How much does it cost to design a mobile app?

Pooja Chawla September 28, 2022
mobile app design cost

Anyone who has ever created a mobile app or wants to create it knows that design is essential to the process. But how much does mobile app design cost? This is a question that many businesses struggle with, and unfortunately, there is no definitive answer.

The mobile app design cost may vary depending on the project’s scope, the level of complexity involved, and a few other factors. However, an estimated cost to design a mobile app ranges from $3000 to $30000.

As per Statista, in the 2022 first quarter, approximately 28.3 billion apps were downloaded from the Play store and 8.5 billion from the App Store. These numbers projected the unprecedented popularity and growth of the mobile app market.

Also, as reported by Allied Market Research, the global mobile app market size is forecasted to reach $407.31 billion by 2026. This growth is driven partly by the increasing popularity of smartphones, and tablets and the growing need for businesses to have a presence on mobile devices.

With more and more people using mobile apps every day, it’s no surprise that the demand for app design services is on the rise.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what goes into the mobile app UI design cost and provide some tips on how to keep expenses down. But before that, let’s discuss the factors responsible for the pricing.

Factors that affect the cost of app design

Factors that affect the cost of app design

The pricing is majorly dependent on the below-listed factors. So, let us discuss every part of what goes into the mobile app UI design cost in detail.

A. Platforms

Platforms like Android and iOS differ in how they look and operate. While on one side, an Android application has to be matched with different solutions and formats, the same is not the case with iOS for everything to be finalized. This is the reason why Android app design and development is more expensive than iOS mobile app design cost.

Android vs. iOS app design cost

Although the mobile app UI design cost might not vary greatly between iOS and Android apps, some differences still exist.

There was a time when the cost of iOS app development was high and UI/UX designers used to charge a lot, but now the situation has changed. Google, too, has come ahead to ensure high quality in terms of what goes into the store, and thus, they have started following a stringent approval process.

So, the comparison between iOS and custom app design costs has come down to the number of platforms and the device types.

Let us look at it from the iOS app design cost perspective first:

iPhone only – The entry models don’t require designers to create images specifically for retina display. So, the approximate cost falls between $3,000 to $10,000.

iPhone 6 Plus and ahead – Designing apps for iPhone 6 and ahead adds 25% to the UI/UX design cost. These devices come with a retina display that calls for high-resolution files and comes with an attached cost.

iPad – iPad app design adds 50% to the mobile app design cost. They don’t just require high resolution but also product designing solutions to meet the speed and size of the iPads.

Now talking of Android mobile app design:

The Android devices are constantly changing, with the rules of designing in the Google Material Design process. So, to meet the changing needs, Android app designers must continuously adapt to new frameworks and modern mobile app design ideas.

Additionally, as the number of platforms a designer has to work on is much greater than on iOS, so the Android mobile app design cost and development automatically increases.

Platform Approximate cost, $/hr
iOS 600 – 1000
Android 650 – 1200

B. App complexity

Whether we talk about UI/UX design cost, modern mobile app design ideas, or mobile app development cost, three complexity levels are considered when the cost estimation has to be drawn.

Simple apps

These applications are maximum of 3 screens long and use zero animations and interactive design elements. Apps like calculators and alarms fall under this category.

Average complexity apps

These apps are the ones that make use of multiple interactive features and animations along with several screens. They are usually designed individually for Android and iOS platforms and are made to meet the native look and feel of the platform. They rely on human interface design guidelines and Google Material design principles.

Most of the apps you use every day, like WhatsApp and Uber, are examples of what a medium complexity app looks like.

High complexity apps

These applications depend on mobile app designs to serve their purpose. Here, a lot of animations and transitions are used to help users move from one screen to another and ultimately convert them into regular users. The OTT apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more are examples of complex apps.

These apps use many screens and usually work on multiple screens – all demanding a device-centric native UI design.

Complexity Approximate cost,$/hr
Simple app design 40 – 60
Average app design 150 – 350
Complex app design 400 – 1000

C. Team location

The work performed by the team keeping the same quality intact might vary greatly between a designer in the US and a designer in Europe. This is because of the type of design tools used by each of them or the different working processes.

For example, a designer in the US might charge approx. $170 per hour, while an eastern nation designer might charge around $80 – $100 on an average per hour.

Location of the team Approximate cost,$/hr
US 100 -170
Australia 100 -150
Europe 50 -100
UK 50 -100

D. Team type

The price depends on the kind of team selected to design an app. An in-house team of designers will typically be the most expensive option, while outsourcing a team and freelancers may be more affordable. There are several factors that determine whether to hire freelancers, an in-house team or outsource experts. We will walk you through the checklist to help you choose the right app design partner for your business later.

