Your Mac has many apps to aid you in designing your latest piece of artwork. This post is going to show case ten of my favourite apps for design, including graphical design and art work. There are many apps out there to help you design what you want easily with no fuss. Macs were built on designing works of art, you can continue that fine tradition. The list is in no particular order and features both free and paid apps. If you have any favourites please leave a comment.
Regarded as one of the best sketch book and design apps, SketchBook Pro is a paint and drawing application by AutoDesk. It features all of the family tools you find in any design app. Featuring hundreds of brushes to help you make your ideas come alive. The app also features layers, guides and other handy tools such as mirroring to help you draw what you want. For a design app it is also rather cheaper, and a good alternative to more expensive apps such as Photoshop. Let your designs and drawings come alive.
Pixelmator has been around a long time for the Mac. It has the drawing and art functionality that you find in other apps such as SketchBook Pro but features other tools such as re-touching tools for photos, filters for altering images, and colour correction tools. It also features design tools so you can design, alter and make any image you want. It also features a native Mac interface and has a lot of back end features such as OpenGL, Core Image and other built in Mac tools so it runs lightening fast. Its the ultimate image design and manipulation app.
When you are in a restaurant and want to note down an idea you use a napkin. When you are on your Mac and want to doodle down an idea you use Napkin app. Recently released for the Mac, Napkin is designed to create visual notes and ideas to share between colleagues and friends. Its designed to place your thoughts on the screen and then annotate them so other users can receive the point your are getting across. Using call-outs, arrows and other design features you can share your ideas with the world.
Skitch is very similar to Napkin. Its a free app designed to highlight your thoughts and ideas. Your Mac doesn’t come with an app such as Paint, familiar with all Windows users, but Skitch takes over some of this role. You can add simple annotations to images, write text and even blur out parts of the images. Its a simple design app but gets the job done.
Apple have come out with a great app for designing word documents, Pages. There are two strands of design, art design which you use apps such as SketchBook, and then graphical design such as Pages. This app is designed as a word processor, but allows to your design the layout of these pages with ease. There are hundreds of templates and designs to help you get the best layout and design for your newsletter. There are plenty of powerful tools with Pages to get exactly what you want on your document. It beats Word by a mile.
iStudio Publisher is another graphical design app. It is designed to create published documents in a similar method to Pages. It features, a wide range of tools to help you design the page you want. Like any good publishing app it has many tools for aligning and designing the images, text management, and layout tools. The sidebar features and extensive number of sliders and manipulators to help you get what you want. Its a good alternative to Pages.
iBooks on your iPad or iPhone is becoming popular, I use a lot to read documents and PDFs. iBooks Author is a free app by Apple to help you design your own iBooks to design and distribute your own iBooks. It features a large number of templates and layouts, text styles and is designed to help your produce the best looking document for your iOS device. You can also submit your iBookstore so you can sell it to other people. Best of all, its free.
On the cheaper end of the scale we have ColorStrokes, its a simple app design to alter the colours within your image. I have previously reviewed this app. It allows your to highlight specific sections of an image, add colours, alter the contrast, brightness and saturation. Plus you can add effects to the image. Its a great way to alter an image within a cheap app.
So far this list has featured a lot of raster graphic apps. We are now going to delve into the world of vector graphics. iDraw is designed for vector images. Such a myriad of tools to precisely draw and manipulate those curves and lines. The app also offers a range of colour selectors and colour manipulators. Like most of the apps on this list, it also has iCloud and retina support. If you want a vector image processor and don’t want to use Adobe Illustrator, iDraw is one to look into.
The last design app on this list is Comic Life. It has a specific focus, comics. With many tools to help you get that comic look. The templates set you up the basic look and feel of your comic. Then you can apply the ever fun call outs, speak bubbles and comic book writing. It also has that recognisable “Ka-Pow” letter styling which you can apply to your comics. It is a fun app for kids and adults alike.
There are many design apps out there. This list contains some of my favourites. If you have any more, please leave a comment below.