The technological revolution has changed the way most industries operate and has had an immense influence over the design industry — be it interior design, architecture or graphic design. We now have an array of ‘easy to use’ tools that are able to complete a job in minutes, versus the amount of meticulous hours spent in the past.
With the popularity of smart phones and tablets, this job has become even less time-consuming when the need comes for a quick sketch, or to take measurements. It also helps that we are equipped with our technological other-halves during the majority of the day, making apps extremely convenient tools to have at hand, many of which can be downloaded for free from the app store or online.
Commercial Interior Design launched its app at the beginning of 2014 and in just 12 months accumulated 10,153 active subscriptions (if you haven’t subscribed already make sure to do so — it’s free!). This indicates the number of interior designers who read our magazine through the app —and it’s a big community.
But apart from being a good reading tool to keep up with the latest industry news, apps can actually help interior designers with basic elements of their jobs. From creating colour combinations to drafting floor plans, there isn’t much apps can’t do these days. And who doesnt need a little help to speed things up sometimes? Here I have compiled a list of 10 apps that can help make your lives a little easier.
1. Magpie by Conran
This free app collects the things that inspire you, creating a museum of design ideas that you can store as photos, videos, audio or notes. You can also output your mood boards in a beautifully organised PDF.
2. Paper by Fifty Three
This has won the Apple App of the Year and is used by 13 million people worldwide, essentially turning your iPad into a digital notebook and it is now free. This app works the way you think with five handy tools: Sketch, Write, Draw, Outline and Colour as well as a one that allows you to create diagrams, charts and wireframes in case you have a quick presentation coming up!
3. Magic Plan by Sensopia
The name of this app says it all —the app “magically” creates an indoor map. It measures the room and draws out a flat plan with a simple click of your camera. The drawings can then be exported as PDF, JPG or DXF files. Reviews suggest it is quite accurate.
4. Moleskin Journal
Moleskin notebooks will forever remain a symbol of inspiration and elegance but being on site and carrying a notebook is not always convenient. This Moleskin Journal app stays true to the authenticity of the original—even allowing a selection of plain, ruled or squared paper as well as templates from the Weekly Planner and Storyboard Notebook. You can store images and even sketch with digital watercolour brushes, pencils and pens.
If there is one word every interior designer is expected to know it would be Pantone — the international language of colour. This app allows you to easily access Pantone colours and create colour palettes for inspiration and to share with clients. You can capture and extract colours from photos and find the closest Pantone colour as well as generate harmonious colour combinations.
Interior designers are in constant search for inspiration and what better way to speed up the process than by checking into Pinterest to help you discover and save ideas. It is a free to download visual bookmarking tool that can help in refurbs, finding the perfect accessories for a hotel or ideas on optimising space.
Photosynth is perfect for capturing and viewing your surroundings in 3D and offers two different ways to create this experience: panoramas and synths. You can shoot a panorama by standing in one position and circling on the spot. It will then stitch a collection of photos together and create a 360 degree panorama shot that you can then share it with your clients or colleagues. You can also capture the different sides of an object through the synth function.
8. Interior Design for iPad
This app allows you to take on any interior design project or create a quick floor plan. 2D floor plans can be converted into vivid, walk-through 3D with the ability to drag and drop objects within your layout. You can also remove walls, alter shapes of the room or add objects by simply tapping the screen. Every surface is customisable, even including real wood grain selections. It also supports renders and allows for 3D imaging of designs including shadows and other special effects.
9. iRhino 3D
There is nothing like seeing your designs in three dimensions and with this app you can pan, zoom and rotate your designs. It also allows you to save Rhino models from web sites, Dropbox or email attachments.
10. Mark on Call
Created by interior designer Mark Lewison, this app allows you to put together an interior design layout by creating detailed visual plans in a matter of minutes. One of my favourite features allows you to take photos of actual finishes, fabrics, etc from your most-loved manufacturers and “skin” them on to any surface in the room.