Category Design
cost to design an application First impressions are 94% design related. From developing an interactive UI/UX design to managing the app designing cost, creating an app from scratch is a herculean task!

What’s seen is sold. Right! 

When you are developing a new app or optimizing an existing one, designing an app is more about its functional approach rather than how it looks. The app should be easily navigable with enticing app designs that stand out from the competition.
We recently released an article on the cost of developing an app. Now, it’s time to estimate the app designing cost. 

Considering some of the top tier companies such as Airbnb, Uber, Google, and Apple that dedicates a good chunk of success to their user-centric design strategy to deliver an extraordinary experiences.

Designing an exceptional UX isn’t a cakewalk. It begins with “understand your user.” Now, what makes an app user-centric? 

To design a high-quality app, it’s essential to figure out what are the necessary aspects such as:

  • User experience of the developed application
  • Existing market for the app idea
  • Preferences and taste of the target market
  • Latest mobile UI design trends

In this blog, we will outline the essential steps involved in app design, actors influencing the cost of designing an app, and other necessary elements to help you get started with designing mobile applications.
Let’s dive in. 


What is referred to as App Design Cost?

To understand it better, let’s first understand what mobile app design is:

Mobile App Design is a process of designing mobile apps, encompassing faster loading times, accessibility, and overall user experience.

According to Adobe, App design combines the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). While UI lends itself to the overall style of the app (including the colors, fonts, and general look and feel), UX focuses on the actual functionality and usability.

To pull each of these operations, resources are required. These resources come at a cost often referred to as app design cost. In general terms, the cost to design an application is the amount of capital spent from the budget for designing an application.

What are the stages of mobile app design?

An effective app design process revolves around delivering a great user experience and problem-solving approach. The mobile app design involve research, analysis, prototype designing, UI/UX, testing, and branding.

Catering to different facets of a mobile app design, here are 3 stages of app designing:

1. Analyze app idea

Estimated time: 20-40 hours with a maximum of 150 hours

App development starts with an app idea discovery and brainstorming. The very first step of app design is to convey the app idea correctly to the developers. During each stage of the mobile design, do substantial market research, study your audience well, create user personas to segment your users, analyze the actual user demographics, and behavior patterns. 

This phase is crucial because designers work to take the client’s requirements and no one likes to pay the redesigning cost. 

2. Work on the prototype (UI UX Design Cost)

Work on the prototype (UI UX Design Cost)

Now, you are ready with your app idea, the next step is to shape them with documentation and wireframing. 

To understand the app functions and future scope, try to focus on app usability, project complexity, and navigation. This stage includes App sketching, Wireframing, and User Experience (UX), and App Animation guides

  • Sketches

average cost to design an app

To design a great mobile app, sketches are used to display complicated app mechanisms. Popular sketching tools are Sketch, Buildfire, Adobe XD etc.

  • UX Wireframing

During this process, designers create interactive layouts to structure the app screens and showcase app screen connectivity with the help of some of the best mobile UI design tools for app designers. UX Wireframing ensures the app flow and gets the visual concept of an application. It gives a general understanding of an app and all the functions it does. 

  • UX Wireframes with Native UI Element

The mobile app UI design cost varies from app to app. To give an idea of the basic app interface and more detailed design structure, add distinct fonts, buttons and control styles, and other native UI components constitute the UX wireframe. Finally, the prototype phase ends with usability testing and validating the concept. Special tools like MARVEL, Balsamiq, and Photoshop are used.

3. Create Visual Design (UI)

Create Visual Design (UI)

In mobile application development, the visual design consists of UI mockups, that help users to understand the basic idea behind the app. It gives a clear idea of different approaches to style, use of different elements, forms, shades, color schemes, and others.
It’s important to know that visual design and branding are inter-related. Visual design is about creating a cohesive product style that includes an app’s logo, a mobile app icon, and screens.

Branding is another essential stage of mobile app interface design as it includes the creation of logos, fonts, and brand illustrations. Branding begins with mood board creation and then shifts to logo design. Check out the top app UI design trends and keep your eyes on how your competitors are designing an app.

cost to create the visual design

4. How much does UI UX design cost?

To learn about “How much does UI UX design cost?”, the average cost of designing an app can be divided into factors mentioned below:

  • Average cost to design an app for hiring a designer

The cost of hiring a designer depends on your budget and pocket. You can find a range of professionals, in terms of technology expertise, platform, experience, and pay range. To hire a professional senior designer, the hourly wage rate can go up to $150 per hour or even more. However, The average cost to design an app by hiring a decent app designer starts usually from $45/hour. There are numerous top mobile app design companies and software development companies in the USA and in other corners of the world with some incredible design portfolio that charges from $45/per hour to higher end.

Mobile app designing cost of hiring a designer

There are two major aspects of app development, function, and appearance. If your users want the app to be highly functional, your primary focus should be on the app features and secondly appearance. Just go with the flow, follow the market standards, look out to your competitors, get inspired from the leading software development companies, and invest more to enhance the app features.

