Graphic Design on Mobile: A Step by Step Guide - Mediacaterer (2023)

Graphic Design on Mobile: A Step by Step Guide - Mediacaterer (1)

Many people all around the globe are full of passion when it comes to design, however since they don’t have the latest computer or software they often resort to the conclusion that maybe it just “isn’t for them.”

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But, you know how the famous saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Nowadays, almost everyone has a smartphone with them, and people who don’t have access to a good pc or graphics tablet can start their graphic designing career on mobile.

It is 100% possible to make awesome graphic designs using just your phones as many apps have advanced and increased their capabilities. Adobe along with other well-known graphic design software companies have developed a number of apps to help people to kick-start their career even if they don’t have a computer.

The great thing about the apps we’re going to discuss is also that they can be synced with other devices meaning if you do plan to import your projects on PC in the future you can.

Table of Contents

What Kind of Phone is Needed for Graphic design?

Most people think they need an iPad Pro to be a good designer on mobile and even though it is the best option it’s not necessary when you’re first starting out.

You don’t need a very high-end phone, but that doesn’t mean any phone could be used.

If you have a phone with a very old version it might not be possible to download all the apps and use them for your projects. Apps on the previous versions were also not as developed as they are now so it would be difficult to make good quality graphics using these apps.

I would suggest having an Android version of 6 or above and if possible the latest version on iPhone. I tried a majority of these apps on my Huawei Honor 7x which is an old phone and they worked great.

You can check out my article on the5 Best Smartphones for Graphic designersto get a detailed review of some of the highest-quality phones.

The Best Free Graphic Design Apps

Below are the best graphic design apps you can download for free on Android or Apple:

  • Adobe Capture
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Photoshop fix
  • Adobe Comp
  • Illustrator Draw
  • Canva
  • Adobe Spark

You must’ve noticed that most of the above apps I mentioned are made by Adobe.

Adobe is the industry-standard software for graphic designers, which makes sense why they are also able to dominate the mobile market as well.


The set-up for mobile is assuming you are using primarily Adobe apps and have an Android mobile. However, the process would be the same if you were using an iPhone or iPad.

The initial set-up is easy, all you have to do is open the app of your choice and click sign-up. This will prompt you to create an Adobe Creative Cloud account. This account is important as this is where all of your projects and data will be saved. It will also be used to sync to other apps so they can be used together.

Alongside the account set-up, I would also recommend you get a stylus as it would feel more natural when designing.

The styluses I recommend are the Apple Pencil and the MEKO Universal Stylus.

Using Adobe Capture

Adobe capture is by far the most versatile tool for graphic designers. Adobe capture allows you to use your phone’s camera to take photos and then using A.I. to identify the kind of fonts, colors and styles that were used in your photo.

Here’s a photo I took of the sunset for my Snapchat:

Graphic Design on Mobile: A Step by Step Guide - Mediacaterer (2)

After adding the photo in Adobe capture I’ll select Colors and it would detect all the colors being used in the image and make a color palette.

Graphic Design on Mobile: A Step by Step Guide - Mediacaterer (3)

If it doesn’t get the colors you want you can easily drag the points to where you want them to be.

Now that you have a nice color palette hit save. This will save your colors in your Adobe Library which can be used in other projects.

Retouching and Photo Manipulation

Retouching and Photo manipulation is a popular field for many graphic designers and their desired tool is Photoshop as it is the best photo manipulation software.

However, since you’re on mobile you don’t have access to Photoshop, so the next best alternative is to use the smaller Photoshop apps such as:

  • Adobe Lightroom – for basic editing, cropping tools and a large number of presets, filters and styles. Lightroom has easy-to-use sliders which you can drag up and down to add or reduce the impact of a filter or effect placed. It has an intuitive interface and is great for everyone from professional to beginner.
  • Adobe Photoshop Express – great for making collages and adding some flair into your designs. You can use this app to add text and filters along with making stickers for your designs.
  • Adobe Photoshop Fix – this tool helps to remove any unwanted bits from your design. It is similar to the healing tool in Photoshop and uses content awareness which basically means it won’t ruin your design whilst editing.
  • Adobe Photoshop Mix – an app used to cut out and combine elements together in a single project. Similar to selecting an object in Photoshop then cropping and dragging it to another project.

How to llustrate on Your Mobile

Illustration is the main problem many people face when it comes to going mobile. No matter how good of a designer you are there’s just something extremely painful of illustrating on a smartphone.

For illustration, a great app you can useAdobeIllustrator Draw.

Illustrator draw includes vector brushes similar to the ones used in Adobe Illustrator which come in various shapes and sizes. You can also make your own brush preset however it doesn’t offer much flexibility.

