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30 Design Apps for 2013

We’ve compiled a listing of some of the coolest, most innovative and just plain handy design apps on the market for both Apple and Android devices.

Compiled by Adam Moore

We’ve compiled a listing of some of the coolest, most innovative and just plain handy design apps on the market for both Apple and Android devices.

It seems like we all have our faces buried in our smartphones and tablets these days, so why not make some productive use of that time? We’ve compiled a listing of some of the coolest, most innovative and just plain handy apps on the market for both Apple and Android devices that you’ll want to consider adding to your mobile arsenal.

adobe ideas
By Adobe, Apple, $9.99
If you’re already a member of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you’ll want to add Adobe Ideas to your toolkit. Functioning as a digital sketchbook, Adobe Ideas lets you capture and explore ideas in vector format anywhere you go thanks to a range of intuitive touchscreen tools.

American Leather Designer Tool
By Urnicus, Inc., Apple, Free
Browse, search, sort and share American Leather’s
comprehensive collection, and then add designs to custom, user-created catalogs for later review. Product price lists and CAD drawings are included with detailed breakdowns of fabric requirements.

Andreu World
By Andreu World, Apple, Free
Browse through Andreu World’s collections, products and designers and view projects from around the world all from the comfort of your couch. You can also send pricing requests, and order Andreu World catalogs and other materials via email.

By Mannington Commercial, Apple, Free
Apt is your one-stop-shop for all things Mannington. View the entire flooring product line, literature and reference documents for all products, and marketing materials such as videos. It also allows you to order samples and create demonstrations of coordinating products to show to potential customers.

By Toast Studio, Apple, Free
Arborite’s app provides access to the company’s entire collection, color-corrected for your device. A laminate coordinator suggests matching colors when viewing a sample, while a geolocalized address book tells you which sales representative is in your region. The best part? No internet connection is required.

Centiva First Step HD
By VerticalCurve, Apple, Free
The Centiva First Step app was developed to assist designers in the product selection and specification process. Quickly look up products, order samples and email the information, no matter where you are. The app also links to technical information regarding installation, maintenance and product testing.

ColorSnap Studio
By Sherwin-Williams, Apple/Android, Free
With ColorSnap Studio™, you can explore over 1,500 colors, get color inspiration from a photo or virtually paint your walls with the brush of a finger. Cost-concious designers will also appreciate the app’s paint calculator, and social designers will like its Flickr and Facebook integration.

By Hansgrohe AG, Apple/Android, Free
This intriguing app allows you to see how well Hansgrohe mixers will match an existing basin. Simply take a photo of your washbasin, remove the mixer and insert your favorite Hansgrohe design. You can also email the results to others and learn more about the company’s lines.

By Foscarini, Apple, Free
iFoscarini allows you to place 20 different lamps into real world environments, all by using the photo archive already on your iPad or iPhone. You can also share your enlightened images with others and view videos from Foscarini’s YouTube archive.

By Trend Group, Apple, Free
iGranite allows you to take a snapshot of any residential or commercial space, and transform the countertops, walls and floors with your finger. You can access Granite Transformation’s entire range of color and texture options and share your results with others directly through the app.

By Absolute Printers, Apple, $14.99
This natural stone swatch app is one of the most visually stunning in this roundup. Created with help from the Marble Institute of America, iStone presents images and technical information on more than 1,000 natural stones found around the world, all in a gorgeous 3-D environment.

By Johnsonite, Apple/Android, Free
Johnsonite’s fully featured app allows you to view and sample thousands of products all from the palm of your hand. You can also view installation and maintenance instructions and videos, check CSI specifications or find your local distributor.

KITS Mobile
By KiSP Inc., Apple, Free
If you already use KITS Collaborator to create photorealistic renderings of spaces, KITS Mobile is your excuse to get out of the office. This app engages the iPad’s camera, creating to-scale onscreen environments from snapshots, which can then be furnished with a simple swipe of your finger.

LZF Lamps
By Luziferlamps S.L., Apple, Free
Luminaries from LZF always have a certain sense of style about them, and the company’s app is no different. Search through the company’s entire catalog and access large, detailed product photos and information. You can also make pricing and catalog requests directly through the app.

By A Tiny Tribe LLC, Apple, $9.99
Moodboard allows you to import photos from your photo library or the web, work with layers and organize multiple boards to keep track of all of your ideas. You can even share your finished work via email, Twitter, Facebook or iTunes.

By Morpholio Apps, Apple, Free
Morpholio makes it possible for architects and designers to present, share and get feedback on their work in one seamless platform. Create and organize multiple portfolios of work, add searchable titles, import images from services like Dropbox, and set up critiques with collaborators and team members.

