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the nda guide to apps

written by vicky arbuthnot

Mobile phones. How do you use them? Some sit there for emergencies, some are never far from our side; we almost feel naked without them. Over the last 10 years, the way in which we use and interact with our phones has completely transformed the way in which we connect with one another; for better or worse! However, as a designer, your phone, or even better, your smart phone, can be a really handy tool to assist you, not only in the way you work, but also the way in which you look at information and store it. If you don’t have a smart-phone, a mobile with a camera should be a starting point. As designers, we constantly find things that inspire us, whether this is from a walk in a park, to visiting museums and galleries. Having a phone handy at all times ensures you never miss a moment of inspiration and are able to quickly capture what you see, ready for future use in your work or reflective journals. If you own a smart-phone, this can be a handy tool in supporting your design skills. With over 800,000 apps available (from the Apple app store) there is surely something to suit everyone. Over the next few pages, we have selected a range of apps (suitable for iPhones and iPads) that will support you as designers; from photography and fonts, to logos and products. It’s all at your fingertips.


CONTENTS REFERENCE: WhatTheFont ColorSchemer Magpie by Conran myPANTONE Palettes Pro

pg pg pg pg pg

5 6 7 8 9

UTILITIES: Ruler Phone Room Planner Dimension Marker

pg 11 pg 12 pg 13

DEVELOPMENT: iBlueSky Instalogo Behance

pg 15 pg 16 pg 17


pg 19


pg 21


WhatTheFont iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - Free Also available on Android from Google Play What? Making use of the font identification engine on global type library MyFonts, this handy app will attempt to identify any typeface based on a snapshot on your iPhone, and then links through to further information and purchasing info. Why? Perfect for if you are designing for specific brands or have just hit that moment of inspiration for a client. Finding appropriate fonts for your projects can be a tricky task, so this app makes it really easy for you to match and explore fonts while on the go.


ColorSchemer iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - Free

What? ColorSchemer makes it easy for you to create, source and get inspired with the colour palettes that surround you. Over 1 million palettes have been created by other users which gives access to an extensive source book of colour choices and inspiration. Why? Using ColorSchemer can reveal a whole host of colour combinations which you never thought possible. The idea of making a colour palette from an object, photo or fabric can help in the development of schemes, awareness of your surroundings and create a deeper understanding of your client.


Magpie by Conran iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - Free Also available on Android from Google Play What? The Magpie acts just like any good magpie should; it collects the things that inspire you, storing them as future reference for your design decisions. We often need to express the things we like, by storing these memories we have a great wealth of visual language with which to explain our design needs to others. Why? As a designer, our eyes are constantly looking for that next source of inspiration. But what do we do when we find it? We can try as hard as we want to remember what we have just seen but sometimes this just fades into the distance. Keeping track of your inspiration and gathering them into categories helps us keep organised and able to easily reference back to our saved items.


myPANTONE iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - £6.99 Also available on Android from Google Play What? The official app from the ‘kings of colour’ acts as a digital swatch book, including over 13,000 colours from the Pantone Plus Series and beyond. You can use it to match hues from photos, generate harmonious colour palettes and then share them, or sync them with your design software programs of choice. Why? Well, why not? Pantone are at the forefront of colour inspiration, generation and application. For designers, Pantone creates a depth of colour, a variety of tone we never knew existed and puts in all in one handy, pocket-sized swatch book. Keep up to date with the latest colours of the season and most importantly, ‘Colour Of The Year’. Tangerine Tango, anyone?


Palettes Pro iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - ÂŁ2.49

What? Palettes Pro is a powerful productivity tool for creating and maintaining colour palettes, and great for creating colour schemes. You can create a colour palette anywhere at anytime by grabbing colours from a photograph, a website, or add colours using any one of 5 colour models. Quickly find matching colours with support for many different colour schemes. Why? Great for capturing those inspirational colour ideas, any time, any place. We often don’t have a notepad at hand, so take a snap of an inspirational image, view or colour and create a set of matching and complementary palettes to go with what you see. Quick, simple, playful.