The best feature about Illustrator draw may be the layers feature. Illustrator draw has layers on which you can create separate artwork which makes the whole drawing process from sketching to filling easier.

You may think that since this is on mobile it can’t be able to make high-quality illustrations but look at some of these projects made by people on the app:

Graphic Design on Mobile: A Step by Step Guide - Mediacaterer (4)

See the full list of projects on Behance.

Beautiful compositions using Adobe Comp

Now, that we have all our graphics, colors, fonts and images it’s time to put it all together using Adobe Comp.

Adobe Comp (short for composition) is an app that allows you to arrange all your design elements on one or more pages and creating a complete layout for an awesome final piece.

Adobe Comp doesn’t have an intuitive workspace and can take some time to get used to.

Part of this reason is that it uses gestures to place elements on the screen.

For example, if you want to add a box for text you have to draw a line and add a dot, to add an image draw an X using your finger etc.

Here’s the full list of gestures for reference:

Graphic Design on Mobile: A Step by Step Guide - Mediacaterer (5)
Note: You can always use the buttons below but if you are serious about using this app and increasing your productivity you should get used to the gestures.


It is possible to do graphic designing using nothing but you’re smartphone by using the Adobe apps or something similar, however, there are some limitations. You may not have the flexibility that PC users have using the latest design software and the process of downloading many apps could slow your phone down which could be both tedious and annoying.

Despite all of this many individuals don’t back down from graphic designing because they don’t have the latest Mac or an IPad Pro and these apps give them the ability to make wonderful projects to be shared all around the world.


How can I do graphic design on my phone? ›

Using Adobe Capture

Adobe capture is by far the most versatile tool for graphic designers. Adobe capture allows you to use your phone's camera to take photos and then using A.I. to identify the kind of fonts, colors and styles that were used in your photo.

What is the first step in the 13 step graphic design process in graphic design what is a brief? ›

A brief, as you should know, is a set of instructions or directions about the project at hand. This could include details about the business, the target audience, the specifications, as well as a whole host of other information.

What app can I use for graphic design on phone? ›

Adobe Photoshop is an image editing and graphic designing software that helps businesses streamline photo editing and compositing processes and create digital paintings and animations.

How do I start graphic design for beginners? ›

How to Become a Graphic Designer in 5 Steps:
  1. Learn graphic design principles.
  2. Enroll in a graphic design course.
  3. Learn key graphic design tools.
  4. Work on your own projects to develop your graphic design skills.
  5. Develop a portfolio to showcase your graphic design work.

What are the 7 rule of graphic design? ›

The fundamental principles of design are: Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement and White Space.

What are the 12 rules of graphic design? ›

There are twelve basic principles of design: contrast, balance, emphasis, proportion, hierarchy, repetition, rhythm, pattern, white space, movement, variety, and unity. These visual and graphic design principles work together to create appealing and functional designs that make sense to users.

Is it hard to teach yourself graphic design? ›

Is Graphic Design Hard to Learn? Learning graphic design is not hard, but it does require creative thinking, an aptitude towards art and design, and time and dedication. Graphic design requires learning the necessary tools, as well as understanding and applying the principles and theories of design.

How can I learn graphic design with no experience? ›

How to Become a Graphic Designer with No Experience 2023
  1. Website development. ...
  2. Print media. ...
  3. Gaming. ...
  4. Social media. ...
  5. Study basic graphic design principles. ...
  6. Take an online graphic design course or earn a certificate. ...
  7. Learn essential graphic design tools. ...
  8. Hone your graphic design skills through personal projects.
Oct 4, 2022

What are the 4 rules of graphic design? ›

The four graphic design principles are contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity (C.R.A.P.).

What are the five 5 stages in designing? ›

The Five Phases of Design Thinking

The short form of the design thinking process can be articulated in five steps or phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test.

What is step 5 in basic steps of design process? ›

Stage 5: Test—Try Your Solutions Out

Test: the fifth and final phase of the design thinking process, where you test solutions to derive a deep understanding of the product and its users. Designers or evaluators rigorously test the complete product using the best solutions identified in the Prototype stage.

Which app should I learn for graphic design? ›

Adobe Photoshop is arguably the most popular graphic design software and is used by millions of artists around the world. Whether you are looking to create banners, posters, websites, or logos, this best graphic design software can do it all for you.