My Measures & Dimensions
By SIS Software, Apple/Android, $2.99
With My Measures, all you have to do is take a photo of the object or space you wish to remember, and then add your measurements directly to the image with the help of arrows, angles and text. This app can also communicate with the Leica Disto D8 laser meter.


nora flooring on the go
By nora systems, Apple/Blackberry, free
Nora systems’ family of nora flooring on the go mobile apps have been on the market for some time now, but they are still some of the best. The apps for iPad and iPhone enable users to search through the entire nora product and accessory lines by name, type, color or recommended markets. Helpful links to optimized video pages offer up installation and maintenance videos—great for onsite troubleshooting. In addition, the apps give users the ability to order samples and contact nora customer service for convenient assistance.

Nora flooring on the go apps for iPad and iPhone are available for download through iTunes, while nora flooring on the go for BlackBerry can be downloaded through BlackBerry’s App World.
Learn more at

By PaletteApp, Apple, Free
Architects and design professionals in the contract interiors industry now have a virtual resource library of thousands of manufacturer products at their fingertips with PaletteApp™, a powerful, free online digital design program.

PaletteApp offers easy product selections and comparisons and allows interior design professionals to create new design palettes for projects or presentations. The user can sort through thousands of products—including those from Arc-Com, Sherwin-Williams, Carnegie and J+J/Invision—by entering project data, and the PaletteApp patent-pending filtering system eliminates unnecessary product options. Users can search products by type, budget or style, and efficiently order samples. For more information, visit

Palettes Pro
By Rick Maddy, Apple, $3.99
Palettes Pro is a powerful tool for creating and maintaining color palettes. You can grab colors from a photograph, a website or add colors using any one of five color models. You can also store an unlimited number of palettes and export them with one click.

Real Colors Pro
By Makan Studios, Android/Apple, $3.99
With Real Colors Pro, you can automatically generate color schemes from photos using established color theory rules, and edit and save your favorites. Real Colors Pro provides a wide range of detailed color information, and even allows you to export your schemes to Adobe programs.

By Cosentino Group, Apple, Free
From color inspiration to installation galleries and practical advice, this app can streamline the research and specification process for K&B projects, while also allowing you to share your ideas with clients and co-workers. It also includes a square footage calculator and dealer locator.

By Haworth, Apple, Free
Experience Haworth’s organic workspaces through this innovative app. You can visit North American locations, such as Chicago and New York, as well as European and Asian locations such as London, Mumbai and Madrid. View and share product information, find a showroom or even call the showroom’s general line.

Steelcase WorkLife Interactive Showroom
By Steelcase, Apple, Free
Experience Steelcase WorkLife™ Showrooms from all over the world, right on your iPad. The app includes interactive floorplans for each showroom, an image gallery and an unique virtual vellum mode, which allows you to draw over the top of any setting.

Stones of North America
By Marble Institute of America, Apple, Free
Our second app in this roundup created by the MIA, Stones of North America is the ideal stone selection guide for architects and designers. View life-sized images of stones in vivid color; you can even locate local quarries and processing centers for your next sustainable project.

SyncSpace Shared Whiteboard
By The Infinite Kind, Apple/Android, $4.99
SyncSpace provides a zoomable drawing space that can be shared in real time over the internet—a sort of shared whiteboard. Turn on synchronization and send a link to others who will be able to see your drawing and make changes using SyncSpace.

Tandus Flooring Quick Ship
By Tandus Flooring, Apple, Free
Tandus Flooring Express gives you mobile access to the company’s catalog of commercial floorcovering solutions through its Quick Ship program. Search the catalog by style, price or color, and order a sample or contact a sales rep directly through the app.

By Teknion, Apple, Free
Now you can have Teknion’s popular furniture systems, freestanding furniture, desking products and architectural wall systems at your fingertips. The company’s app includes product overviews, interactive product attributes, quick access to technical information, size and finish information, product animations and videos, and more.

Vetrazzo Recycled Glass Surfaces
By Vetrazzo, Apple, Free
Looking to use recycled glass in your next project? The new Vetrazzo app allows you to see a full color picture of every recycled glass mix, access LEED information and product specification sheets, and a portfolio of notable commercial projects from around the world.

Walter Knoll
By Walter Knoll AG, Apple/Android, Free
Discover Walter Knoll products, projects and innovations all through your smartphone. Search by text, product groups, designers, product families and projects, or navigate straight to a product data sheet. You can also make pricing and catalog requests directly through the app.

All prices and information accurate as of January 15, 2013.