  • Cost to design an application by region

If you’re looking to outsource your application designing, then services may vary according to the region. Although the cost to design an app differs between countries, we have listed out the average cost to design a good looking app from the most common hourly rates for design in US dollars.

Mobile app designing cost by region

  • Mobile cost of designing an app by complexity

Whether you’re designing an app or developing one, both processes involve complexity analysis. Firstly, let us understand what defines the app complexity?

i) Number of platforms the app would be available on i.e. Web, Android, iOS etc.
ii) Number of user-roles and MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
iii) The complexity of app functionality ( Including AR)
iv) End-user requirements and specialization. 
v) Customization standards

5. How much does it cost to design a simple app?

To further segregate the pricing, we have divided the topic “How much does it cost to design a simple app?” into 3 complexity levels. These cost estimation complexity levels not only give a decent idea about creating simple apps but complex apps too. 

Mobile app designing cost by app complexity

  • Average cost of designing an app based on the type of platform

The development of native applications plays a fundamental role in deciding the cost to design an application. The app designing cost varies depending upon the platform.
The cost of app design for iOS tends to be higher due to bigger payments on Apple App Store and more strict rules, as compared to Android. Let’s figure out what are the key aspects. 

App designing cost based on the type of platform 

Every app is unique as compared to design, function, and number of platforms. We suggest researching the target audience, business sector of application, and decide the platforms & technologies based on. It will help decide platforms while saving cost to design an application in the process.

  • App design cost based on the type of Team

The average cost to design an app is directly related to the type of team chosen. In the spectrum, the type of teams can be divided into four categories i.e.

1. In-house team: An in-team is entirely made up of internal employees working together. It offers better control over the project. However, it is limited by the amount of resources required. These resources can either be the strength i.e. number of individuals in a team, devices, softwares, etc. Excluding the wager, there are also multiple operational costs attached with it.

2. Design Agency: Here, we are referring to the design agency from a local perspective. A design agency based out of the USA is going to charge a premium for the app design. Considering designing mobile apps is their core competency, they would handle the entire project by themselves. It means once the project is allotted, the design agency is responsible for the end-design based on your preference. However as stated above, these often require a decent budget.

3. Outsourcing: With outsourcing initial app design ideas can be turned into reality within a budget. However, to find a good design agency that doesn’t burn away the entire budget, a company from the USA needs to find an agency from a developing nation such as India, China, Pakistan, Philippines, etc. The only limitation is the geological distance and credibility of the agency hired. 

4. Freelancer: Hiring a freelancer is the cheapest option. The limitations with freelancers is lack of control and the time taken by them to complete a project. Freelancer’s often work on multiple projects and considering they are a single army, the deadlines are often compromised. Also having quality issues is very common.

To understand range of charge accrued by the different types of team, we have consolidated the data into the table below:

Type of Team Average Costing in $
In-house $35,000-$40,000
Design Agency $45,000 and more
Outsourcing $12,000-$15,000 and sometimes more
Freelancer Starting from $5000 (for experienced freelancer)


Tips on Choosing a Partner for App Designing

There is no fixed criteria to choose a partner with credibility. However, there are certain key points that one can research about to come up with a decision. These are:

  • Existing Portfolio: Every design agency has a portfolio of app design they’ve worked upon. Checking out the existing portfolio will help you decide whether the agency is worth it or not.
  • Age of the company: The older the company, the better. With age comes experience and it is true for every facet be it business, work, or app design. Older companies are experienced with complicated designs and technologies. It gives them an added advantage and the capability to handle unique requirements.
  • Revenue: Learning about the worth of a company is essential. A 20 year old company that doesn’t have a value of $100,000 is definitely not a good pick. Think about this, the more business one acquires, the more experienced they are.
  • Number of employees: Looking for a company with a higher number isn’t always a must. However, it is important to learn whether the design agency has resources to allocate to your project or not.
  • Technological expertise: Technologies used for coming up with a design are different while making them functional are different. A great UI UX designer can create an app design on tools such as Figma, Marvel, Sketch, etc. However to turn them functional one requires development frameworks such as Flutter, React Native, Kotlin, etc. Understand your requirements and choose whether the design agency has previous experience with it or not.
  • One-on-one discussion: There is no better way to understand someone other than direct communication. All the pointers mentioned above are mere filters. However to truly understand the capability, have a detailed discussion about the requirements. 

To sum up!

IBM says

With this, we have reviewed almost all the important aspects that influence the cost of designing a good application.

Apart from app complexity, Android/iOS app or both, type of the targeted devices, designer experience and geography, etc., are some additional things to consider to design mobile applications.

App Design Cost

If you have a great app idea in your mind, let’s give it a quick shape. Get inspired by some of the top mobile app design companies that have successfully created a global presence and are working to empower human ideas through a well-crafted website and mobile app designs.

Sakshi Kaushik

By Sakshi Kaushik LinkedIn Icon

A passionate writer and tech lover, she strives to share her expertise with mobile app developers and fellow tech enthusiasts. During her moments away from the keyboard, she relishes delving into thriller narratives, immersing herself in diverse realms.

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