5 Best Free Graphic Design Apps for iPhone and iPad
A picture says more than a thousand words. But what about the tools to help you create such images? And is it even possible to create informative graphics and illustrations right on your smartphone? Well, you certainly can. And in this article, we show you some of the best graphic design apps for iPhone and iPad.
Thanks to a few well-crafted apps, creating illustrations on the go is easier than ever. With minimal skill and practice, one can quickly get basic graphics ready on the iPhone with these apps. Some apps may also appeal to experienced graphic designers. So go ahead and take a look at this list.
1. Canva – Best General Graphic Design App
We can unanimously agree that Canva has revolutionized graphic design. Creating a user interface for a task like graphic design is quite a challenge. However, Canva has done a tremendous job of building an intuitive user interface, which is by far the best we’ve come across in free web software.
Canva has tons of free elements and templates for creating graphics. To get started, you can quickly select a category, such as Presentation, Poster, Logos, or Instagram posts (or any other social platform like Facebook). Moreover, you can also create quick animations and videos using ready-made templates.
Having been Canva users for the past few years, we love the amount of control we have over the elements of a graphic. You can even change the details of existing templates and elements to fine-tune them to blend in with the elements you add.
However, some items have a watermark in the free version, and purchasing the pro version unlocks it. Additionally, removing the background from the image or resizing the image is also limited to the pro version. Fortunately, there are no ads at all in the free version.
One thing that bothered us, however, was that the app shows a project collaborator editing long after they’ve left the draft, which can interfere with your experience of modifying or creating the graphic.
Overall, we can recommend Canva to anyone and everyone, and we’re massive fans ourselves. Also, the free version is sufficient for most users who want to access basic tools. Therefore, you don’t necessarily need to buy Canva Pro, but it offers good value for money as it is relatively cheaper than all other apps out there.
Price: Free, Pro version: $1.99 and up and $119/year
2. Adobe Express – Powerful design app from Adobe
Adobe has been a pioneer in the development of apps in the field of design. Apparently they were quick enough to develop a free to use direct competitor to Canva called Adobe Spark originally, now renamed Adobe Express. Fortunately, this app also does a pretty good job of making graphic design easy, making it into our list of the best graphic design apps for iPhone and iPad.
Just like Canva, Adobe Express also offers a number of beautiful templates to help you get started with your design. They have templates for social media posts, posters and flyers, logos and infographics. It also has tools that guide you to perform functions such as removing backgrounds, resizing images, and changing elements on existing templates. Pretty cool, right?
What we really like is that it also comes with effects, filters and textures found in Photoshop. Furthermore, you also get different tools to edit and change videos. However, people who have already used Adobe Spark may face problems as the user interface has changed, which is a bit disappointing because it was simple, user-friendly and perfect.
There’s also a pro version that unlocks all templates, fonts, and image collections, and also lets you access Adobe Express online. Given that it’s a trusted brand, we’d recommend purchasing the premium plan if your job relies heavily on design tools.
Price: Free, Pro version: $9.99/month and beyond.
3. Pixelcut – Graphic design app with AI generator
Pixelcut is one such graphic design app for iPhone that adds an AI art generation tool along with traditional graphic design tools. The design tools are similar to what Canva and Adobe Express have to offer, so all the basic features are available along with pre-designed templates and elements for posters, social media posts and presentations.
However, the AI graphics generation tool needs some polishing, but gets the job done. Like all AI generators, you have to enter a message and wait for your artwork to be generated.
Aside from AI generation, another feature that makes Pixelcut stand out is its background remover and magic eraser, which worked pretty well in our experience, but seemed to reduce the quality of the image. You also get an animation tool on Pixelcut that helps you easily create movies and GIFs from your illustrations.
Pixelcut also allows you to create a website to showcase your work that can be added as a “link in bio” on social media apps. While the free version will be sufficient for most users, Pixelcut also has a pro version that unlocks all templates, cutouts and other elements to enhance your graphic design experience.
While the user interface was mostly smooth, many users reported issues related to logging into the app. That said, Pixelcut is mostly stable, and is therefore an easy recommendation from our end.
Price: Free, Pro version: $9.99 and up
4. Design Lab: Graphic Templates – App design with great editing tools
Design Lab is another feature-rich graphic design app for iPhone and iPad. While it might not come with many standout features, we’re pretty impressed with how smoothly this app performed and how it gets the basics right.
Apart from templates to kick-start your design, this app also gives you a good collection of filters and adjustments to fine-tune your image. Furthermore, you also get a powerful text editor that allows you to control size, position and opacity and even curve it and create 3D transformations.
Like Canva, Design Lab also features layer-based editing to help you easily control all the elements of your graphic. However, a few users complained about issues with templates not loading on the mobile network and the app crashing randomly. So be careful with it!
The free version of the app includes a good number of templates and features, but by purchasing the pro version you can unlock full access to the app.
Price: Free, Pro version: $9.99/month and beyond
5TH LAYER: Graphic design + Fonts – Minimal user interface
All the other iPhone graphic design apps on this list work primarily on existing templates and elements. However, Create is an app that focuses on giving you full control over your illustrations, as it allows you to create graphics from scratch without any templates.
Starting with a blank canvas, you can add shapes and text to start the illustration. To further elaborate, you can add images from your gallery to the canvas. There are also good customization options when it comes to fonts and the colors of the graphics. Create also offers vector designs, which we felt was a nice addition.
Keep in mind that this app is mainly aimed at people who want to create something of their own instead of using a template, so it might not be very attractive if you’re considering it as an alternative to apps like Canva.
There is also a pro version of this app and it allows you to save unlimited projects, share editable project files, custom canvas sizes and also other export options like “.pdf” and “.svg”.
Price: Free, Pro version: $3.99/month and beyond
There you have it! This is our list of 5 great graphic design apps for iPhone and iPad that we highly recommend. But if you have any queries related to the same, you can have a look at our FAQ section below.
Frequently asked questions about graphic design apps for iPhone and iPad
The Photos app offers a few tools for annotating, but it’s not possible to create highly detailed illustrations and graphics using the Photos app.
Yes, you can import photos taken in your gallery into Canva.
PNG is a high-quality image format that is the most recommended file type for an illustration.
Turn your ideas into graphics with these apps
Now, go ahead and visualize your ideas with colorful illustrations using these graphic design apps for iPhone and iPad. While there are other popular apps like Paper by WeTransfer and even Autodesk Sketchbook, they mainly focus on sketching rather than designing illustrations, so we were careful enough to select relevant apps for this list. We hope this helped you make the right choice!