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How Much Does it Cost to Design an App

How Much Does it Cost to Design an App


Design is an essential part of app usability and user experience, therefore largely impacts the popularity of an application. We've investigated proper answers for FAQ about design and prices, which are:

  • Why do I need to hire a designer?
  • How to design a mobile app?
  • What are the general principles of a mobile app design?
  • How much does it cost to design an app?

Why do I need to hire a designer?

Sometimes we hear from our clients “Why do I need to pay extra for a designer? Can’t the developers make the design themselves?” We have and answer for these questions: “Yes, most developers have some design skills, but design is not only about drawing fancy things, it’s also about usability, exclusiveness, and branding. Anyone can use Photoshop, but professional design is a skill that's mastered through the years. Skilled and experienced designer has an understanding of what is beautiful and what isn’t, what's in trend, what will work and what won’t. Here, at Thunderrise we appreciate designer's work and consider design to be serious stage of a project and essential solution that sets the course for all further project iterations.”

Do you have a question?

How to design a mobile app?

It would be wrong to start with drawing beautiful pictures at once. The right thing to do is to start with a research. To get a better comprehension of the niche for startup, your analysis should include:

  • Target audience
  • Market trends
  • Competitors

Note that competitors should not be your highest priority. You just need to assess them from users side and from business supplier side to find out their strengths and weaknesses. Market trends also shouldn't take much time. You don’t even have to follow them, but to tell the truth, it's better to be than not to be in trend. Bear ion mind, that highest priority must be the target audience as it will be future users of your app. When we conduct a research, we study users requirements, behaviour and ways to encourage them to use your app.
How to design a mobile app?

What are the general principles of mobile app design?

When the research is complete the stage of prototyping begins. You can’t just make decent design from scratch. There are several activities for this phase:

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Gathering them all up
  • Selection of the best ones
  • Creation of prototypes
  • Testing usability
  • Validation of concept

The lion's share of the effort here is focused on UX design (user experience), as it is the key to success in how to design a app right. Investing in convenience, logics, and usability will attract much more users than just beautiful drawings. We value time and money of our customers. That’s why we pay much attention to prototyping and sometimes it takes more time than expected due to several iterations. At a glance this process only consumes extra time and money, but it actually saves them from wasting in the long-term. Sounds surprising? The thing is every software project has inescapable risks, and proper prototyping considerably decreases them during the whole project’s life cycle.

It is a common occurrence in our company when everyone is involved in prototyping process. Business Analists, designers, developers, Project Managers, QA specialists, and, of course, a client keep close communication to reach best productivity. All together we make decisions regarding the opinion of every specialist and agree on the best solution. This practice positively affects further stages, as everyone is aware of what is going on, so there is minimum misunderstandings and conflicts.

When you have validated the UX concept then the designers proceed to UI design (user interface). This stage is focused on visual elements, styles and animations. A fresh and elegant design is a beneficial addition to the planned functionality and a great way to differ from competitors with plain and dull interfaces.

Do you have a question?

How much does it cost to design an app?

It’s impossible to give the price straight away. There are several factors influencing cost to design a mobile app:

  • Apps complexity. The larger you plan your app, the more screens you will get and thus you will get more hours of designer’s work and the bigger app's cost.
  • The difference in design for iOS and Android. Here things are a bit more complicated. On the one hand designing for Apple can be harder, as Apple, unlike Android, has strict design guidelines, so the prices can be larger. On the other hand designing for Android can be more tricky, as Apple devices are limited and OS is standardized, Android devices are numerous with different resolutions and plenty of customized Android OSes. So, sometimes the cost to design an app for Android is bigger.
  • Geographical location. Mobile app design cost can range widely and depend on which country your developer reside in.
How much does it cost to design an app?

As we can see three main factors greately influence the total cost of designing an app.

So, if we divide apps like we did in the previous article, the average costs will be:

  • $15000-$20000 for Small App (600-700 hours)
  • $2500-$3000 for Medium App (1000-1200 hours)
  • $40000+ for Large Projects (1500+ hours)

Do you have a question?

We have strong design department here at Thunderrise. On the stage of prototyping we use such tools as Sketch and InVision and when it comes to creation of a custom design our specialists use Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Motion, and many others.

We hope that our tips were helpful and you have found the answers to your questions.

If you are planning to build an app, we will gladly create a mobile app design for you. Still have questions? Feel free to contact us.