Mobile app designing is considered one of the most important factors to make any app popular. Technology stack, ideation, and functions are crucial components, but an influential design binds users to your application. Mobile app designing is the crucial partner behind the success of any app. Designing an app is not just about the arrangement of the app components in a specific manner, but the layout development with the smooth functioning.

Undoubtedly, a better user experience and interactive UI builds a strong foundation for every app development process and its branding. Today, Android is one of the most powerful platforms covering almost 80 percent of the market. Therefore, a huge investment is being done in the android app development solutions.

Why is app design a prominent part of mobile app development?

The answer to this question can be of two types: 

1) A layman has very little to do with the internal operation of the app. The low functionality can be compromised for once but if the design is annoying to the eyes, it becomes hard to gain user attraction.

2) Multiple factors affect the importance of the app design. This covers a whole lot of study. According to the reports by Statista, ¼ of the apps available in the stores are only used once and then either stays unused or deleted by the user. Low user retention is the primary concern of app developers and mobile app development company who wish to earn through apps.

Around 70 percent of online businesses don’t succeed due to the same concern. For avoiding such problems it is advisable to stay upbeat with the latest mobile app design trends and make your app impressive.

Difference between App development and App design

This is one of the most common questions. Before diving into the details of mobile app designing it is better to understand the difference between App development and App design.

App design

Mobile app designing is centered on giving the application a clear roadmap. The idea is to solve the problem. App design is the first phase of mobile app development. Before working on app development, the mobile app is designed. The design emerges from a wire map, which is then transformed into the user interface. The worst-case can be to copy the UI of any similar app without analyzing the problem.

App development

App development is the next phase of the app-building, where the blocks of an app are given the functionality. The back-end is often part of the development phase, but in some applications, the frontend also involves the development.  

In the mobile app design ecosystem, there are two types of mobile app designs, Native app containing native platform UI elements and custom app, which is built with uniquely designed components. Here it becomes necessary to understand the difference between both.  

Native mobile app design vs. Custom mobile app design

What is a Native app?

A native app is one that runs on a single platform. Every mobile platform defines some guidelines. These guidelines describe how the elements must look in an app, where the components must be located, and how they need to interact. A native app strictly follows those protocols, which is why an app looks more comfortable with the platform and feels like part of the OS. For such apps, it is easy to hire mobile app developers, whereas, for multiple platforms, cross-development is popular but scarce with resources.

Pros of native design

Compatible UI: For native mobile apps, there is no learning curve. The elements are familiar to the native platform and are entirely compatible.

Rapid development: UI components need not to be developed from scratch. A designer can use template-ready UI elements instead of designing the UI from scratch.

Reduced cost:  There is no need to design from scratch, therefore the cost is too less.

Cons of native design

Less appealing:  Native design is less interactive, and can’t attract users. 

Limited features: Native design is limited by the set of features that are supported by the device.

What is a Custom mobile app?

The custom design is developed from scratch. It follows a few native UI guidelines and may be developed entirely differently from the native one. Designers integrate unique style techniques, illustrations, and other interactive components for getting more user attraction. Custom UIs are the best for entertainment apps and branded apps.

Pros of custom design

Enhanced UX: Custom design involves all the trending app design. The designer is able to create a unique experience for the users.

Differentiation: Unlike native, Custom apps are designed differently and your app stands out in the pool of millions of apps.

Cons of custom design

Time-Consuming: The designer has to devote more time to creating unique UI which meets all the client needs.

More Skills Required: For an amazing user experience, the designer needs to have enough experience and skills. The custom design needs a lot of illustration, which also sometimes puts app development at risk.

Replicated Elements: Native components also need to be replicated for giving the app an appropriate match.

Factors affecting the cost of mobile design

Just like mobile app development costs, there are some factors that affect the mobile app design cost too. This article aims to let you know the mobile app designing cost. For determining the cost of designing a mobile app, it is important to know the aspects which constitute the app. The process of designing an app can be both simple and sophisticated, depending on the level of the app. 

  • Research
  • Mobile UX
  • UI
  • Branding

Understanding the above functions it becomes easier to know the cost and the influencing factors of the app. 

1. Research

The initial stage is to assess the market and ideate a solution for the existing problem. Research demands a lot of time, where the target audience, competition, market trends user interests are analyzed from different angles. Here at this stage, business analysts investigate the particular niche and list out the strong and weak points, along with the ways to deal with them. Research stays a common part of both mobile app development and design.

A proper analysis helps app development companies that are providing proficient mobile app development solutions to integrate the latest design trends and helps the teams to adopt best practices in mobbing forward. The project mind map is created with the project backlog. Here the cost-affecting factors are: 

  • App complexity
  • Hours of analysis
  • Compliance with the technology
  • Number of platforms
  • Hours of meeting.

