Create claims to be “the most powerful mobile creativity and graphic design app” – is it really that good?

Price: Free
Version: 1.2.2
Size: 29.6 MB
Developer: Anything is
Platform: iPhone & iPad

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A design and illustration app with a suite of advanced features, Create lets you drag-and-drop shapes, icons, symbols and text to build up sophisticated imagery. It’s a great way to get your ideas down and get creative no matter where you are.

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Create a slick logo by drawing simple shapes

The app is easy to use considering the level of complexity possible here, but that doesn’t mean you can just wade straight in and know how everything works right away; it takes some learning. Luckily the developers provide a range of tutorial videos along with a comprehensive list of brief ‘how-tos’ to help you get to grips with the capabilities of Create.

It’s a fully-featured app with too many aspects to be able to delve into much detail here, but suffice to say there are a lot of options for mocking up slick, professional-looking graphics. Create deal withs layers in a clear and simple way, and has excellent snap-to-grid settings for precision drawing. You can import and manipulate photos, choose different canvas sizes, seamlessly adjust color and opacity, and set slick tiled backgrounds. Though the interface is generally pretty intuitive, a lot of functions are easily missed – like double-tapping to stretch shapes.

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There’s a decent library of symbols and pictographs

Particularly clever is the line-drawing interface: while dragging a straight line, pausing briefly without moving your finger will indicate that you’ve reached a ‘corner’ and want to drag the line in another direction. Continuing this drag-pause-drag flow means you can quickly build up complex geometries which act as a single shape instead of a series of separate lines, meaning they can be filled with color at the push of a button. You also get a lot of control over text and typography here – even if you don’t much care for kerning and line spacing options, you’ll at least be pleased to find a sizable library of tasteful fonts to choose from.

Create offers a good range of predefined shapes and icons which can be used to speed up the drawing process, plus more if you want to part with a few bucks ($2.99/£2.29) for an in-app purchase. It doesn’t feel like too much to ask considering the base price is free, and you can certainly get by without the extras if you’re short on cash.

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Lots of useful text and color options

This is definitely an app designed more for technical illustrations than expressive artworks like digital painting or sketching – the freehand tools are fairly limited. You can save to your device’s camera roll or export as a PDF to maintain those crisp vectors at any size, if you care about that sort of thing. You can also save projects to return to later, which is a very handy feature missing from many creative apps.

With enough patience, you can get some very impressive results out of this app. Masking this level of complexity under the guise of touchscreen simplicity does make things a bit fiddly though, and it’s too limited to use for the kind of serious graphic design work you’d expect to be done with professional software on a computer. The closest iOS rival is the excellent Assembly, which is easier to pick up but lacks a few things like text input tools. Create is like Assembly’s more serious older brother.

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The side menu shows layers and advanced options

For users who fall into a particular sweet spot between pro designers and creative philistines, this app could be a revelation. It has a slight tendency to overwhelm, and isn’t quite as intuitive as it could be, but a little effort from the user goes a long way. Learn the ropes and there’s not much you can’t do here. If you have any need for custom graphics or illustrations, Create is definitely worthy of a place on your iPhone.

Review: Create – versatile graphic design app
A smart, versatile app for graphics and illustrations on the go
For
  • Lots of smart tools and features
  • Great library of fonts, shapes and icons
  • Makes complex design work possible on mobile
Against
  • Takes a bit of effort to learn
  • Can't compete with desktop software
4.3Overall Score