First of all, let me apologize to all my Android loving readers. I know nothing about your phones, and I can't really apologize for it. I've been #teamApple since Apple was Macintosh and I fully admit to drinking the Koolaid; I'm hooked! All my devices are Apple products so I can only speak for iPhone apps.
Second, I have to admit that although I love my iPhone, it's an iPhone 5. I'm a couple generations behind, because I'm really frugal and refuse to go get the new phone version as soon as it comes out. But I do maximize the power of my little smartphone for what I do, and I think every designer should use these 7 apps on their iPhone.
As a designer, I'm constantly juggling multiple projects within a day. I may spend 15 minutes on the phone with a project manager, 3 hours on a schematic design plan and then 10 minutes talking to a client about paint colors. It's so hard to keep up with how much time you've spent on which project, but crucial to have an accurate account of time for billing purposes. Toggl Timer is awesome because it allows you to easily create a project and track your time with one click. The app also automatically sends you a report each week with the time you entered, making it easy to keep up with your projects.
Genius Scan turns your iPhone camera into a scanner for any document of photo that you want to save. I've used this app countless times to sign a document by hand, "scan" it and send it to someone via email. It's also great for handwritten notes or drawings that you make on the fly and don't want to lose. There is a free and paid version of this app and I've done just fine with the free!
Inspired by the beauty of a sunset? Love the color scheme of a certain pillow? Color Snap allows you to take a photo and pick Sherwin Williams paint colors directly from it. A great resource for creating color palettes!
This is an app that comes with the iPhone but I don't think most people know that not only is it a Compass but it's a level! Swipe to the right on the compass and it brings your to the level feature! Having a level on my phone is so convenient for checking hanging frames or making sure horizontal surfaces are actually level.
For commercial designers, this app allows you to select fabric from the Momentum collection and place it on furniture from pretty much any commercial manufacturer. It narrows down the gigantic variety for you by grade, color and type of pattern. Once a fabric is selected, the app tells you the price per square yard, how much you'll need and it's availability. This saves me so much time and communication between myself and a fabric/furniture rep.
My friend Dana introduced me to Trello and it's such a great tool for organizing! Similar to Pinterest, you create boards, but instead of adding photos, you add cards. These cards are interactive and can "hold" photos, pdfs, hyperlinks and more. Super useful when you need a digital file of all the elements you're curating for a project. If you're like me, the less paper in your life, the better!
If you are a woman, a frequent internet browser and reading this blog, more than likely you are a fan of Pinterest. This now $5 billion valued company has captured the attention of so many for keeping a virtual scrapbook of what you love, but have you used it for client projects? Recently at one of our team meetings, one of the architects raved about how one designer in our firm used a Pinterest board on her iPad to present to a major client. She printed off a screenshot of the entire Pinterest board and used that as handouts, and then talked about each pin while displaying them via her iPad through a projector. How cool is that? I challenge any designer to use this app for more than just your favorite photos.
The best thing about all these apps is that they are FREE. And I've included download links in each of the descriptions above. If you're reading this on your iPhone right now, simply click the link and it will lead you to the App Store on your phone to download. Do you have favorite iPhone apps that help you in your design business? Please share them below!