Can You Do Graphic Design on an iPad?

two ipad pros laying side by side for graphic design

Many designers are loyal followers of apple products. We see many graphic designers use macs for reasons I explained in this post. So, the next sensible question to ask might be, do graphic designers use iPads?

Graphic designing refers to communicating ideas and messages visually using attractive graphics, images, text, and layout techniques. We know that computers and smartphones do a good job by providing us tools to do exactly that.

But, is it possible to do graphic design on an iPad? The answer is yes it is definitely possible to do graphic design on an iPad as you have a number of graphic design apps to work with on the App Store. However, it does depend on the kind of niche you specialize in as the iPad is not a one-size-fits-all and can be difficult for some graphic designers to utilize based on what they are using it for.

Should You Get an iPad for Graphic Designing?

Since we know that it is possible to use an iPad for graphic designing the next thing to ask yourself is should you? Because iPads can be a costly investment, especially for design students on a tight budget. For some graphic designers, the iPad is an essential part of their overall workflow as it allows them to do multiple tasks by hand which they would rather do with a mouse or keyboard.

What you specialize in also has a great impact on your decision to using an iPad as there are some niches where an iPad would benefit you greatly and some where it might just not be a worthwhile investment.

Who Should Use an iPad for Graphic Designing

Graphic design is a broad term for a variety of fields so below I’ve highlighted some niches where an iPad would be beneficial:

  • Illustration – The most popular choice for illustration is an iPad Pro and many illustrators can’t imagine working without one. It’s much better to illustrate with hand using the Apple pencil combined with the iPad than drawing a picture, taking a photo, sending it your laptop, and tracing over it in Illustrator.
  • Animation – Animators need to have a good grip on drawing pictures consistently accurate and having an iPad helps them do just that. Working on a computer with a mouse and keyboard can be a nightmare as you would just tail behind the competition due to being inconsistent.
  • Logo designing – Apps such as Vectornator and Affinity Designer have added great functionality for logo designers making it possible to create stunning logos with your Apple pencil and iPad.

Including these three primary niches where the iPad dominates it is also possible to use the iPad for tasks such as lettering, marking, and typography – all which are essential to graphic design.

Disadvantages of using an iPad for Graphic Designing

The iPad can prove to be a great tool for graphic designing if you use it in the right way but there are some downsides to using it for professional graphic design work.

Firstly, it’s not as strong as a laptop or desktop computer. The iPad can cost a lot no matter which version you choose and getting a powerful laptop might be a much better investment as it would provide you with a faster RAM, processor, and more space in the same price.

Even though I think the iPad is irreplaceable for high-quality illustration and animation work the iPad isn’t as important as you might think for basic graphic design tasks such as, sketching, note taking, and making layout/compositions.

These things can be done even with a pad of paper and might be better when creating rough concepts for your ideas as you can jot them down faster on a piece of paper than an iPad. However, if most of your sketches need to be well-crafted and are much more complex than simple shapes an iPad might be great for you.

Top 3 Best iPads for Graphic Design

Now that you have a clear idea of what the iPad is capable of in the graphic design industry it might be helpful to look into the best pieces Apple has to offer. Below are some of the best iPads to use for graphic design.

1. 12.9 inch iPad Pro

12.9 inch ipad pro best ipad for graphic designing

Apple’s flagship 12.9 inch iPad Pro is the gold-standard for graphic designers, digital artists, photo editors, and content creators. It takes the top spot with its majestic 2732 x 2048 Liquid Retina display which gives you a bright and color rich display and second-gen Apple pencil with advanced features for illustration and smooth strokes.

It is an ideal device as it has everything you need for graphic design. The main drawback would be its price as it is quite costly especially when combined with the $100 Apple pencil.

Check out the iPad Pro from Amazon.

2. iPad Air

best light ipad for graphic design ipad air

The iPad Air is a much lighter and thinner option for graphic design work and offers great performance at a lower price range. It supports the first-gen Apple pencil which is super-responsive and gives you those smooth flowing lines.

The iPad Air isn’t as powerful as the iPad pro but can still get the bulk of graphic design projects done efficiently.

Check out the iPad Air from Amazon.

3. iPad Mini

best portable ipad for design ipad mini

Apple’s iPad Mini is a great iPad that is easy to carry around in your hand due to its portable size and works well with first-gen Apple pencil. It is also the cheapest option given the performance it carries and can be great for moderate graphic design.

For more professional work down the line I would recommend opting for the above two options instead.

Check out the iPad Mini from Amazon.

Best Graphic Design Apps for iPad in 2022

To fully unleash the potential power of your iPad you need to have some good graphic design apps installed. Below are some of the best graphic design apps for iPad in 2022.

1. Affinity Designer

Affinity designer is the all-in-one tool you would need for all your graphic design needs to due to its extensive capabilities of being able to accomplish almost every task Adobe products could on a laptop. It is a professional-grade vector tool that allows for a much more natural workflow when combined with the Apple pencil.

You can get Affinity designer from Serif’s official website for a one-time purchase of $19.99.

2. AutoDesk Sketchbook

Autodesk Sketchbook is geared more towards graphic designers who’s primary focus is on sketching, drawing, and painting digitally. AutoDesk isn’t the best app for typography, layout, and lettering but can still be very versatile.

You can get the AutoDesk Sketchbook app on the IOS App Store for free.

3. Vectornator

Vectornator is the best graphic design app you can get for free on your iPad. It is used by people of top companies such as Apple, Disney, and Microsoft and provides you with hundreds of different features and functions for your graphic design work. It is trending to become the industry-standard for illustration work in the future – it’s that good.

Learn more about the Vectornator app on their official website.

4. What the Font

What the Font is a great tool for typography lovers as it helps identify fonts around your surrounding. You can quickly scan any font with your iPad and it will show you what that font is or alternatives you can choose from.

It’s a great way to discover newer fonts for your graphic design projects. You can view the free version from the IOS App Store.

5. Astropad Standard

Astropad is a unique app that can transform your iPad into a graphics tablet that can be used with your mac computer. It functions like a proper graphics tablet allowing you to access all your desktop apps and a smooth uninterrupted workflow between your tab and computer. 

The app is a bit pricey coming at about $29.99 from the App Store. I won’t recommend this for beginners but if you a more experienced designer this is one of the best apps you’re going to buy.

Conclusion

It is possible to do graphic design on an iPad as there are many graphic design apps on the app store that provide you with the necessary tools. The most popular iPad amongst designers is the 12.9 inch iPad Pro which is the industry-standard due to its sharp colorful display and support for the second-gen Apple pencil.

Whether or not you should get an iPad for graphic design comes down to personal preference and budget. If you have the budget to buy a powerful computer and don’t do a lot of illustration work the iPad might not be a worthwhile iinvestemtn but for the most part the iPad will treat you good.

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