Can Graphic Design Be Done on a Phone?

Graphic design relies heavily on technology to create some of the most impactful art pieces and effectively communicative visuals. Typically, graphic designers will rely on a customized desktop, a high-quality laptop, or an easily portable drawing tablets for these tasks, but considering the rapid pace of technological advancement, particularly for cellular devices, many are wondering if graphic design can be done a phone as well.

Graphic design work can be done on a standard Smartphone to a degree. Several mobile apps for iOS and Android devices allow you to perform many of the same tasks as other devices. However, there are significant limitations to these apps and using a phone as well as some unique advantages. has become the leader in mobile graphic design tools, and after our testing, we highly recommend it too.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best mobile apps that will allow any graphic designer to work and create from their everyday phone. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of this device compared to other devices more commonly utilized for graphic design.

How to Create Graphic Designs on a Phone

Few devices are as portable, convenient, and accessible as phones, making them the perfect device for a graphic designer on-the-go (in theory).

Of course, in order to create stunning graphic designs on any device, you need to use a graphic design software/application, and not all of these are offered on every device. So, which of these applications are accessible on phones?

Graphic design on a phone is most easily achieved using a graphics design application. The best mobile applications for graphic design include:

  • (our recommendation)
  • Adobe Spark Post
  • Photoshop Sketch
  • Canva
  • Autodesk Sketchbook
  • Infinite Painter/Design
  • Procreate Pocket
  • Adobe Capture
  • Lightroom
  • Autodraw

The features and graphic design capabilities vary widely between these apps. Some are ideal for sketching or creating a quick graphic while others can be used for scanning or more detailed work. Determining which app is best for you will largely depend on your graphic design style and needs.

Pros and Cons of Using a Phone for Graphic Design

Using phones for graphic design is a topic highly debated by graphic designers today. Most believe it isn’t beneficial to use your phone due to its limitations whereas others see the potential phones pose for graphic designing, especially as their technologies improve.

In the end, there are several pros and cons of using a phone for graphic design that you should consider before downloading your first graphic design app.

A phone is one of the most budget-friendly, convenient, and accessible devices you could use for graphic designing. However, these devices also lack the power, extensive features, and size advantages larger devices like laptops and drawing tablets possess.

While it certainly couldn’t hurt to have a graphic designing application or two on your everyday Smartphone, it isn’t the recommended device to use for all your graphic designing.

However, there are new popular internet based graphic design tools that solve this problem by simply allowing us to use the internet to access their full suite of tools. This means we don’t have to download any apps with large file sizes that fill up your device’s storage. (These internet based graphic design tools are quickly becoming popular because they can be accessed from any device, anytime).

This will become clearer as we describe the pros and cons of using a phone for graphic design in more detail below.

Pros of Using a Phone for Graphic Design

It might seem easy to roll your eyes and scoff at the idea of using a phone for graphic designing versus other superior devices, but you’d be surprised by the number of benefits they pose for graphic designers of various skill-levels.


The first pro of using a phone for graphic designing is the sheer accessibility of these devices. Owning a Smartphone is becoming common place more and more, which means you have the opportunity to create graphic designs using something you already have versus investing in a drawing tablet, laptop, or desktop setup that often costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars.


This pro easily plays into the next benefit of this being arguably the most budget-friendly way to create graphic designs, apart from sketching in a sketchbook. Not only are phones usually cheaper than the aforementioned devices, but you can also download a number of free applications to get started and save money. This is a fantastic approach for artists interested in graphic design who either:

  1. Aren’t sure if this art form is for them and want to test it out
  2. Don’t have the funds to purchase better equipment yet


And finally, the last pro of using a phone for graphic design is something all graphic designers can benefit from regardless of skill level: convenience. Phones are devices we have on us nearly 24/7, which means you can whip it out and use one of your graphic design apps to:

  • Quickly sketch an idea before the inspiration is gone
  • Scan and edit a rough sketch until you can get the image to a more advanced device
  • Create a graphic on the spot for a client

The possibilities are nearly endless, and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised with how often having these apps on your phone come in handy for your graphic design work.

Cons of Using a Phone for Graphic Design

Of course, there’s a reason most graphic designers don’t run to their phones when inspiration strikes, and it’s because these devices have some significant limitations.

One limitation lies purely in a phone’s size. Although phone screens are getting bigger and bigger with each model, they are still a fraction of the size of a monitor or tablet screen. Working on such a small screen makes graphic designing much harder and less comfortable, especially for lengthier tasks.

The most influential con of using a phone for graphic design is that, despite how far phones have come technologically, their power can’t hold a candle to the power you get from a desktop setup or even a drawing tablet.

Because phones aren’t capable of running larger, more extensive programs, their graphic design apps offer fairly simple features that focus on sketching, scanning, and maybe some more refined work. But overall, any extensive editing or highly detailed work you intend to do can’t be accomplished on a phone. This is where the internet based graphic design tools like start to excel.

This means extremely popular and proficient apps, like Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator aren’t available on phones either. Not having access to these programs will make it difficult to compete against other graphic designers who are proficient with these software and can create higher quality graphic designs than anything you could create on a phone.

Overall, for the sake of an artists’ success and career, it’s not recommended to use a phone for anything more than quick sketches and edits when you’re away from your primary graphic designing device.  

Final Thoughts

Phones are becoming increasingly relevant in the world of graphic designing as tools of convenience and accessibility, especially internet based graphic design tools.

While Smartphones might not be the best choice as a primary graphic designing device, technology for Smartphones is constantly improving. Who knows? In time, they might be a viable option for graphic designer on a more extensive scale. But for now, it’s good to be aware of the benefits and limitations these devices have to offer any graphic designer.