Cost to Design an App – How to Estimate your Mobile App Design Cost?

By Ronak Patel   |   3 August, 2021
Cost to Design an App – How to Estimate your Mobile App Design Cost?

Quick Summary: What has the biggest role in setting the first impression on the user and making them decide if they want to continue using a mobile app or not? While the mobile app’s performance, security, and contents are essential, it is always the mobile app design that catches the users’ attention first. Mastering the art of mobile app design is not a cakewalk, and hence it is important to understand the various factors affecting the cost to design an app. In this blog, we will break down the app design cost considerations for you.

If you are looking for the cost of mobile app design, this means you already are clear on your mobile app idea and have a basic understanding of what you want your mobile app to do. That is commendable! Kudos on making it this far. Let us now take the mantle of providing you with the ultimate guide on costs to design an app.

Before we dive deeper into the factors affecting mobile app design costs and finding effective remedies to cut down on those costs, we should understand the importance of mobile app design in the overall mobile app development process.

Need for Professional Mobile App Design Services

Every dollar spent on UX brings between $2 and $100 in return.

When you talk to most business owners planning to build an app for their company, they always discard the need to hire dedicated mobile app design services as they assume the mobile app developers can handle it as an additional service of their overall app development project.

There are a couple of problems with this approach –

  1. Developers can handle basic mobile app design practices, but they won’t go beyond the ‘look and feel’ aspect of app design. A professional mobile app designer keeps many things in mind when designing a mobile app like – functionality, scalability, flexibility, user-journey, content priority, branding integrations and much more.
  2. A professional app designer will know the practicality factor behind any design by keeping in mind factors such as; project budget, impact on overall app size, avoid plagiarism and more.
  3. Your app will have inconsistencies in its design, leading to a higher cost to redesign your mobile app after it gets completed, which would be costlier and also cause a delay in app deployment time to the marketplaces.

A well-conceived, frictionless UX design could potentially raise customer conversion rates up to 400%.

Factors affecting Mobile App Design Cost

Now that we have understood and highlighted the importance of mobile app design services, we should answer the most awaited answer – ‘How much does it cost to design an app?’ Here are some of the major cost factors for mobile app design –

  1. Designing Stages
  2. Job Qualifications
  3. App Platforms
  4. Country-wise comparison
  5. Project Complexity

Factors affecting Mobile App Design Cost

I. Cost to Design an App based on Designing Stages

Stage of App Design Average Hours Average Cost ($)
Planning 20 – 30 $200 – $600
Analysis 20 – 40 $200 – $800
Design 50 – 150 $900 – $2000
User Experience Design
·         Sketches 10 – 20 $100 – $200
·         UX Wireframes 5 – 30 $100 – $600
Visual Design
·         Mood board creations 5 – 10 $50 – $600
·         UI Mockup Sample Options 5 – 30 $200 – $300
·         Finalized UI Mockup Creation 150 – 300 $2500 – $5000
Testing 5 – 20 $60 – $200

1. Planning

Average Time: 20 – 30 Hours | Average Cost: $200 – $600

Planning is an essential mobile app design stage where app designers calculate the strength and weaknesses of their client’s project. Without carefully running a SWOT analysis, any cost to design a mobile app is invalidated. Therefore, planning is important to kickstart a project and ensure its smooth functionality through all the app design stages.

2. Analysis

Average Time: 20-40 Hours | Average Cost: $200 – $800

Analyzing is the cream on the top of an efficient planning effort that helps app designers take an in-depth look at the performance output of the app at all design stages to see if there is a need for any additional changes or removing certain elements that are hindering the app performance significantly. Analysis is one of the most important factors in removing waste elements from the start and keeping your mobile app as clean as possible.

Mobile App Design Stages

3. Design

Average Time: 50 – 150 Hours | Average Cost: $900 – $2000

Now that we have a basic plan ready as to how we want to design our mobile app and analyze all design aspect’s impact on performance, we can finally start designing the base architecture of the mobile app. This will help remove any possible flaws in the app design process. Design can be further divided into two essential parts –

3.1 User Experience (UX) Design

User Experience Design is part of the overall mobile app design process to provide an appealing mobile app experience to its users. Hence mobile app user experience design will take all factors like user interfaces, app usability, accessibility and human-computer interaction into accountability. Depending on the size of the project, your mobile app design cost would vary on the three essential app UX design stages –

3.1.1 Sketches
Average Time: 10 – 20 Hours | Average Cost: $100 – $200

Sketches are the first and most important aspects of designing the mobile user experience. If your mobile app has many complicated features with complex navigation, you should start sketching out the overall app idea concept in an accessible format. This can be done using freehand drawing or mobile app design tools like Sketch, Figma, UXPin and more. Sketches are supposed only to show and focus on the leading and most complicated app structures.

