How Much Does App Design Cost? 

Dyachenko Anastasia
Dyachenko Anastasia
CEO at Cadabra Studio. UX expert and business consultant

Toptal statistics claims that 90% of users abandon an app due to poor visual feedback. It proves that the UI/UX design is essential, and you need to invest money to hire UX designers and get a good design team that delivers a top-notch product. 

Do you want to know how your app design cost is formed? Many nuances affect the average price of app design. We have prepared this article to provide you with a deeper understanding of the design process and its final cost. Here we go! 

Design Comes First

What is the primary purpose of any app? It must solve a specific problem. And an adequately created design helps achieve a set goal. Moreover, a crucial UI/UX design factor is its uniqueness and adaption to the right target audience. 

For example, it is a great mistake if you want to copy an existing competitor’s design. Your design should be created for your target audience and solve their problem. 

App design, no matter a web or mobile app it is, consists of two elements:

– UI (user interface). It is a visual part of any software. This is how users interact with an app. UI design includes buttons, sliders, input fields, etc.

– UX (user experience).  Everything that concerns users’ reactions and their navigation on a website or mobile app. A clear sequence of actions and easy navigation is what makes a good UX. 

UX is the process, while UI is the tool. However, they have one thing in common: building a user-friendly interface and making interactions enjoyable and memorable. 

If you want to create a design of your app on your own, it will be a tough challenge since you need to know the UI/UX process principles and have the skills of working in app designing tools. So hiring professional specialists is a better option.

Reasons Why Design Matters

First of all, poor design mitigates even the best app idea. If your app brings new capabilities and fantastic ideas, but its design isn’t thought-out, the app will fail. The importance of UI/UX design is an undeniable fact, mind to read our detailed article about it. 

To put it simply, a high-grade app design contributes to a better interaction between user and software. And if users feel comfortable when dealing with your app, they perform the required action fast, the value of your design grows exponentially. 

Remember one crucial thing — a designer is the first person you should start communicating with. We mean that hiring a UX designer is an early stage before you proceed to the development process. 

Web App Or Mobile App: Particularities Of Design Process

Before you estimate the cost to design an app, you should determine what type of app you need — a native mobile app or web application. When you ask yourself — “How much should I charge to design an app?”, the final price will depend on the platform as well.

Native Apps

Native mobile apps are created using specific languages and SDKs (software development kit) for each platform. Android developers use Java or Kotlin to build a native mobile app, while iOS developers use Swift for app development.

Based on this, if you need a native app for both platforms, the design won’t be identical — designers will need to create apps separately. And it will affect mobile app design costs. 

– Android app design. The creation of Android app design is more complicated than the creation of an iOS app. The reason lies in a large number of devices that run on Android. Different screen sizes, different particularities of devices make designers work more. 

Simultaneously, there is a particular design guideline called Material Design that simplifies the design process and lets designers keep up with strict standards.

– iOS app design. Since iOS is a proprietary operating system created exclusively for Apple’s hardware, the number of devices is limited, and the design process seems to be a more straightforward task.

However, designers also need to keep up with iOS design guidelines (Human Interface Guidelines) to follow indicated standards. Besides, each app requires an individual approach, and iOS app design isn’t a piece-of-cake task. 

Web App

Web applications have no uniform standard of design and development. A frontend is usually created using JavaScript, CSS, HTML5. Multiple languages can be used for backend — Python, Ruby, Java, Perl, etc. Everything depends on a web app type. 

Unlike mobile apps, web apps require an Internet connection to function correctly. There are progressive web apps that are similar to native ones, but their functionality is still limited. 

You can find out more their differences in our article: Progressive Web Apps vs Native Apps

The web app design process is multidimensional. The main goal of designers is to adapt an app to different screens and make it responsive. But standards and particularities depend on the project type, its complexity, platform (like WordPress, Shopify, etc.)

Crucial Stages Design Process Consists Of (What You Pay For)

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Concept Design by Cadabra

How much does an app designer cost? The cost of the design team is formed based on an hourly rate. The rate may differ depending on the company and region, but we will speak about it in the next section. Here you will find the stages that the design process must include by default.

Research And Analysis

Our designers conduct user research and analyze existing apps, capabilities, features, etc. to build a competitive product. This guide will show you how we do user research. 

The most crucial part of this stage is learning everything about the potential target audience, getting valuable insights, and getting acquainted with the latest design trends. Research helps designers create the right path to follow. 

UX Design Stage 

The smooth user experience is half the battle. Designers need to spend a lot of time working around different UX approaches and easy navigation.

Of course, this stage’s duration depends on the app type, but designers should always be attentive and concentrated on avoiding mistakes. Moreover, UX must be quite simple — users are not going to spend their time figuring out how the app works. 


Prototypes are clickable wireframes (wireframe is a simple sketch. It can be written by hand, which shows how elements in an app may be positioned) that allow a client to test an app, evaluate the UX part, and understand better how a skeleton of their app may look.

Prototyping is a must-have stage since it is a cost-efficient way to pitch an app to the client and get their feedback. If a client wants to add or remove something, it is better to discuss all critical nuances at the prototyping stage.

Visual Design (UI)

When prototypes are approved, designers need to make their apps visually attractive. Although the UX part is crucial, users don’t need an obscure and blurry app.

