15 Stunningly Beautiful Apps That Every Creative Person Needs


Creativity is often viewed with an eye to the past. Michelangelo, Fitzgerald, Kahlo, Hitchcock, Beethoven: All the greats existed and produced masterpieces during periods without fancy gadgets; only ink, paper, paint and film were required back then. Why, then, should 21st-century creators want anything else?

This thinking ignores a key characteristic of technology: It makes many areas of our lives infinitely easier. Not just within the utilitarian realm of maps and text messages, either. Technology can be our right-brain's best friend when deployed savvily and with a sprinkle of self-discipline.

Whether you're an aspiring Joan Didion, Julia Child, Claude Monet or Ansel Adams — or just someone who loves to play around with ideas when you're bored — the following apps will let your inner creative blossom with just a few taps.

1. Funimate


Vine and Instagram have some of the most outside-the-box user bases out there, but many of the best get by with a little help — in the form of video and photo editing apps. Funimate is one such tool, letting users add features like loops, text and music to their creations.

Free with added features for a price. Only available for iOS.

2. Auxy


Auxy is a "simple tool for making modern music." Channel your inner Bassnectar by stitching together drum and synth beats and uploading them for the world to hear. Bonus: It's incredibly user friendly, and is suited for just about all skill levels. Drawback: It's only available for the iPad.

Free with added features for a price. Only available for iPad.

3. VSCO Cam


Finally, an even better way to make your eggs Benedict look artsy! You've probably seen your Instagram friends tag some of their photos with #vscocam or #vsco. VSCO, short for Visual Supply Co., is the art and technology company behind VSCO Cam, which has Instagram's photo editing capabilities, only better. Add tints, filters, shadows, fades, vignettes and more, then upload them to the VSCO Cam community or anywhere else photos are shared. 

Free with added features for a price. Available for iOS and Android.

4. Dubble


Dubble is sort of like Russian Roulette for the photo-obsessed. Take a photo, share it with the Dubble world, then sit back and watch as the app randomly pairs your photo with another user's, creating a double exposure. Unfortunately, though you can control which photos you take, you have no say in which ones they'll be mixed with — so you could end up with something wonky. That's part of the fun, though.

Free. Only available for iOS.

5. ArtStudio


If you like to doodle, ArtStudio is for you. Draw, sketch, paint and edit photos all in one, using tools like pencil, smudge, spray and wet and dry paintbrush, the latter of which come in a variety of customizable sizes. You can also add layers and text and undo steps if you screw up. It's not free, but it is cheap, and it fits in your pocket more easily than a sketchbook. (There is a free, "lite" version available, however.) 

$4.99 with added features for a price. Only available for iOS.

6. Tayasui Sketches

Tayasui Sketches

Tayasui Sketches is ArtStudio's prettier, more minimalistic cousin. While it comes with a fairly standard selection of brushes and tools, you can also choose different paper types, which produce varied and accurate effects, depending on what tool you're using. (Like ArtStudio, you can also use a stylus, though only with the pro version.)

Free with added features for a price. Only available for iOS.

7. Inkvite


Inkvite is an excellent app for those who like their writing with a side of collaboration and interaction. Join with others to help produce a single story, read other users' work, post your own work and promote it to further your #personalbrand.

Free with added features for a price. Only available for iOS.

8. GIPHY Cam

Sophie Kleeman/GIPHY CAM

Finally, a way to GIF-ify yourself. GIPHY CAM, the latest app from GIF warehouse Giphy, lets you capture short bursts of video and then, if you desire, add a plethora of filters and fancy effects. You can drop the "deal with it" glasses on your friends, film yourself surrounded by dollar bills and more. 

Free. Only available for iOS.

9. Font Killer

Sophie Kleeman/Font Killer

Font Killer makes adding words and phrases to photos and videos easier than ever. Use it to make ironic, saccharine, "young, wild and free"-type creations, or snide, passive-aggressive messages to friends, loved ones and roommates. (A photo of dishes and with "So clean!!!!" stamped above it? Sign us up!)

Free with added features for a price. Only available for iOS.

10. Hanx Writer

Sophie Kleeman/Hanx Writer

OK, so this one is mostly a joke. Honestly, though, an app that mimics a typewriter and comes from the brain of Tom Hanks? Sign us up, annoying, hipster, troglodyte label be damned.

Free with added features for a price. Only available for iOS.

11. Little Memory 

Little Memory

"Remember the little things in life," reads the app's tagline. Catalog thoughts and pictures and tag them with dates, locations and photos. Share them with friends and family, or choose to remind yourself of them at customizable intervals. Though Little Memory isn't strictly a creative person's app, it can be helpful for those of us who like to use our personal anecdotes and details in our work.

Free with added features for a price. Only available for iOS.

12. Pro Metronome

Pro Metronome

As my high school music teacher once told me, everybody needs a metronome, even the best players. (Unfortunately, mine couldn't get me to Carnegie Hall.) Instead of bringing a separate device around, you can use your phone to keep the beat — Pro Metronome lets you use audible beats, vibrations or your camera's flash to keep time. It even gives you sample beats from famous songs like "Hey Jude" and "Money."

Free with added features for a price. Available for iOS and Android.

13. Hum


Hum, an app that combines writing and music into one intuitive interface, makes things easy. Instead of keeping your lyrical musings written down on the back of receipts or in the scattered pages of a notebook, group them together with your audio recordings.

$1.99 with added features for a price. Only available for iOS.

14. Snapguide


If the DIY subreddit is one of your go-to destinations, Snapguide might become your new favorite app. String together instructional photos and tips for anything — food, furniture, makeup, clothing, crafts and more. Comment sections give the app a more collaborative feel.

Free. Only available for iOS.

15. Paper


No, it's not Facebook's news app. Paper is a simple and elegant tool for anything from making checklists to painting with a variety of digital brushes. Its nifty-but-expensive wooden "Pencil" stylus makes for a great gift for the designer in your life.

Free with added features for a price. Only available for iOS.