2. User Experience Design

App design starts with prototyping. Depending on the complexity of the project, the design may include a simple sketch or the wireframe creation. The intricacy of the project decides the cost estimation. 

  • Sketch: If the project involves a lot of features, it can be started with the sketching to show the major complex tools. The overall concept of the project is either defined by hand or using tools such as Figma, UXPin, Sketch, etc. Remember, Sketching takes around 16-24 hours and also increases the cost of design.
  • UX wireframes: Wireframes are the skeleton of the app and are designed using dedicated mobile app tools for giving a proper layout of the structure. It ensures usability and the navigation of the app. The motive of the wireframe is to ensure the visual concept which gives a better understanding of the product mechanism. The development hours increase with the number of screens. For each screen, 1-2 hours are given. The advanced tools such as Figma helps in transforming the sketch design into the UX wireframe which decreases the time. 
  • UX wireframe with native UI: The designing tools apply a more detailed design structure and add up the native UI element in the structure such as button, control styles, and fonts. The design needs to correspond with the basic UI elements and can be used for MVP. This reduces the total cost of the project, therefore more favored by professional mobile app development services. When the project design is given on platform it takes around half the time for each screen on a different platform.

If in case, the designer needs to design his UI elements it becomes a long task and takes too much time, so increases the cost. 

3. Visual Design or UI

Visual designs are created based on the UX wireframes. UI is responsible for the branding, interior layers, color schemes, and overall layers of the app. Designers sometimes also create a few mockups before giving the final UI to let the client choose between different style demonstrations. It depends on the creativity of the designer.

Here are the detailed hours of work: 

  • Mood board creation takes between 6-8 hours.
  • UI mockup creation: 15-20 hours for 2-3 different styles.
  • Final UI: 2 hours for each app screen and maybe more for each sophisticated app page. 

The cost of UI design depends is influenced by various factors such as app style, complexity, and icon design. Icon design can take between 4-6 hours. 

4. Branding 

Branding is an important stage of app design. This stage involves the designing of ostentatious components of the app. It contains mood board creation, illustration, and logo creation.

Cost of Mobile App Design

Above we have discussed the hours of involvement in mobile app design which is a handy tool for estimating the cost depending on the hourly cost of the app designer. Next, We will take a look at the cost of app design depending on several other factors:

1. Cost of Mobile app design based on the platform

While designing native UI, it highly depends on the platform. Android UI needs to be matched with the different resolution whereas iOS has its different dependencies. 

Android UI

Google has come with stringent guidelines for app designing. Android devices are constantly changing and therefore Android app designers have to adapt to the new framework requirements. The number of platforms is greater in iOS and therefore the cost goes higher.


In the iPhone 6 and later version, the UI elements designing adds 25% of the cost, because these devices come with the retina display. The approximate cost of design comes between $3000 and $5000. 

iPad: The cost of an iPad app design goes 50% ahead than the general cost. iPad apps don’t just require the high resolution, but also have to meet the speed and size of iPads. 

Read Also: Know About the Cost to Develop An Android App

2. Cost of an app by the level of complexity

Simple apps

These are the applications with very few requirements. These apps generally comprise 3 screens, a little part of the animation, and less interactive design elements. These apps are usually made for single platforms and don’t need much time to be developed. Many mobile app development services can provide you the clone apps which come in no time. Also, you can go for no-code apps, which is best suitable for simple apps.

Intermediate level of complexity

These apps are usually more interactive and contain animation over several screens. These apps are designed separately for all concerned platforms and contain heavy interaction with the users. The quality of these apps is the main concern for the platforms and therefore the designer has to comply with the Google material design principles and other guidelines. More often than not, iOS app development services fall into this category due to the more focus on quality and because of android being the preferred choice for simple apps. Few examples are on-demand food delivery apps and social media chat apps.

Highly complex apps

These apps are highly dependent on designs for serving the purpose. A lot of transitions and deep animation is necessary to move from on-screen to others. These apps are made with huge number f screens and demand the native UI elements. 

3. Cost of by location

The same level of work with the same number of features differs in cost due to the location of the designer. 

If you hire a mobile app developer from the USA, it costs you around $50-$150 per hour on average.

But, if you look for Europe, the developer charges $50-$100 per hour.

The mobile app development market is cheaper in Asia, the average hourly cost of a developer goes $20-$50 per hour.


Designing an app demands proper research, creativity, and compliance with the updated guidelines. The mobile app platforms are constantly evolving, so are their requirements. A trending design perfectly complies with the guidelines whereas if you need simple apps, designing does not take much effort. For reducing the budget, you must work with the essential features and produce an MVP first.

Once we get positive feedback from the client, we can move to other platforms. Instead of designing the full-fledged application, starting with the must-have features is good to go. Alongside, templates can be a great deal, if you don’t want to spend more bucks. Mobile app design is the first face of your application and it requires enough attention, as it can make or break the deal. 

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