Team type Approximate cost,$/hr
In-house 35,000
Outsourced 12,000
Freelancer 6,000

E. Visual designs

From colors to final UI mockups, how you decide to represent your app visually can impact the overall cost. One of the most important visual elements in any mobile app is color. The right colors can help set the tone and feel of the app and can also be used to highlight key features.

However, using too many colors can increase the cost of app design, as it will require more work to balance and harmonize the colors throughout the design. If you’re on a budget, stick to a limited palette of 2-3 colors.

Few other important visual elements include typography, moodboards, UI mock-up samples, and final UI mockups. The typography includes the font you choose for the app that plays a vital role in conveying its personality and tone.

Moodboards help to set the tone and feel of an app, they can be a great way to communicate your vision to the team. UI mockup samples can help determine an app’s overall layout and flow. Finally, final UI mockups are important for ensuring that the app looks polished and professional.

F. Illustrations and animations

Animations and illustrations include any graphic element that is not a photo. This category includes icons, logos, vectors, gifs, and more. Icons and logos are particularly important in branding and can help make your app more recognizable. Animations can be used to add personality or interactivity to an app, but they can also increase the cost of app design, as they require more time and effort.

G. Functionality

When it comes to the functionality of an app, there are two main factors that will affect the cost of app design: features and complexity. The more features like in-app purchases and social media integration your app have, the more expensive it will be to design. If you’re on a budget, stick to including only the essential features like user login, search, and sorting.

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Now that we’ve looked at some of the common factors that affect the cost of mobile app design, let’s take a look at how the design process impacts the cost.

How app design process impacts costing?

The app design process can be broken down into three main phases: discovery, design, and development.

Discovery phase

The discovery phase is about understanding the problem you are trying to solve. This phase includes market research, user persona, user journey mapping, and competitor analysis.

Market research

In-depth market research can help to identify target users, understand their needs and determine what they are willing to pay for an app. This information can then be used to perform the app design process, ensuring that the final product is tailored to the needs of the target market.

Also, market research can help identify any potential competition, allowing businesses to ensure that their product is differentiated and able to compete in the marketplace.

User persona

User personas can impact the design process in a number of ways. For example, they can help you understand what features are most important to your users and how they will use those features. This information can be used to make informed decisions about functionality, layout, and usability.

Personas can also help identify potential issues that may arise during app usage. For example, if a user is a busy working mother, she may have difficulty using an app if it requires her to enter a lot of data. By taking into account user personas, you can design an app that is more user-friendly and less likely to cause problems. Ultimately, this can save you time and money in the long run.

User journey mapping

It is a process of creating a visual representation of how users interact with a product or a service. When used correctly, user journey mapping can have a significant impact on pricing. By understanding how users interact with an app, designers can identify areas where improvements can be made for a seamless user experience.

This, in turn, can lead to reduced development costs and a more efficient app design process. In addition, user journey mapping can help identify potential areas of customer churn, which can again lead to cost savings. As such, user journey mapping is a powerful tool that should be considered when planning the design of any app.

User Journey : App Design Process 

Competitor analysis

By taking the time to examine competitors’ apps, businesses can get a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t for their users. This information can then be used to make your app more user-friendly and successful. In addition, competitor analysis can also help businesses identify any market gaps that you can take advantage of.

Design phase

The UX design phase is all about creating the user interface and user experience.  This phase includes sketches, wireframes, prototypes, and user testing.

Sketches

These are the first and integral step in the design phase as it helps understand how users will interact with the app. Sketches help save time and money by allowing businesses to test different customized mobile app design ideas without quickly creating a fully-fledged prototype.

Sketches

Wireframes

After the sketches are complete, it’s time to start creating wireframes. Wireframes are a more detailed version of the sketches and represent the placement of all the elements on each screen. This is a critical step in the design process as it helps ensure that all the elements are placed effectively and efficiently.

Not only does wireframing help identify potential problems early on in the design process, but it can also be used to explore different solutions and test out modern mobile app design ideas.

Prototypes

Once the wireframes are complete; it’s time to start creating prototypes. Prototyping is the process of creating a mockup of the app. By creating a working prototype of an app, businesses can get a much better sense of how an app will actually work. This not only saves time and effort in the designing process but also helps ensure that the final product is closer to the original version.

Prototypes

User testing

User testing is a process of seeking feedback from potential users to improve the app’s usability. By observing how users interact with the app, businesses can identify areas where the user experience can be improved. In addition, user testing can help uncover hidden problems that may not be apparent during the design process and in turn, can save a huge amount of time and money.

Development phase

Coding

Coding is an essential part of the app design process. It allows to create the functionality and produce desired results. Without coding, an app would be nothing more than a series of static images.

Coding gives an ability to bring any app to life and make it interactive. It also enables to connect with external data sources, such as databases and web services.