RulerPhone iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - Free Also available on Android from Google Play What? RulerPhone figures out the dimensions you’re measuring using the card in your picture as reference. Once you’ve aligned the card in your image with the on-screen card placeholder, you simply drag your finger across the screen to measure distance. RulerPhone will display a ruler over your picture that you can drag and adjust to fine-tune your measurements (as seen in the screenshot below). Why? We don’t all keep a tape measure or spirit-level in our handbags at all times, but we do have our phone! Great for quick measuring up of products, spaces or distances in a property, this app can be a handy extension of your site analysis tool kit.


Room Planner iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - Free

What? Home Design - Create realistic floor plans and 3D models in minutes for your next room or home design project. Quickly place and arrange rooms, furniture, cabinets, doors and windows. Visualise rooms and furnishings - choose from hundreds of colours, materials, textures and 3D objects to design and decorate your room or house. Why? It is common to find that clients have some difficulty in visualising their space in a 3D setting with all the suggestions being made for their newly-established and designed property. It is the job of us as Interior Designers to help convey our design message. Something more professional such as SketchUp or a similar 3D CAD program can be used to provide final concepts and ideas to a client, but this handy tool lets you create realistic 3D models to instantly show your clients what you have in mind.


Dimension Marker iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - ÂŁ0.69

What? Dimension Marker makes it easy to mark the dimension of any space or object DIRECTLY onto photos or sketches - turning your iPhone/iPod touch into a great assistant whenever needed, for example: - You need to fit new furniture when you redecorate or renovate your home. - You bump into a nice piece of home accessory and wondered if it fits somewhere in your home. - You need to explain the dimension of a product to your customers, in many cases, it’s better to email a picture with marked dimensions than to talk over the phone. Why? A further piece of kit similar to RulerPhone (page 11) but take your ideas and annotations a step further and really get into the detail of products and spaces. This app makes it easy for you to transfer an idea from your head, put it down on paper (digitally) and see if it works. Instantly.


iBlueSky iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - £6.99

What? Hold that thought. It’s something most of us try to do often – especially when we are on the go – with varying degrees of success. Whether you are a GTD convert, a mind-mapping pro, or one of the time-poor masses, iBlueSky could really make a difference. The whole idea of this app is to get your thoughts down and make sense of them. Sketch out notes and ideas and link them together in a digital ‘mind map’ that you can save and share with colleagues (or Tutors!) Why? One of the things we can find difficult is putting our ideas down on paper. Ideas continually float around our heads but to help us understand how we got from A to B, we should write these ideas down. iBlueSky helps you achieve just that, on the go.


Instalogo iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - ÂŁ2.99

What? InstaLogo is a highly creative logo making application that aims to provide complete design freedom to the user. The app is a great package for business, advertising & promotional campaigns, functions, apparel logo creation and many other areas. There are innumerable logos to choose from and several variations can be provided to each and every option. Some of the features that aid this process are object rotation, font change, colour combinations, design changes, gradients, outlines etc. All logos included in the application have been created by expert designers and cover various aspects that are required in promotional activities. Why? Creating your own business identity can be a very tricky thing to do, but most importantly, to do it well. We all need to have a visual identity to help sell ‘our brand’ so if you are not overly confident with creating computer-generated graphics, let this app do it for you!


Behance iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - Free

What? The Behance Network app allows you to explore millions of creative projects by the world’s top creative talent. The app also offers the ultimate mobile portfolio that seamlessly syncs with your Behance projects. Why? Gone are the days of carrying around an A1 portfolio to show clients or prospective employers. Digital portfolios make life simple, and a little lighter! Online portfolios make it easy to get your ideas and name out there with minimal effort, and it’s also a great way for potential customers to see what you can do. Get your name out there; get an online portfolio!


Fab iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - Free Also available on Android from Google Play What? Millions of people around the world use Fab to discover everyday design products at great prices, to connect with the world’s most exciting designers, and to share their favourite design inspirations. The range of products and ideas available are more than you can shake a proverbial stick at, and all at great discounted prices. You, your clients, your wallet will all love this site. Why? As quoted on their web site, at Fab “we’re on a mission to help people better their lives with design”. Why would you not use an app after a statement like that?!


Instagram iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad - Free Also available on Android from Google Play What? If you have been living under a rock for the last couple of years, Instagram is THE photography app to have. It’s a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family. Snap a picture, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram. Share to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr too – it’s as easy as pie. It’s photo sharing, reinvented. Why? A great way to snap, share and keep your inspiration. A great set of colour filters instantly make your images from a good image, to a great image.


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