How Much Does It Cost to Design an App?

How Much Does It Cost to Design an App?

The design is the first thing a customer sees. It is crucial for app success. It has a significant influence on the traffic, getting leads, turning them into customers and the ROI rate. You should design an application according to the modern trends and, in so doing, preserving integrity. It has to look fresh and new. An excellent looking app should invoke the interest immediately. Simple as that, the better the design, the more users are attracted to your app.

Some might think that developers can easily make the whole app design. Is it really hard to make up some pictures in the well-known Photoshop? Who hasn't done that the other day? Well, great design is about the big picture, not just several images. It's a skill to master for years. A professional designer "feels" the latest trends, "sees" the attractive design perfectly matching the app idea, has an in-depth knowledge of mobile usability and much more.

Have you seen the "top design trends in 2018" like articles? Real experts compile such charts every year. It means that design trends are continuously changing. Mobile apps face new challenges as users don't have much time to master an incomprehensible interface. It's easier for them to get another app as the competition is tremendous.

The great mobile app design should:

  • Be intuitively understandable
  • Provide easy means for interaction
  • Ensure maximum value
  • Use the least possible input

To understand your target audience needs you will need time and effort, not to mention a specific knowledge that can only be accumulated from years of experience. The above can be summed up into a general thought—it is worth to hire a real specialist to make the work done. Because wasting time for mastering the field or creating a non-attractive app is not our path, correct? Either you create an app from scratch or just started thinking of your app redesign give the tech part to the professionals.

Once you made peace with the idea of hiring professionals, you're starting to wonder how much that would cost you and what should be taken into account when considering whom to choose. Here you will find out the price of the look and feel. Let’s get started!

How much does it cost to design an app across the map?

You might be confused by the way different companies estimate the design cost for a mobile app. Actually, it is much easier than it seems. Usually, the design cost is the hourly rate of the specialists multiplied by the number of hours they spend on the work.

Here are the hourly rates of designers across the map:

  • US and Canada charge $50–200 per hour;
  • Australia get $50–150 per hour;
  • Western Europe asks for $35 and $170 per hour;
  • Eastern Europe (including Ukraine) deliver great design at $20–50 per hour;
  • India prefers $10—$30 per hour.

In some cases, you may find other rates and estimation techniques, although it would be rather an exception than a rule. You should think twice before arranging cooperation with those designers whose terms differ significantly from the mentioned above.

The good things about the IT sphere are that the locals do not limit you. You can choose an outsourcing company to match your desire for top quality service at a reasonable price. The reasons for such rates correlation are various from a living cost level till tax rates amount. In no case, it indicates the general competence level. For example, Ukrainian designers are known worldwide for the highest expertise that helps the products to stand out.

What goes into an app design cost?

The landmark of great design is to solve a particular problem. In the beginning, it is vitally important to allocate the problem that your app should deal with. For that research goes into action which is the first step of the design creation process.

#1. Data collection and analysis

At this stage, the primary purpose is to find out what the customer wants, what is already there on the market to satisfy the needs and how it all can become better.

How Much Does It Cost to Design an App? - photo 2

To reach our goal we make research on three things:

  • Target audience
  • Competitors
  • Market trends

It gives us a clear vision of opportunities that exist in a chosen niche and users behaviors, needs, and motivations which is a proven approach to appeal to our customers. At this stage, several factors influence the design cost. Among them the app complexity and the chosen platform. In some cases, the design might take up to 15% more time for Android than for iOS platform.

Estimated time: 20 - 40 hours.

Deliverables: clear goals, audience definition, use cases, realistic behavioral scenarios, and user stories.

#2. Prototyping

That is where UX design makes the first steps to turn into reality. During this process, we validate concepts, create a workflow, and perform testing. It is a step-by-step process that might be repeated several times to get the most delightful design for the target audience. A lot of usability testing is engaged here.

How Much Does It Cost to Design an App? - photo 3

You might think that prototyping with all those iterations can require more cost, although it actually saves your budget. Would you believe in it? That’s because before the project goes to the development stage, the whole team has all the variables to make the best possible design. By the way, all those iterations help to avoid the changes in user requirements which in a while might have added another cost to design.

Here’s what can add the cost: the number of screens, different screen sizes, app development platform, user requirements changes.

Estimated time: 40 - 80 hours.

Deliverables: wireframes of app screens, user flow diagrams, interactive prototypes.

#3. Visual (UI) design

At this stage, the essence, look, and feel of the app is created. It includes choosing the proper colors, building shapes, and establishing typographic communication. Great design makes up a story when a user is moving from one screen to the other. In general, this is where the final product design is created: all the branding things, icons, images, etc.

How Much Does It Cost to Design an App? - photo 4

Visual design shows the way product works when a user moves from one screen to another. All the screens are rendered, and elements are organized according to the already agreed prototype.

The most important is to create a product that looks pleasant and feels easy to understand. Of course, it requires years of experience and creative thinking from a designer.

Our design team creates all kinds of designs. They care about the way a user interface looks and then how it reacts to the user behavior.  You can check them in our Behance profile.

How Much Does It Cost to Design an App? - photo 5

Estimated time: 80 - 200 and more hours.

Deliverables: final product design including app logo, icons, and screenshots for app stores.

How much does it cost to design an app?

Finally, we’ve got to the primary purpose of this article. At this stage, you already know most of the variables influencing the design cost. Let’s generalize all the above! App design cost is calculated according to the designer’s hourly rate, app complexity and the number of platforms involved. As we mentioned previously, app design for Android might cost a little bit more than the one for iOS. Also, you’ve already seen the hourly rates across the map, so the only thing left is to figure out the app complexity factor.

Usually, apps are divided into three types considering their complexity:

  • Basic
  • Medium
  • Complex

According to our research Ukrainian IT specialists can be considered as a “golden mean” offering excellent quality at a reasonable price. The average rate they have is $30 per hour. So let’s calculate the cost of different types of apps according to this rate. Here is what we get on average:

#1. A primary application requires about 100 hours and thus costs around $3,000.

Basic app includes design for only one platform containing standard UI elements.

#2. App of medium complexity will need about 200 hours and costs somewhere near $6,000.

An application of medium complexity contains lots of additional screens, well-designed complex interactions, and different types of content that are used inside the app by users.

#3. Complex apps with custom animations can require 400 hours, and their cost starts at $12,000.

You won’t find many complex apps. Mostly there are applications of primary and medium complexity. Usually, complex apps are designed for a number of platforms. Plus there are lots of different features: from items comparison to calculating product costs.

As you can see, the average app cost can vary from $2000 to $40 000, and that’s only based on the hourly rates. Surely all those calculations are approximate. Different designers or design studios offer various services for the specified price. So you should bear that in mind when choosing the most suitable app designers.

You might think that it is too expensive for such a little part as app design. But let me reassure you, as even apps of primary complexity require lots of effort. All those salaries, office equipment, design tools (Yes, professional plans for designers also require extra costs), etc.

Be sure, it’s worth it. Just check a simple example of the interactive design.

How Much Does It Cost to Design an App? - photo 6

Isn’t it cool? Things like that make a wow-effect on users. They want to show it to their friends, share with colleagues thereby increasing your app’s audience. A good-looking problem-solving app speaks for itself.


App design is a significant part of your app’s success. Bad design will push users away from the first screen. Great design will attract positive reviews, high traffic, and make your app famous.

So take your chance to transform your idea into a reality with a beautiful and engaging app. Start investing in your app’s popularity from the very first step!

Content Marketer. Strong understanding of innovative technologies, design, and digital marketing solutions for business.
Get technical, business insights, and industry news straight to you inbox