better version of your analog sketchbook. The next time you’re away from your computer and your next best design idea strikes, whip out the app and use their assortment of brushes, pens, and shapes to get it all down on a digital piece of paper. You can even use grids to add another level of precision, and insert photos from your personal or Adobe stock library for reference.

When you get home, you have the option of easily importing your sketch into the desktop version of Photoshop to polish it off. The interface is simple enough that it feels intuitive, so we highly recommend you try it out!

2. What The Font

As a graphic designer, you probably notice beautiful typography when you’re out and about in the real world. The next time you stumble upon a nice-looking piece of type on a sign or a billboard, snap a photo of it and upload it to the What The Font. The app almost instantly recognizes the font or presents you with similar alternatives to choose from. This free version of the popular online tool is perfect for font lovers or graphic designers looking to add new typography to their repertoire.

Hopefully, having this app on-hand will also encourage you to get outside more and find inspiration in the old fashioned way.

3. Vectornator X

The Vectornator X app is an intuitive vector graphic software enabling you to create awesome digital work straight from your iPad or iPhone. The design tools offered within the app are very similar in function to those in Adobe Illustrator, so if you’re already familiar with AI, the learning curve here will not be so steep.

In fact, you can even export your Vectornator work directly into Adobe Illustrator to continue working there afterward if you wanted to. Alternatively, import your unfinished work from any Creative Cloud software so you can continue working on it, on the go within Vectornator.

4. Pocket Palette

Color enthusiasts, this one is especially for you. With Pocket Palette, you can create an infinite amount of customizable color palettes from scratch or from a photo, straight from your iPad. Add or remove the number of colors in your palette and fine-tune each color’s hex code to reach your desired shade and tint. Save all of your favorite creations so you have them handy in the app whenever you need to pull them out and use them in your next design.

The next time you’re on the move, snap a photo of something that catches your eye, and try creating a color palette out of it using this app!

5. Adobe Capture

Are you a designer that loves taking photos to fuel your inspiration? If so, Adobe Capture might just become your new favorite design tool and photo editing software. Using the app, harness the power of your smartphone or iPad’s high definition camera to create custom brushes, textures, color schemes, and even scalable vectors from the photos you take. Save all of these to your Creative Cloud account so you can use them the next time you open up Adobe software on your desktop computer.

The editing tools offered in this app are top-notch and will surely encourage you to gather even more inspiration during your daily adventures outside the house!

With technology constantly evolving, graphic design software no longer has to solely live on a bulky desktop computer. If you own an Apple iPad or even an iPhone, try using these mobile graphic design tools the next time you’re out and about. Remember inspiration can strike at any moment, so don’t shy away from letting your creativity run wild during your everyday experiences — you now have the best apps out there to document your best ideas.

For more handy design resources, check out our favorite illustration resources for web designers, color picking tools, and productivity apps for ultimate creative focus.

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