Which device is good for graphic design? ›

Top 3 Best Graphic Design Tablets in 2023 - Comparison
FeaturesBest Large TabletBest For iOS
Best Tablets for Graphic Design in 2023
Tablet NameWacom Cintiq Pro 16 Creative Pen & Touch DisplayApple iPad Air
Active Drawing Area13.58" x 7.64"10.9 inches
Resolution5080 LPI1640 x 2360 pixels
5 more rows
Apr 26, 2023

How do graphic designers come up with ideas? ›

Eliminating possibilities and options can make a job less daunting without restricting the creative process.
  • Find inspiration on social media. ...
  • Flip through the pages of a magazine. ...
  • Collect inspiration. ...
  • Play. ...
  • Talk it out. ...
  • Make creativity part of your routine. ...
  • Have a regular 'artist date' ...
  • Get some fresh air.

What are the 4 golden rules of design? ›

The UI design principals are: Place users in control of the interface Make it comfortable to interact with a product Reduce cognitive load Make user interfaces consistent 1. Place users in control of the interface Good UIs instill a sense of control in their users.

What is the golden rule of graphic design? ›

One of the best things about the Golden Ratio is that it gives you a simple number to help structure the otherwise expressive nature of design. Simply multiply an element's size by 1.618 to figure out the size of another element, or overlay the Golden Spiral to adjust their placement.

What is the golden rule of design? ›

You can find the Golden Ratio when you divide a line into two parts and the longer part (a) divided by the smaller part (b) is equal to the sum of (a) + (b) divided by (a), which both equal 1.618. This formula can help you when creating shapes, logos, layouts, and more.

What are the 11 steps in the design process? ›

Stages in the Design Process
  • Analyze the situation. Before beginning the design, sort out what problem you are trying to address.
  • Write a brief. ...
  • Research the problem. ...
  • Write a specification. ...
  • Work out possible solutions. ...
  • Select a preferred solution. ...
  • Prepare working drawings and plan ahead. ...
  • Construct a prototype.

What is the 4 order of design? ›

  • How has design evolved? Richard Buchanan, in his ideas about Four Orders of Design theory, points out how design has changed over time in its overall scope; from a context of creating tangible things to accessing intangible change.
  • 1- Design of Symbols. ...
  • 2- Industrial Design. ...
  • 3- Design of Interactions. ...
  • 4- Design of Systems.
Nov 12, 2019

What is step 8 of the design process? ›

The Engineering Design Process is the way in which engineers solve problems and construct something. The process is split down into eight steps: Ask it, Research it, Plan it, Create it, Test it, Improve it, Share it and Review it. Each of these steps is crucial to the success of an engineering project.

What are the 80 20 rules design? ›

The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule as its also known, is a productivity hack of sorts. The idea behind it is: 80% of the effects of any given process come from 20% of the effort put into it. To illustrate this in a UX context, it's like saying: 80% of your users use 20% of your features.

What is the 80 20 rule in graphic design? ›

The 80 / 20 rule states that 80% of the effects in any large system is caused by 20% of the variables in that system. What this essentially implies is that, the 20% is what causes the 80%. Look at 80 as the effect produced and the 20 as the cause of the effect.

Can I do graphic design without coding? ›

Do I Need to Code to be a Graphic Designer? The short answer to this question is no. Many artists pursue graphic design without a background in coding. As with any field, there are multiple layers to graphic design and multiple subsections within the field.

Can I learn graphic design without coding? ›

Learning to code for designers is not necessary. But if they know a bit about code, they can understand a developer's perspective. It doesn't mean that they have to be an expert coder. But it would greatly benefit them if they knew a little about how to code HTML and CSS, maybe a little bit of JavaScript.

Can you learn graphic design without drawing? ›

In fact, drawing skills generally aren't even a requirement in most graphic design job descriptions. In an analysis of more than 46,000 graphic design job postings, eight of the top 10 skills in highest demand are associated with design software.

How long does it take to learn graphic design on your own? ›

Students looking to become comfortable experimenting with the tools can learn graphic design in only a few weeks. Students looking to master the tools for professional use may take months or even years to become comfortable with them.

Can I learn graphic design in 3 months? ›

It is possible to become an amateur Graphic Designer who is well on the road to becoming a professional Graphic Designer in about three months. In short, three months is what it will take to receive the professional training required to start building a set of competitive professional job materials.

How do I create a logo? ›

How to design a logo
  1. Define your brand identity.
  2. Seek inspiration.
  3. Determine logo style.
  4. Choose a type.
  5. Decide on a color scheme.
  6. Pick a font.
  7. Outline a logo shape.
  8. Create a logo.

What are the basic knowledge of graphic design? ›

What Are the Basic Elements of Graphic Design? Line, shape, form, texture, space, imagery, typography and color. Understanding each of these basic elements of graphic design in isolation will help you see how to bring them together and open a whole world of creative possibilities.

