How to Do Professional Graphic Design on an iPad: Tips & Tricks

Creating professional graphic designs on an iPad is a breeze if you have the right tools and know-how. By utilizing powerful apps like Procreate or Adobe Illustrator, you can tap into an array of features that cater to both beginners and seasoned designers. With your iPad and a stylus, you’re ready to bring your creative visions to life.

After completing your design, you can export it in various file formats, share it with clients or colleagues, or even print it for physical use.


In today’s fast-paced digital world, the demand for on-the-go creativity has never been higher. With the advent of tablets like the iPad, professional graphic design is no longer confined to the desktop. The iPad has become a powerful tool in a designer’s arsenal, offering both convenience and versatility. Whether you’re a freelance designer, a student, or just someone who loves to dabble in the arts, learning how to do professional graphic design on an iPad can open up a whole new world of possibilities.

The importance of this topic lies in the iPad’s portability and the increasing need for designers to work remotely or while traveling. With the right apps and skills, you can create stunning graphics from the comfort of your couch, a cafe, or even mid-flight. This topic is relevant to anyone interested in graphic design, digital art, or those looking to transition from traditional methods to digital ones.

Step by Step Tutorial: Professional Graphic Design on an iPad

Before diving into the steps, it’s essential to understand that these will guide you through the basics of setting up your workspace, choosing the right apps, and utilizing the iPad’s features to create professional-grade designs.

Step 1: Choose Your App

Start by selecting a graphic design app that suits your needs and skill level.

Apps like Procreate, Adobe Illustrator, and Affinity Designer are popular choices among professionals. Each app offers a unique set of tools and functionalities, so take some time to explore and find which one resonates with your style. Consider factors like the user interface, brush options, and file compatibility when making your choice.

Step 2: Get Familiar with the Interface

Spend some time navigating the app’s interface to understand where all the tools and features are located.

A well-organized workspace is key to efficient design. Most apps will allow you to customize your toolbar and panels to suit your workflow, so don’t be afraid to tweak the settings. Familiarize yourself with the basics like the color picker, layers panel, and brush library.

Step 3: Start with Sketches

Begin your design process by sketching out your ideas.

Using a stylus, like the Apple Pencil, can significantly enhance your precision and control while sketching. Don’t worry about perfection at this stage; the goal is to get your ideas down. Use layers to your advantage, creating a new one for each iteration of your sketch.

Step 4: Refine Your Design

Once you’re satisfied with your sketch, it’s time to refine and add details.

In this step, focus on line work, color selection, and composition. Take advantage of the app’s vector capabilities (if available) for clean, scalable lines. Experiment with different brushes and textures to bring your design to life.

Step 5: Save and Export Your Work

After finalizing your design, save it and export it in the desired format.

Most apps will offer a range of file types for export, such as JPEG, PNG, or SVG. Consider the end-use of your design when choosing the format. For instance, opt for a vector format like SVG if the design needs to be scaled without losing quality.


PortabilityThe iPad’s compact size makes it ideal for designing on-the-go, allowing you to work anywhere, anytime.
VersatilityWith a wide range of apps and tools, the iPad caters to various design styles and techniques, from hand-drawn illustrations to vector graphics.
Intuitive InterfaceThe touch screen and stylus combination offers a natural and intuitive way to create designs, mimicking traditional drawing methods.

The portability of the iPad means that you can take your work with you wherever you go, whether it’s to a client meeting or while traveling. You’re no longer tethered to a desk, giving you the freedom to find inspiration in your surroundings.

The versatility of the iPad is one of its strongest points. With apps designed for different niches within graphic design, you can switch between creating a logo, a digital painting, or a web layout without needing multiple devices.

The intuitive interface of the iPad makes it accessible even to those who may not be tech-savvy. The direct interaction with the screen through touch or a stylus feels more natural than using a mouse and keyboard, which can be especially beneficial for those accustomed to working with pen and paper.


Screen Size LimitationsThe iPad’s screen may feel limiting compared to a large desktop monitor, potentially impacting the level of detail in your designs.
File ManagementManaging and organizing files can be more cumbersome on an iPad than on a desktop with robust file management systems.
App LimitationsWhile powerful, some iPad apps may not offer the same depth of features as their desktop counterparts, potentially limiting the complexity of your designs.

The screen size of the iPad, while perfect for portability, can be a drawback for designers used to working on larger screens. This may require more zooming and panning, which can interrupt the design flow.

File management on an iPad can be less straightforward than on a desktop computer. Without a dedicated file system, it can be challenging to keep track of different versions of your work and backups.

While many iPad apps are impressive, they may not always match the full functionality of desktop applications. This can limit your ability to perform certain tasks or achieve the same level of complexity in your designs.

Additional Information

When doing professional graphic design on an iPad, it’s crucial to invest in a good stylus, like the Apple Pencil, for better precision and pressure sensitivity. Also, consider using cloud storage services like iCloud or Dropbox for easy access to your files across devices. Don’t forget to regularly update your apps to benefit from the latest features and improvements.

Keep an eye on the ergonomics of your workspace. Using an iPad stand can help maintain a comfortable posture during long design sessions. Moreover, if you’re working on a project that requires collaboration, many apps support real-time sharing and editing, which can be a game-changer for remote teams.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of inspiration. The iPad is a fantastic tool for capturing ideas on the fly, whether you’re sketching in a park or jotting down a concept mid-conversation. Embrace the flexibility it offers and let your creativity roam free.


  1. Choose Your App
  2. Get Familiar with the Interface
  3. Start with Sketches
  4. Refine Your Design
  5. Save and Export Your Work

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use an iPad for professional graphic design?

Absolutely! With the right apps and accessories, an iPad can be a powerful tool for professional graphic design, rivaling traditional desktop setups.

Do I need the Apple Pencil for graphic design on an iPad?

While not strictly necessary, the Apple Pencil greatly enhances control and precision, making it a valuable asset for any iPad-based designer.

Can I print designs made on an iPad?

Yes, you can print your designs by exporting them in a print-ready format and using a compatible printer.

Are iPad graphic design apps expensive?

The cost of apps varies, but many offer a one-time purchase or subscription model. There are also free versions available, though they may have limited features.

How do I share designs created on an iPad?

Most apps allow you to export your designs in various formats, which you can then share via email, cloud storage, or direct transfer.


Graphic design on an iPad opens up a world of opportunities for creativity and flexibility. With the right approach and tools, it’s entirely possible to produce professional and stunning designs from virtually anywhere.

Remember, the key is to find the app that suits your needs, get comfortable with the interface, and let your creativity flow. With practice and exploration, your iPad could become your go-to device for all your design projects. Now, go forth and design with freedom and flair!

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