Iphone and ipad Apps to Boost Creativity

Having recently got my shiney new Ipad I have been checking out the Ipad Apps to help boost creativity and thought I would share a few which I like.

Brainstorming and Mindmaps

One of the things the majority of designers will do at the start of a project is create mind maps. I usually do mine in scribbled form with pencil and paper but there are also Ipad Apps that can help you with the task (and at least this way you won’t have trouble reading your own writing as I sometimes do). I have tried two mind map ipad Apps.

Idea Sketch (free)
A very simple brainstorming app that is simple with no frills – its just has options for the colour and shape of your boxes. Does the job.
Check it out here.

ipad app idea sketch

IThoughtsHD (paid) Another paid brainstorming app which offers you a few more options of different ways of linking, chains can be expanded and hidden. You can also add icons to your mindmaps. As my mind maps are pretty simple I would probably be more likely to use Idea Sketch.
Check it out here

ipad app ithoughts


I have used “real” moodboards in the past made up of torn up magazines stock onto mountboard. The ipad App does the same thing electronically.

Moodboard (Lite) free and Moodboard Pro (paid)
Moodboard (lite), which is the one I have currently got allows you to create one moodboard, after you have removed the sample content. Now this is not great I know, but it does give you a chance to take a look at the App and to experiment and see if it would be worth you paying for the Pro version. You can add your photos to the moodboards and include text and colour palletes to a mock cork board (pins and all).
Check it out here

ipadd app moodboard


Every designer should sketch to help get ideas doown on paper quickly. The ipad has several apps which allows you to draw straight on the ipad with your finger or an ipad stylus.

Adobe Ideas (free)
A simple App from Adobe that has a few simple tools to allow you to sketch on the ipad. You have options to change the size of your brush, the colour and an eraser to rub things out.
Check it out here.

ipad app adobe ideas

Sketchbook Pro (paid)
Sketchbook Pro takes sketching and painting to a whole other level with a wide choice of brush types and colours. You also have the useful addition of layers for more complex drawings. I have yet only managed doodles but some artists are creating some amazing ipad paintings
Check it out here

ipadd app sketchbook pro

Random Ideas

If you have ever read anything about Edward De Bono you will know of his creative techniques using random words. In its simplest form the idea is to add a random word to a creative problem you are trying to solve in order to try and stimulate new more creative results.

Word Twiddle (paid but cheap)
Word twiddle looks like a one arm bandit of words. You basically press a button and it spins the words then stops on random ones. You can choose how many columns of words you have and what sort of words it picks – ie. nouns, adjectives. You should then try to see how you relate the words to your creative problem.
Check it out here
ipadd app word twiddle random words

Inspiro (paid)
These ipad app is really different to anything else I have seen and I think it would be most useful for artists and creative writers. You start with three options – The muse, scenarios and the day dream machine. All the three options give you random phrases, scenarios and dreams and mostly are a little surreal. For example after playing a while with “the muse button” I got the phrase endlessly flaming creatures – if you were an artist perhaps that could inspire a painting or sculpture. I really like the scenarios which I think could be most useful for writers,  – after pushing the button I got  – “A shark trying to avoid a zebra”. You can choose to hold part of the phrase and have the rest change.
Check it out here
ipad app inspiro

Time Management and Organization

Well what the heck has time management and organization got to do with creativity? Well to be honest I would have thought exactly the same a couple of weeks ago before reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. He believes that every thing that we try and remember we have to do in our heads takes up valuable RAM that we could be using on creativity instead. His idea is that you keep everything that you need to do, however small, in a written (or electronic form) so your brain doesn’t have to retain it. I have always just scheduled out my work as a list on paper but not necessarily included the other stuff I needed to do or personal projects I wanted to work on in the future.

I have downloaded a few time management/organiser apps and by far the best in my opinion (though it is the most expensive) is “Things“.

Things (paid)
Things allows you to break down all the stuff you need to do by projects. For example if you were working on a brochure design you might create a project and then within that put the date to work on initial brainstorming, then first visuals, then meeting with the client, time for amends, artwork, and printing deadlines. You can then put dates by any of these items. In the Today panel – you will then see any dates from all your different projects that you wanted to see today (jobs that are imminent).
Check it out here
ipad app things

Alternative organisers/time planners
– similar to Things, it is cheaper but I found it less intuitive
Sorted – A much more basic lists app
Next Thing – Another more simple planner with lists for each day of the week

What iphone and ipad Apps do you think help boost creativity?

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  1. Posted August 3, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Awesome list!! I really look forward to trying some of these apps out!!
    Thanks a lot for sharing!!

  2. Posted August 3, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    IThoughtsHD is a neat one i use in meetings. Since i am a bit ADD, my mind goes a bit faster than the meeting so rather than interrupting I use this to help organize my thoughts and go over them later.

  3. Posted August 4, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    the ipad in my country is not yet arrived/being sold. it’s like a gold rush here – crazy ;) . but the first thing i will do is check some of the free app you gave here as a tip, maybe i will use a few when i will buy an ipad. Microsoft also released their own version to the ipad, so i might check that one out instead and decide.

  4. Posted August 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    These are great apps. Love the moodboard and Inspiro, will definitely be looking into these for my ipad. Thanks!

  5. Posted August 5, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Hi Matthew – I am loving Inspiro, kind of weird but cool

  6. Posted August 5, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Hilary – if you like being organised you should look at “Things” if you haven’t already got it

  7. Posted August 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing! Thats very interesting I can’t wait to try them out on my gadget ;)

  8. Eva
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for these tips, but i can’t find moodboard!!
    Too bad sounds great.

  9. Posted August 11, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Eva

    The link for moodboard worked when I just tried it – here it is again



  10. Posted August 13, 2010 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    Hi Tara,

    Any recommendations for Android based smartphones?

  11. Posted August 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    The “idea sketch” is really an amazing app that does often help me out when I’ve some idea in mind and afraid of forgetting them. I too would like to recommend it to all of you who own an iphone or an ipad.

  12. Eva
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Thanks Tara. Acutally i thought it was also for Iphone, si i checked on my app store. HAve to wait for a ipad now! :)

  13. TheKid
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    have a look at this one as well.

    Graphic Design Quiz.

    The app keeps track of the users score. The hi-score is “guru design”. The user can post the score on facebook as well.

  14. Posted April 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Tara. Acutally i thought it was also for Iphone, si i checked on my app store. HAve to wait for a ipad now! :)

  15. Posted February 15, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Hi Tara, I’m a big fan of Sketchbook Pro, it was the first app I downloaded when I brought my iPad

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