Testing

Testing provides a valuable opportunity to explore how users interact with the app and identify potential areas for improvement. In addition, testing can help identify any bugs or glitches that may need to be fixed before the app is released. By taking time to test the app thoroughly, businesses can ensure that users will have a positive experience with it and be more likely to use it regularly.

Launch

By carefully planning and testing the launch process, businesses can ensure that their app will be successful in the marketplace. In addition, the launch can also help identify any bugs or glitches that need to be fixed before the app is made available to the general public. This can increase the chances of the app being downloaded and used by customers.

At Appinventiv, our teams work on the prototypes collectively. Developers, Business Analysts, and Clients work together to create an application that everyone can agree on. This, in turn, helps in identifying issues and confusions priorly that could occur at the development stage. 

Deliverables: App screen wireframe, interactive prototypes

[Also Read: Know more about how to get angel funding on your mobile app prototype?]

Let's begin

The final cost to design an app

In general, the cost of designing an app ranges from $3,000 to $30,000. The final cost depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the app, the number of features, and the number of devices it needs to work on. However, there are several ways to reduce the mobile app UI design cost. You might also want to explore, mobile responsive designs for eCommerce website and app that drive innovation

By following the tips listed below, you can keep your costs down and ensure that your app is a success.

Tips for reducing app design cost

There are a few key things you can do to reduce the cost of designing your mobile app.

Plan carefully

When it comes to customized mobile app design and development, careful planning is essential. You’ll need to take some time to map out various app features and functionality. This will help determine which elements are crucial and which can be omitted. Having a clear plan from the start will help you avoid costly changes and revisions down the road.

Focus on basic functionality

When designing your app, it’s important to focus on the basic functionality. First designing a prototype can be helpful. Resist the temptation to add too many features, stick to the basics, and you’ll be able to keep your costs down.

Hire a mobile app design and development company

One of the best ways to reduce the design cost is to hire an on-demand app development company. These companies specialize in designing cost-effective solutions that meet your specific needs.

Design for multiple devices

When designing your app, it’s important to remember that it will need to work on various devices. This includes smartphones, tablets, and even desktops. By designing for various devices from the start, you can avoid the need for costly redesigns later on.

Build for the future

When designing your app, it’s essential to think about the future. This includes developing for new devices and operating systems as they are released. By building for the future, you can avoid the need for costly updates down the road.

Now that we’ve looked at the design basics, let’s understand how to choose an app design partner for your business.

How to pick the right design partner?

Below listed are a few tips that can help you decide on the best design partner for your business.

Check portfolio

Any company that you consider partnering with for app design should have a robust portfolio that showcases their work. Checking out a company’s portfolio gives you an overview of their design sensibility and the types of apps they have designed in the past. It also allows you to see how they have solved specific design challenges by reading their case studies.

For example, if you are looking for an app design partner that can create a visually stunning user interface, you would want to check out companies with past experience designing beautiful and user-friendly apps. Reviewing a company’s portfolio is essential in choosing the right app design partner for your project.

Check testimonials and social media pages

Checking testimonials can also give you a good idea of the company’s design process and how they work with clients. In addition, checking social media platforms can help you learn about the company’s culture and values. By taking the time to research a potential app design partner, you can be sure that you are making the best decision for your business.

Read case study

Wrapping up

App design cost is determined by a number of factors, including the complexity and features of the app, as well as the time required to develop it. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much it costs to design an app, understanding these factors will give you a better idea of what to expect. If you’re looking for an estimate on how much your own app will cost to design, get in touch with our team – we would be happy to help!

FAQs

Q. What is the cost of designing an app logo and icon?

A. The design cost for app icons and logos is in a low place in the overall app UI design cost.  In fact, most of the custom mobile app design and development companies do not even charge anything for the app logo design.

Q. How much do UI designers charge?

A. The price of UI/UX designers varies based on the locality they are located in. While designers in US or Australia would charge $120 – $150 per hour, Eastern nation designers would charge around $50 to $80 per hour as their mobile app design cost.

Q. How much does it cost to build a mobile app?

A. The mobile app development cost can range somewhere from $25000 to $200,000+. The price tag depends on the features, complexity, and design of the app. If you’re looking to build a simple app with basic features, you can expect to pay on the lower end of the spectrum. However, if you’re looking to build a more complex app with lots of features and a custom design, you can expect to pay on the higher end of the spectrum. Ultimately, the cost of building a mobile app depends on your specific needs and requirements.

Q. How do you charge for a mobile app design?

A. There are a few different ways to charge for designing a mobile app. Typically, designers charge by the hour, project, or retainer. Some firms may also charge by the feature. This means that they will price out each individual component of the app that needs to be designed. The hourly rate for mobile app designers ranges from $50 to $250 per hour. The project rate is typically calculated by taking the total number of hours required to complete the project and multiplying it by the designer’s hourly rate.

THE AUTHOR
Pooja Chawla
UI/UX Developer
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