What is the number one rule in graphic design? ›

Rule 1 - Consistency is key!

Use a regular format and design for all your branded materials. Everything you present externally is designed to establish rapport with your target audience, so it's important to make sure it is consistent across your website, business cards, social media, brochures, flyers and merchandise.

What is the three second rule in graphic design? ›

You have about three seconds to absorb the bulk of the information before you zoom past the billboard or focus your eyes on the road ahead. The same principle of attention can be applied to your exhibit graphics.

What are the 3 most important elements of design thinking? ›

There are five key elements of the Design Thinking process:
  • Human-centered. If you don't understand the person who will be using the thing you're trying to create, it simply won't work. ...
  • Creative and playful. ...
  • Iterative. ...
  • Collaborative. ...
  • Prototype driven.
Nov 2, 2020

What is step six of the design process? ›

Step 6: Present the Results.

As engineers design and develop, they share results with others and try to find even better ways of solving the problem.

What is design rule of 5? ›

'Every room should have color, comfort, character, craft, and be well-curated,' Kit explains. According to the designer, these five elements contribute to how 'memorable' your home appears.

What is a design process 5? ›

Design process steps. The five main steps in the design process are Empathize, Define, Ideate, Deliver, and Test. You might hear different names to describe these steps, but this is how most design processes unfold.

What is step 4 of the design process? ›

Step 4 of The Design Process: Develop Solutions (Prototyping)

What app can I use for graphic design on iPhone? ›

Best Graphic Design Apps for iPhone
  • Adobe Illustrator,
  • Adobe Photoshop,
  • Canva,
  • Figma,
  • HoneyBook.
  • Affinity Designer,
  • Adobe Creative Cloud,
  • Easelly,

What free apps to use for graphic design? ›

The best free graphic design apps for social media
  • Canva for template-based design.
  • Adobe Express for scaling a side hustle.
  • Pablo by Buffer for quickly making images to share on social media.
  • Snappa for creating occasional images.
  • VistaCreate for a free social media and print design app.
Jan 18, 2023

Can graphic designing done on smart phone? ›

Graphic design work can be done on a standard Smartphone to a degree. Several mobile apps for iOS and Android devices allow you to perform many of the same tasks as other devices. However, there are significant limitations to these apps and using a phone as well as some unique advantages.

Can you design on Canva on your phone? ›

Available for iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets, the app allows you to create professional looking designs within seconds—and it makes it even easier to send your designs directly to your social media platforms.

Does Apple have a graphic design app? ›

CREATE gives you the power of desktop design tools on an iPhone / iPad. The CREATE app is designed using CREATE!

How do I make a digital drawing on my iPhone? ›

Open the Procreate Pocket app and start a new canvas by clicking the white plus sign at the top right corner of the home screen. Play around with brush styles, colors, and different elements as you make your digital artwork. Procreate Pocket is only available on iPhone and iPod Touch, and requires iOS 13.2 or later.

Does Apple have a design software? ›

Graphic for MAC gives you the possibility to stylize objects using vivid colors, gradients, seamless pattterns or even images. Create detailed shapes using Graphic's tools and vector shape building techniques.

What is the easiest graphic design software to learn? ›

13 Best Graphic Design Software for Beginners [2022 Updated]
  • Canva - Best for Stock Content. ...
  • DesignWizard - Best for Templates. ...
  • CorelDRAW Standard - Best for Illustrators. ...
  • Adobe Express - Best for Social Media. ...
  • Visme - Best for Businesses. ...
  • Affinity Designer - Best for Precision Edits. ...
  • PicMonkey - Best for Frames.
Feb 17, 2023

What device is needed for graphic design? ›

Graphic Designers most commonly use graphic design software. Adobe Creative Suite is the most popular option in the industry, but there are also other powerful design programs available, such as Sketch. In addition to software, Graphic Designers rely on other tools such as computers, tablets, and cameras.

What is the salary of a mobile app graphic designer? ›

Mobile APP Designer Salary
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$138,000$66
75th Percentile$122,000$59
25th Percentile$72,000$35

Do I own my designs on Canva? ›

Copyright ownership in a Canva design

Generally speaking, if you're the creator of an original design, you're also its copyright holder. But if you used third-party content (e.g. stock media from the Canva library) in your design, your ownership is subject to those third-party rights.

Can I use my own images with Canva? ›

Canva has a library of images and videos, but if you want to use your own media in your designs, you can either upload them or import them to Canva. To upload your content, see Uploading media from your device.

Why does my Canva design look different on my phone? ›

Different browsers can export some elements differently. If elements, text or images in your design appear to have moved or changed size during download, try to download your design again on a different browser. Canva's supported browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge.

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