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With the launch of the iPhone several years ago, Apple created the cell phone that everybody wanted. Obviously, a revolutionary gadget like this one could not be ignored by graphic designers. Designers tend to be naturally attracted to Apple’s well designed products, no wonder the iPhone became very popular among them. Of course, graphic designers bought the iPhone for it’s awesome design, wonderful features, and a little for the ego boost. However, on the long term, I would argue that Apple’s success with the iPhone is mainly due to the apps ecosystem.

For a cheap price or even free sometimes, users could buy small applications that dramatically enhance the phone’s capabilities. Thanks to iPhone applications, your iPhone can become a real tool for your daily work and to organize yourself. In this article we take a look at the best iPhone apps you can use as a graphic designer.

1. What the Font

If you are like me constantly trying to guess what fonts are used to create logotypes, billboards, or basically anything you can see in the streets, this is an app that you must download. What the Font is an application that allows you to find out which font is used on other people graphic design work.

The process to identify a font is quite simple. You start by taking a photo of the letters you want to identify. Crop the picture character by character and specify what letters are appearing in each image. What the Font will give you a list of fonts that are the closest matches to the picture you took. You can browse these fonts to get details quickly. Even better, the app is free on the iTunes store.


2. Color Expert

A must have for anyone working with color, which is the case of every designer. Color Expert is the perfect companion to work with colors, whether it’s at the office or on-the-go. The features include: a powerful color wheel that helps you build awesome color schemes, an image picker that allows you to pick colors from a picture you took, several Pantone libraries to always have your references in your hand. But that is not all, the best part in my opinion is that palettes that you create with Color Expert can be exchanged by email in the Adobe Swatch Exchange format. At $9.99, this application is a bargain.


3. Sketches

Sketching is certainly one of the most important parts of the graphic design process. Unfortunately, ideas often come at unexpected times, and you might not have the tools in hand to take notes. Stop worrying about that by downloading the Sketches app, and sketch your ideas on the go, as they come.

Sketching’s beautiful and unobtrusive UI is a delight for sketching on the iPhone. There are many tools, like artistic brushes, easy color pickers, fast and natural zooming, advanced selection tools, and much more. You can get this application for $4.99. You can get it from the app store.


4. The typography manual

Never forget anything about typography with this typography manual application. It has many useful features for graphic or web designers, such as a visual type anatomy glossary, a font size ruler, an em calculator, and enough content to fill a 60 page book. Any designer should make sure to always have the app on hand, it can be practical.

You can check out more features on their website, or get the app directly from the app store for $3.99.


5. Ruler phone

Any graphic designer that has ever worked on the signalization of a building will want this application. It allows you to quickly measure anything, inside or outside a room. Also, if you ever get the chance to do an exhibition, this is the perfect tool for you. Get rid of your old rulers and old-fashioned tools, and go see your clients with only your iPhone in hand.


Ruler phone can be downloaded from the App store for $5.99 ($3.99 at the time of writing this article), you can also check out how it works on the app’s website.

6. Brushes

The iPhone helps you to be productive from anywhere, but did you know that you could even create art with it? Brushes is the perfect app for that. Among other things, it features an advanced color picker, several realistic brushes, multiple layers, advanced zooming, and a simple interface.


Many would doubt that the iPhone can be used to create decent art, yet Brushes proved its capabilities with New Yorker’s covers created by Jorge Colombo using the app. Brushes even won an Apple design award in 2010, so you can be reassured about the quality of the interface. It can be purchased from the app store for $4.99. The app’s website gives you much more information and examples of what can be created with the app.

7. Layers

As its name indicates, this application brings layers to your drawing. It includes awesome brushes, transparency, photo import, and many features that make it an advanced painting application. Even better, it is compatible with Photoshop, which makes it even more useful for graphic design professionals.

See all the features on the official website, or download the application from the App Store for only $4.99.


This little review of a few iPhone apps allows us to conclude that Apple’s phone has become a powerful working tool, even for graphic designers. Many of you probably own an iPhone, so what are the apps that are missing from this list and that make your life easier for your work.