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These Creative Apps Can Help You Find Inspiration

According to a study published by Nesta, creatives make up roughly 10% of the workforce in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, respectively. And the numbers are growing. By 2030, the UK-based think tank suggests that another 1 million creative jobs will enter the UK workforce alone. Since many of these creatives are working in technology, it’s fitting that there exists an abundance of mobile apps and software geared towards solving problems in an ever-expanding industry.

Last week we tackled 8 essential apps to simplify your creative business. Here we’ll be diving into the best mobile apps to keep you constantly inspired.

Creative Apps to Map Out Your Projects

 A jolt of creativity can strike at any moment. Without the proper tools, it is easy for a great idea to get lost in the noise. Paper is a multi-functional app that, at its simplest, allows you to sketch, write and snap photos. Individual notes are organized into a stacked grid where your text, doodle, scribble or photograph can be expanded into larger individual folders, which can then be easily arranged and curated by intuitive touch. Casual note-taking can quickly be converted into to-do lists, diagrams or bulleted notes with a simple right swipe. A pencil tool and separate stylus allows you to jot down notes on photographs or highlight areas to edit later. More importantly, a varied set of sophisticated brush tools and color schemes allow you to create elaborate illustrations on your iPhone or iPad. Smart drawing tools clean up rough sketches to create crisp shapes and typography. By default, your notes are private, but can be easily shared or exported as pictures, PDF files or presentations.

For creatives hashing out new projects, Mindly is a straight-forward app that helps you visually organize and develop ideas using an old-fashioned brainstorming map. The map can be broken down into three different tiers that allow you to build out ideas into circles, which can be color coded or mapped out using icons or photos. Additionally, you can link circles to web pages or attach notes for further reference. Mindly maps can remain housed on your iPhone, transferred into PDFs, printed or converted for presentations.

Better suited to an iPad, Penultimate is a note-taking app developed by Evernote. This creative app allows you to create multi-page handwritten notes or doodles in a variety of different sizes, colors and paper sheet templates. Crucially, your notes can be integrated into Evernote itself – a boon for creatives that use the software for project management.

creative apps
Apps like Paper allow you to use traditional tools for a high-tech application.

Apps for Drawing Inspiration

 Whether you are a creative director, curator or painter, staying up to date on the latest market trends in the art world is the key to staying relevant. Artsy began as a simple art directory before teaming up with Sotheby’s and becoming full-fledged web platform that serves as a magazine, archive and auction house. The creative app has partnered with many of the world’s leading galleries and art institutions, amassing a database of more than 800,000 images and 70,000 artists that spans historical, modern and contemporary works. Artsy’s curator ‘genome’ works in the database in order to connect works of differing styles and eras, which allows users to discover new pieces based on works they ‘collect’ on their mobile device.

Phaidon offers a design companion app to Artsy. Phaidon Art Classics is a creative app that houses a comprehensive collection of 1,000 designs from the last two centuries. Emphasis is placed on design ‘classics’ and offers encyclopedic materials including archival photos, original sketches, prototypes and information about the design, designer and historical significance, which accompany sleek 3D renderings of each design. The only downside is that this creative app is only available for iPad.

For typography nerds, Typendium is a straight forward creative app dedicated to uncovering the stories behind of the world’s most famous typefaces via a collection of essays and illustrations.

In a Design Rut? Try These Creative Apps

For the particularly color obsessed creative, Pantone has developed a creative app to digitalize their traditional color swatch booklets. Creatives can snap photographs or download images from the web and extract colors from a library of more than 10,000 hues. The app has a built-in reference which allows users to cross reference color harmonies, values and visualize in RGB, CMYK and HEX. Customized color palettes can be visualized colors on graphics, interiors and 3D materials to inform your final designs. Color palettes can be synced to various design softwares, and for designers with social media strategies they can also be uploaded to Instagram and Pinterest.

Choosing the right typography is an integral part of any design project. With thousands of options, it can be difficult for designers to narrow their focus. Typekit is a web-based platform that comes built into the Creative Cloud and allows you to sort through thousands of legal-to-use fonts and sync seamlessly into the font menu of all your programs. Most importantly, the app allows you to identify typography from your own photographs or uploaded images which can be embedded into your own web design.

creative apps
Apps like Typekit and the new Pantone app allow you to draw inspiration from an endless resource.

Once you have narrowed down a few fonts, Tiff is simple web platform that allows you to compare how letters appear in various fonts. Typecast is another useful creative typography platform that allows users to render typefaces across different devices, OS and screen types. Prototypes of potential web design allow design teams to visualize how styles will work across devices and see how content reflows across different screen sizes.

For artists or designers that need to sketch or illustrate digital images, there is a variety of creative apps for your mobile devices. For Adobe users, Adobe Illustrator Draw is a simple vector-based drawing tool. The creative app allows you to sync images up to the Creative Cloud or import images to be worked on within the app. Procreate is another comprehensive illustrating app for iPad designed specifically for creatives professionals. The creative app features an extensive set of more than 100 brushes as well as the ability to create your own custom brushes, customizable palette swatches and helpful layer and mask options to create high-resolution images. Intuitive multi-touch gestures replace keyboard shortcuts to keep creative workflow as efficient as possible.

Whether you are an artist, a curator, creative director or web designer, staying inspired is just as important as staying on task. Luckily, technology is on our side and an infinite number of creative apps and software are available to keep those creative juices flowing.

Do you use a creative app to stay on track? Let us know your favorites!

About the author

Kevin Vaughn

Kevin Vaughn is a writer and photographer focused on food and culture based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina. His freelance work has appeared in Munchies, New Worlder, Remezcla and Savoteur, and he pens a weekly restaurant column for the BA based news and lifestyle site The Bubble. When he is not writing he is giving customized food tours to hungry travelers via his company Devour Buenos Aires or is making tacos for his Mexican inspired traveling pop-up MASA.

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