Designers create color schemes, logos, icons, and their primary task is to make sure that everything looks harmonically in the app. Also, illustrators and motion designers may draw illustrations and animations, if it is necessary.  

Post-release Maintenance

After the app release, clients are recommended to get feedback from users and consider their complaints/proposals. Thus, some modifications of design may be required after release, and it is a regular practice. Depending on the time spent on all the mentioned stages, we can form an average cost to design an app.  

Before app release, there is a development phase that wasn’t included in this article since it weakly affects app design cost, you can read more about the development stage here and there is also a guide on how to hire app developers right.

Fundamental Factors That Affect App Design Cost

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Concept Design by Cadabra

The cost of app design may also be lower or higher depending on multiple factors, and it would be wrong for us to ignore these issues. Please, read this section carefully to get a full picture of the design process.

Number Of Platforms

You already saw the particularities of mobile app design above. If you need both iOS and Android mobile apps, the cost of design will be doubled.

Each native app requires an individual approach, and a larger design team will be engaged in the project. Moreover, if you want a web app to be created additionally, the cost will be even higher.

However, if you focus on cross-platform apps, developers may apply React Native or Flutter app development frameworks that save time and budget. 

Design Style 

Apps are different, and so are design styles. Some apps require advanced color schemes, while others can be created using a minimalistic approach. But keep in mind that there are particular standards for widespread types of apps.

For example, an app like Netflix cannot be minimalistic since it won’t deliver the right association to users. So more complex design styles will be more expensive. 

This article may be interesting for you: Build Netflix like Website

Complexity And Size

The design process of the gaming app and social media app cannot be the same. The more advanced and time-consuming design is, the higher the cost will be. Each element on the page takes time, so rich design means large investments. 

The complicated functionality of the app leads to more intricate design. The gaming app will be much more extensive and complex than the Uber-like app. Time is money, simple math.

This article may be interesting for you: Uber like App Development 

Skills Of Designer

How much does it cost to design a mobile app or website? The answer to this question also depends on the professional level of designers. Thus, if you want to save your budget, you can hire a junior designer who will not be very experienced, but an hourly rate will be lower. If you are going to entrust your project to a professional, then the cost will be higher. 

Besides, due to lack of experience, junior designers may spend more time to build a design, and the final cost will also be rather high.

Location Of Design Team 

Finally, everything depends on the region where you hire designers. Remember that you are not obliged to hire designers located in your region only. There are no limits. Today the outsourcing cooperation model rules the world. And it would be best if you thought about offshore software development and design to save your costs. 

  • US and Canada. These regions provide the most expensive specialists. The average rate of UI/UX designers in North America ranges between $110-200 per hour.

  • Australia. Designers in Australia may charge about $75-105 per hour.

  • Asia. Asian specialists provide hourly rates at $35-50.

  • Western Europe. $75-125 is an average hourly rate in the UK, France, Spain, etc.

  • Eastern Europe. Here UI/UX design may be built for $25-40 per hour. By the way, Cadabra Studio is located in Ukraine. 

Don’t ever think that cheaper means worse. Lower prices arise from the total cost policies of software development in one or another region. Thus, you can hire Ukrainian designers who will build a top-notch design at a lower cost. 

Also, you can think about hiring a freelance designer who will charge about $15-25 per hour. But it is more reliable and safer to cooperate with a design and development company that values its reputation, and all necessary agreements will be complied with. Since you always sign an NDA before the design process is initiated. 

This article may be interesting for you: nda for app development

Cooperation with the company means that your project will be controlled by the project manager, each development step is agreed with you, and everything is transparent.  

By the way, feel free to read the guide on how to hire the best developer. But everything starts with a design, remember it. Then we can proceed to the development stage.

How Much Does It Cost To Design An App? 

Okay, let’s wrap it up. How much is it to design an app? The detailed estimate of the design process is possible only upon receipt of detailed requirements from you. We can provide approximate figures only — check them out.

– Basic app design may cost about $3,000 – 6,000. A basic app implies only one platform, a standard UI kit, and an MVP of your app. In some cases, MVP may be very important; check this article to know the reasons why you need it. 

– Medium complexity apps may cost you about $12,000 – 20,000. Animations, a lot of screens, complex interactions, two platforms — this is what medium complexity app includes.

– Complex apps may start with $22,000 and higher. Gaming apps, doctor appointment apps, VR & AR apps, video-on-demand apps are examples of complex software.

When you hire app designers at Cadabra Studio, we will be able to calculate a whole design process cost for your project. If you need development services as well, don’t hesitate to share your information with us. A signed NDA will protect everything so that project details won’t be disclosed. Cadabra Studio isn’t about magic. It merely builds first-rate software. 


Frequently Asked Questions

The Healthcare industry is known for complex processes explained by the high level of responsibility.

The cost of medical app development depends on several factors like your needs, set of features, technology stack, and so on. Though our business analytics make sure to not spend an unnecessary penny.

To make a mobile app screen, you need to create a user flow diagram for each screen, draw wireframes, select design templates, and colors, create layouts, and create an animated prototype.

We usually take our clients through the following steps:

  1. Planning and Research; 
  2. Prototyping;
  3. Design;
  4. Development;
  5. Testing;
  6. Release;
  7. Maintenance.

You will participate in every stage of the development process and get regular updates.

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