3.1.2 UX Wireframes
Average Time: 5 – 30 Hours | Average Cost: $100 – $600

Sketches can be designed using hand-drawn sketches, but you need to rely on some of the most efficient and credible mobile app design tools for UX wireframes. In this app design stage, designers layout the structure of the mobile app while thinking about the user flow and app usability. This helps the mobile app flow in a hierarchical and systematic flow, which will help the end-user better understand and grasp how the mobile app works. UX wireframes help understand the visual concept of your mobile app.

3.2 Visual Design

Visual Design refers to the best practices in app design that helps convey the overall app idea and solve users problems using visual cues. App designers create UI mockups based on the UX wireframes we talked about earlier. The UI mockups bring the UX framework design to reality for creating mobile apps with spectator design that gives your mobile app an edge over the competitors.

Brand designing is also a big part of visual design wherein the colors, fonts, interior layers, and overall look and feel of the mobile app are designed considering the colors you use with your brand to ensure your app looks like an extension of your brand identity.  The various design processes that help with visual designing are –

3.2.1. Mood Board Creation

Average Time: 5 – 10 Hours | Average Cost: $50 – $600

Mood boards can act as a great starting point for any visual design project by providing a great visual inspiration and reference source. Mood boards can be derived from nature, from things around us, from the net, or any reference point that helps make the visual design easier to comprehend.

3.2.2. UI Mockup Sample Options

Average Time: 5 – 30 Hours | Average Cost: $200 – $300

UI mockups are essential tools for coming up with finalized interface design options that can be presented to the stakeholders for a chance to preview, make revisions and suggest edits before the visual mobile app design is finalized.

3.2.3. Finalized UI Mockup Creation

Average Time: 150 – 300 Hours | Average Cost: $2500 – $5000

Once we have gone through all the mockup sample options, we select one finalized UI mockup from the varied previews and implement it on the actual app itself. This process needs delicate handling and utmost care to make sure the design sticks perfectly as envisioned.

4. Development& Implementation

Here the actual task of developing the app starts with data recording in the background. Once the app is ready, it goes through the implementation stages, where the project is put under a pilot study to ensure it functions properly.

5. Testing

Average Time: 5 – 20 Hours | Average Cost: $60 – $200

Testing is one of the most important tasks for mobile app design, yet it is often overlooked or not paid enough attention to. Investing in thorough testing of a mobile app can be expensive, but its absence could leave your app in a non-functional state, which would cost you way more than just monetary resources to recover from.

II. Average cost to design an app as per Job Qualifications

Suppose we are going to do a cost analysis of mobile app design price. In that case, the first ideal factor to discuss is the various job levels of mobile app designers and their respective fees to get a better understanding of what you need and how much you would ideally need to pay for it.

App Designer Rates based on Experience

Position Key Responsibilities Hourly Rate ($/hr)
Junior Level Mobile App Designer
  • Meaningful contributions in the discovery phase of mobile app design.
  • Produces conceptual designs to socialize initial ideas internally and externally.
  • Produce clickable prototypes
$10-$20
Senior Level Mobile App Designer
  • Creating user-centric designs by considering customer feedback, market analysis and usability findings.
  • Design the UI architecture, interface, and interaction flow of new web and on-device software applications
$25-$50
Virtual Designer
  • Combining various shapes, sizes, typography fonts and colors to improve overall user experience.
  • Using hand-drawn graphics to design original and unique design elements.
$20-$50
Product Designer
  • Create design concepts and drawings for determining the best mobile app design.
  • Suggest improvements in design and performance to product engineers on the team.
  • Convert design concepts to functional prototypes.
$20-$50
Mobile App Architect
  • Strong knowledge of SOLID principles.
  • Good understanding of REST API and REST API Standards.
  • Experience in designing the end-to-end architecture of large-scale enterprise mobile applications.
$40-$80

III. App Platforms matters

One of the most significant considerations that severely influence mobile app design costs and the overall mobile app development costs is choosing between iOS, Android or any third-party operating software for your mobile app development. Since we are discussing mobile app design costs, you should know that both iOS and Android have different approaches to design principles. For example, iOS follows Human Interface Guidelines, whereas Android follows Material Design (now Material You) guidelines.

