Thursday, July 22, 2010

Me draw pretty one day: my favorite iPad design apps

Only Glow Draw can bring my art to life the way I envision it in my mind.

As I writer, I'm quite the typography expert: I love every font, as long as it's Times New Roman.

That hasn't stopped me from trying out my design skills using some of the very cool (and cheap) apps on the iPad.

Sure, there are some high-falutin' design and draw apps out there for the big bucks - witness the OmniGraffle app for the low, low price of $49.99.

I wouldn't know what to do with so powerful a design tool, so I shop in the Giant Tiger section of the app store for cool and useful design apps like these (most of these links open in the Apple page; just select iTunes to view and download them in the iTunes store):

1. TypeDrawing

Larsen New Roman.

For the typography fetishist in your office!

With TypeDrawing, you choose your font and color, type out some keywords, and draw your typography-based artwork and wallpaper with your finger, on blank backgrounds or atop photos.

2. Glow Draw

Step one: you draw stuff. Step two: it glows.

As my incredible Star Wars art at the top of this post shows, any art that glows is, by definition, great. If only Da Vinci would've had this technology, can you imagine how awesome the Mona Lisa could've been?

Oh, well: sucks to be him.

3. Adobe Ideas

Ostensibly a "digital sketchbook for designers," I use this app as a whiteboard.

In class this year, I'll see if I can connect the iPad to the digital projector and use this app as a portable, environmentally friendly replacement for the actual whiteboard - preventing my once-a-year "indelible marker on a classroom whiteboard" trick.

4. Dexigner

This app could be the future of industry associations and clubs: a virtual meeting place for design-based news updates, events and exhibits, and competitions.

Even better is the designer directory you can search using an "around me" feature, which shows that Frantic Films and June Derksen are the only two design-based entities and people in Winnipeg. D'oh: register yourself today!

This free app is really under the radar, but is a must for anyone who works in art, design, architecture or the communications biz - or who has an interest in all of the above.

5. Getty Images

Search and share over 24 million Getty Images, hundreds of thousands of which are royalty free or available for licensing. Great search, save, and share interface.

6. Evernote

My brain is like a sieve.

Though sometimes it's easier to just forget, Evernote lets you remember all of the stuff that happens in your life, whether you want to or not: notes, ideas, photos, websites, recordings, synchronized with tags across your iPad, laptop, iPhone, and online.

Perfect uses: multimedia diary, grocery list, classroom notes.

7 - 9. Storage apps: PDF Comrade,, Dropbox

These apps three are meant for thee.

One of the big questions I get when people see my iPad for the first time is, "Can I save and look at my big files on it?"

Can you ever.

Of these three, great storage services, probably the best is Dropbox, only because you can install it on your computer, drop files into it, and - presto - they appear on your iPad one second later. It's Ripley's, I'll tell ya.

PDF Comrade is solely for PDFs, while and Dropbox are for virtually every kind of file, including audio and video.

10. Phaidon Design Classics

The most expensive and awesome app for last - Phaidon Design Classics will run you back $20, but I justify it by considering it to be an interactive coffee-table book (the future of the Independent Professional Project, lemme tell ya).
"This authoritative and meticulously researched collection charts the story of product design over the past 200 years. It was years in the making and was compiled via rigorous selection process by an international panel of design-world insiders, including architects, critics, curators, product designers, auctioneers, and historians."
Quite possibly the smoothest, most gorgeous iPad app around. As beautifully designed as its subjects:


P.S. A big thanks to Policyfrog for pointing out this link about using iPads in universities.


  1. Oh no you're a typography geek too? Oh dear we have so much to talk about.

  2. When are you asking Larry Partap to get iPads for all incoming CreComm students?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.