5 Must Have Apps for Designers and Creatives

In the spirit of revisiting and updating posts from last year, I wanted to come back to my list of great apps for designers. As it’s been a whole year since I did my last list the apps I’m using have changed and updated, so I thought my list should be too.

FYI these are all phone apps (Android and Apple), mainly because I don’t have an iPad. They’re all also free, or were when I got them, because I’m cheap.


This is the ultimate colour palette tool, as you would expect from the colour people. I like to use it to match hues from photos as well as to create palettes based on the world around me – it’s strangely soothing. Once you’ve created your palettes you can easily share them or sync them with whatever design software you use.


Assembly is a kind of drag and drop vector tool. Just drag shapes (there are loads) together. It’s super simple to use. While I don’t use it for creating finished products it’s great for mocking things up, especially in meetings if you quickly want to visualise an idea.


Designers have lots of notes, in lots of forms, and Paper is the best way I’ve found of holding them all together on the go. You can keep and edit notes, sketches and photos all in one place. The interface is really easy to use and swipe between notes to get an overview. It also has this really cool tick-able function for lists, I love having a checkbox, nothing makes me feel more accomplished than ticking a box. It was the iPad app of the year, and I’m so glad it’s now available for phones too.


This one is exactly what it sounds like. I’ve been using it to scan in old photos at home when I go back. I’ve been really enjoying them as reference images. Photoscan is great at piecing together fading colours in old, and in my case disposable camera, photos and making them look their very best. I also like it for scanning in images from magazines to add to Paper.


So, Headspace isn’t necessarily a design app but I think it’s a must use for all creative people. I’ve written before at length about my experience with meditation, and my ups and downs with Headspace. Right now, I’m loving it again. I’ve got back into the guided meditation it offers as a way to clear my mind and keep me balanced enough that I can be creative.

What apps are you using to help keep your design work on track while you’re on the move?



  1. October 23, 2017 / 5:59 am

    i laughed at myself for not having any of these apps. well, in my defense, since i work on uix, i mostly just design stuff on screen and prototyping apps/programs i use are mostly for desktop use as well. then again, this post is for GD and not UX designers what was i thinking?? gah, i feel dumb. BUT pantone studio is def gonna be helpful. i used to download coolors which is a random palette generator kind of thing and i used it as a reference for my thesis (which was about an AI based color assistant bot app) google photoscan sounds useful though – i might check that one out. thanks for the recs!

    • Natalie
      October 30, 2017 / 6:35 pm

      I feel like you just end up having the apps that work for you, this was just meant to – hopefully – throw a few new ones into the mix and give your tech a little boost. Pantone studio is a lot of fun, I hope you like it!

  2. October 29, 2017 / 5:18 pm

    I haven’t tried that Photoscan, but I really do love the Scanner Pro app by Readdle. It automatically detects the edges of the document and etc. that I have and then scans it, and it’s been a lifesaver

    • Natalie
      October 30, 2017 / 6:35 pm

      Oooh thanks for the tip, I’ll try it out!

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