Brendan Dawes

Analogue + Digital


16 iPhone Apps for "On The Road" Creatives


Like many my iPhone is hardly ever used as "a phone". It's a magical little box that can be transformed into a million different uses. Here's some of my selections that I find essential when out and about.

Collecting things is big part of the creative process. Evernote allows me to collect stuff really easily, whether it's things I see with the camera, written notes, bits of code or anything else. The great thing is it syncs across all my devices so my stuff is always with me.

Another great collecting tool if you use Posterous, PicPosterous allows you to upload images on the go into collections. I used this recently when I was at MoMA and it worked really well, allowing me to add images and video in an adhoc fashion to the same image gallery.

Without doubt Dropbox has completely changed the way I work. Everything I work on is now done via Dropbox which means all the work gets synced across all my machines, has built in versioning, backup, not to mention sharing. The app version of Dropbox just adds to an already great product. For instance the other week I was sat at a gate waiting to board a plane when I got a call from a magazine who needed a logo I'd designed for a client. Rather than fire up my laptop, get a wifi connection etc I just used Dropbox on my iPhone and created a shared link to the file which I then emailed. Perfect.

I still use pen and paper to sketch out ideas, but if you're on the road you sometimes need a way to send those ideas to your colleagues & friends. You could of course just take a picture, which does work well on the 3Gs, but JotNot turns the camera into a lovely little scanner with some clever stuff that processes the image so it's more readable. It'll even make multipage PDFs you can then email or send to Evernote, Dropbox or Google Docs. I've used it many times and it's become really invaluable. Mobile
I still have a lot of love for Photoshop, even though personally I think these days it's sinking under the weight of unnecessary features. In some ways PS Mobile is the essential bare bones for on-the-go image manipulation. The uploading to is for me a complete waste of time - I'd much rather have more sharing options, but the editor is well worth taking up screen space on your iPhone.


Mill Colour
From the award winning effects company The Mill comes this lovely free colour correction app, which has quickly become my standard way of tweaking photos. It comes with built in looks that emulate things like lomo and 70s film, but the fun comes in playing with the dials to make subtle adjustments.


From Japan's Wow Inc comes this really fun graphics toy. Using graphical principles such as The Golden Ratio, it magically creates great looking mini posters and designs from your photos. Just keep refreshing and it'll make something new every time - and it always looks good. If only mySpace had used something like this. 


As far as I'm concerned there's only one drawing app you need, and it's this one. Intuitive controls and a great interface combine to allow you to just simply draw stuff. On holiday I used this to get back into painting and it was a lot of fun. Any painting can be exported to any size with the free companion desktop app.


I've used the web version of What The Font many times, but now you can spot fonts when you're out and about using the iPhone version. Great for typo-philes on the go and for settling font fights!

All the stuff I write is done in Google Docs, but on the road there's actually no way on Google Docs to write or edit a document. That's where Doc2 comes in allowing you to view, edit and create new documents on Google Docs and other such services, as well as locally.


Ftp on the go
Sometimes you need to access your server to fix something, or make a simple amend. This is a handy little app that allows you to access servers over FTP and download, edit, then upload back to the server. Very handy in emergencies.


Blatant self promotion time, but I really believe that "doing nothing" is as much a part of the creative process as anything else. Elena is a small graphics toy I built to just noodle around with, to help your mind drift. 

Creative Review Annual 2010

File under inspiration, this is a beautiful looking app that you can dive into at any point and maybe get inspired by some of the great work contained within.


McSweeney's  McSweeney's 
Without doubt my fave iPhone app. When the McSweeney app lights up to tell me there's new content I have to admit I get a little excited. Inspirational writing, audio and video delivered straight to your phone that will make you laugh, cry and almost certainly think.


When I found Instapaper it was a real revelation to me. There's lots of stuff I see on the web but often don't have time to read at that moment. With Instapaper you just add that web site or article to your Instapaper queue which saves it for viewing later. The iPhone app just makes it even better, with each article presented perfectly for the iPhone, complete with the option of tilt scrolling. It also has categories you can subscribe to that are full of great pieces of writing.


This American Life
If you've not yet discovered This American Life then you're in for a treat. Really great one hour podcasts based on a weekly theme. Now with the iPhone app you can get access to all the previous shows and some other exclusive content. Always a source of inspiration. 

After all that, remember looking away from your phone and looking out the window and observing the things around you is probably the most creative thing you can do.