As an entrepreneur building an exciting new application, there's a few skills that you're going to need to pick up extremely quickly if you want to be able to make smart, high-level decisions about your product. Design is one of these skills, and although you may not ever need to open up photoshop yourself, an eye for great design will serve you extremely well as you build your own app.
One of the best ways to develop your eye is to look critically at examples of great design. By analysing the work of others, we can learn the principles of effective practice and better critique our own work.
With this goal in mind, I spoke to a few members of our design team and asked for some examples of what they consider to be first-class app design. Let's take a look at few.
Drinki is an example of a super-simple design that's been polished to perfection. This drink application offers users a tried and tested catalogue format with a few nice tweaks that conspire to create a great experience.
The app is designed around a single page list of offers in a simple, self-evident format. However, the tactile animations and stunning photography work together to create a more immersive and premium experience. It feels like getting a sneak peek into London's coolest bars through the window of your phone screen. Note how the only button on the page is a single sign-up call to action. This focuses this user's attention where the designer wants it to go - to the conversion point.
Subtle, creative, beautiful - these are just a few of the things I've heard said about Monument Valley's design. This iOS game has received wide acclaim for its super-simple concept and sophisticated, colourful art style.
There's a couple of elements working together that make the art in Monument Valley so exceptional. Firstly, it's extremely good at contrasting complex detail with open negative space. This draws the user's attention in whilst maintaining the impression of lightness. Fantastic use of a pastel colour palette and gradients gives the designs a vibrant and attractive feel, and it's extremely simple, yet very deep game mechanics make for a beautiful overall experience.
In contrast to Monument Valley, Cocktail Flow proves that you don't need complex artwork to make an app effective and visually appealing. The deceptively simple layout of this cocktail recipes app is enriched by first-class photography. This teaches us an important lesson; if you're unsure about how to create a great design, keep it simple and use high-quality assets that will do the hard work for you. Great photography, video and animation can take the strain off of your designers whilst still maintaining a premium feel to your app.
We hope you got a lot out of these three examples of excellent design. Remember, rather than trying to emulate another design, figure out the principles that make them tick and try to implement them in your own, unique way.