Average iOS App Design Cost

Average cost to design iOS app: $650-$1200

iOS app design is stricter when it comes to maintaining a uniformity of quality and class for your mobile app to get approved by the scrutinizing norms of Apple’s app store, but the overall cost to design an app reduces significantly as Apple follows a closed eco-system. This benefits iOS app designers, as they only need to test their apps for a limited number of iOS devices – i.e. the iPhones and the iPads.

Average Android App Design Cost

The average cost to design an Android app: $500-$1000

Android provides a clear and concise guideline with its documented Material Design that makes it easier for Android designers to mimic the native Android user experience in their apps. However, there is larger device fragmentation with Android as it powers 8 out of every 10 smartphones globally. Hence testing your design for so many smartphone brands and their variants can be a costlier affair than iOS app design costs.

IV. Mobile App Design Cost

 Country-wise Breakdown

Where you get your mobile app also designed significantly impacts the overall cost to develop your mobile app. Different countries have different average app design rates depending on their overall pay structure, living status, and minimum wages. Here is a country-wise breakdown for determining the cost of your mobile app design –

Country Wise Mobile App Designer Hourly Rates

Countries India UK US Canada Germany
Mobile App Design Cost per hour $25-$40 $75-$125 $125-$175 $50-$150 $60-$120

As you can see, India’s mobile app design cost is the most cost-effective compared to other countries. This is also because of the average salaries and availability of the many expert app designers they have.

V. Cost to Design a Mobile App as per Project Complexity

Another aspect to consider when discussing the cost to design an app is the level of your project complexity. Any app’s complexity is determined by –

  • Number of platforms – iOS, Android or both
  • MVP vs Final App
  • The complexity of overall app functionality
  • User needs/Specialized Needs
  • Level of mobile app design customization
  • Number of user roles in the app

Based on the level of complexity, your mobile app can be categorized in any of these three categories –

  1. Simple mobile app
  2. Medium complexity mobile app
  3. High Complexity mobile app

Cost to design app based on complexity

App Complexity Average App Design Hours (hrs) Average App Design Cost($)
Simple Mobile App 40 – 160 hours $2000 – $4000
Medium Complexity Mobile App 150 – 350 hours $4000 – $9000
High Complexity Mobile App 400 – 1,000 hours $10,000 – $25,000

1. Simple Mobile App

Average Hours: 40 – 160 hours | Average Cost: $2000 – $4000

A simple mobile app design will mostly follow a minimalist design style with an easy to follow navigation for shortening the gap between a user’s first interactions with the app to the final desired output without any confusion.

2. Medium Complexity Mobile App

Average Hours: 150 – 350 hours | Average Cost: $4000 – $9000

Such mobile apps would use many advanced business logics and have many sub-pages that need to be designed to pixel-perfect perfection. Here the app might require the inclusion of some illustrations and animations as well.

3. High Complexity Mobile App

Average Hours: 400 – 1,000 hours | Average Cost: $10,000 – $25,000

High complexity mobile apps can have more than one app solutions for which you would need to create a uniform app design for all app variants. For instance, a company can require three different apps – an app for customers, an app for delivery staff and an admin panel for managers.

These apps will have different functionalities, but they need to be tied under one brand. Working on such app designs will take more extended hours and better-skilled designers, resulting in a higher cost of designing your mobile app.

“Craft your Next-gen App with our UI/UX Designers”

And Deliver Immersive App Experience to your Users

Wrapping it up!

These are all the mobile app design cost considerations for you to keep in your mind when designing your ideal mobile app.  Designing an app is generally ticked off as one aspect of the overall mobile app development process. Still, if you want to develop an app that stands out from your competitors, you need to pay attention to finer details on the design aspect.  Make sure to use this cost of developing a mobile app guideline to budget your app design plans properly.

Ronak Patel

Ronak Patel is a CEO and Founder of Aglowid IT Solutions, an ever-emerging Top Web and Mobile Development company with a motto of turning clients into successful businesses. He believes that Client's success is company's success and so that he always makes sure that Aglowid helps their client's business to reach to its true potential with the help of his best team with the standard development process he set up for the company.

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