App Design Cost: Exploring Determinants and Budgetary Considerations

14 November 2023 Writer: Lera Grechanik 2950 views

Regarding web and mobile development expenses, it's necessary to remember that they rely on myriad facets, especially during design. Designing a high-quality app involves numerous tasks, such as user research, competitor audits, UX design, interaction design, web and mobile app interface design, graphic design, app icons, and logo design. Previous articles have discussed topics like the cost of an app, mobile app maintenance costs, and the cost to build an MVP

This article focuses on the app design cost, separate from app engineering. We'll explore the expense of app design to guarantee it resonates with users. Before plunging into details, let's examine the rudimentary characteristics of design to factor in and explore their significance in building a top-notch app.

What Does the App Design Price Consist of?

Design encompasses more than just aesthetics; it revolves around problem-solving. Regardless of the nature of the app being built, its primary purpose is to address a particular problem the end-user faces.

To ensure the app's effectiveness and functionality, it is vital to go beyond good-looking screens. A functional design requires designers to possess various skills, including a deep sense of users, their pain points, goals, and needs, which can be achieved through a comprehensive analysis of business processes. At Celadonsoft, our design cycle entwines several steps that facilitate making up impactful and purpose-driven designs.

Research

User research is executed first. It is done to be in tune with the users for whom the app is developed. We try to figure out why and for whom the app is designed by finding answers to these inquiries: 

  • For whom is the app created in general? 
  • Will it be a solution for regular users or some software for your employees?
  • What goals do users set? Can they achieve them with the help of the app?

We delve into users' goals and evaluate whether the app can help them achieve them. We focus on maximizing efficiency and speed in assisting users in reaching their objectives.

Besides, we conduct industry analysis as part of this step. By researching your competitors, we gain insights into how they have addressed similar challenges. We assess their features, identify user needs they have catered to, and identify any gaps in the user experience (UX) design.

TipWhile competitor analysis is valuable, it is vital to lay stress on users and your target audience. Concentrate on comprehending their needs and how your app can meet them in a way that leaves them satisfied and delighted.

Eventually, three things are crucial to be researched:

  • Users and their needs, 
  • Standard practices for solving business challenges, 
  • Competitors

With all the collected data at our disposal, we can provide a distinctive design solution that effectively addresses the needs of your users while being fully aligned with your business pursuits. This tailored design has the potential to enhance sales, expand your user base, streamline user interactions, and deliver various other benefits aimed at boosting overall performance.

  • Estimated time: 20 to 40 hours
  • Deliverables: Use cases, realistic behavioral scenarios, user stories
  • Tools we use: User personas, A/B testing results, investigative user studies, interviews

Once we have received all the necessary information, our pro designer can begin the process of creating concept screens specifically crafted to fit your prerequisites. These concept screens will give you a tangible sense of the app's look and feel, allowing you to envision how it will come to life.

UX Design

In the subsequent step, our team organizes and structures the ideas to craft a compelling design with an exceptional user experience (UX). This process can be divided into multiple stages.

Mapping Out a User’s Journey

Our designer develops a user flow diagram illustrating users' paths when engaging with the product. This diagram outlines the high-level structure of the app, mapping the user's journey and interactions within it.

 User flow diagram. Source: dribbble.com

Wireframing Goes Next

The next stage involves wireframing, which helps to refine and clarify the product's visual representation. Wireframes provide a basic outline of the screens and how they will interact with the app's pages.

Low-fidelity wireframes focus on placing elements within the screens, ensuring that the navigation flows logically from one step to another. These wireframes serve as a way to validate the overall structure and flow of the app.

Once the customer approves the navigation scheme and screen representation, the team moves on to a more detailed vision of the end product. Engineers can then begin implementing the core features and fundamental elements identified in this stage.

Wireframes. Source: dribbble.com

Creating wireframes and iterating to achieve the most efficient user experience often takes longer than initially estimated. However, working with wireframes ultimately saves clients money. But how does it work?

  • Wireframing significantly reduces the risk of exceeding budget and time constraints. Developers can begin their work before the final design is approved, allowing for parallel progress. Android app development services and iOS app development services can commence once the wireframes are approved.
  • Wireframing also helps mitigate the inherent risks associated with changing requirements. With a wireframe-based approach, modifications can be made swiftly, often within minutes. The only exception is when a screen has been fully designed. In summary, wireframes play a pivotal role in reducing the mobile application design cost.

At Celadonsoft, our team collaboratively works on wireframes. Business analysts, developers, designers, project managers, and clients contribute to the wireframing process until a consensus is reached. This practice enables us to spot and rectify misunderstandings during the mobile app development services process. Regarding app design cost, fixing errors in wireframes is more wallet-friendly compared to later stages of development.

Prototyping

Before diving into UI design, designers undertake an essential step: prototyping. Prototyping brings life to the bare wireframes and adds interactivity to the UX.

Unlike static wireframes, app prototypes can showcase animations and interactions. Users can interact with the app, click buttons, submit forms, and engage with diverse UI features. Prototypes provide a tangible experience resembling the actual app, allowing for testing and validation.

Furthermore, app prototypes are an excellent tool for usability testing and collecting valuable user feedback. They enable designers to assess and refine the research results based on user interactions and insights. Prototyping enhances the across-the-board design process and helps ensure a user-centered and intuitive app experience.

  • Estimated time: 40 to 160 hours
  • Deliverables: Wireframes of app screens, user flow diagrams, interactive prototypes
  • Tools we use: Sketch, InVision, Principle, Overflow

UI design

UX design is about problem-solving. But what is UI for, and what does it do? 

While UX design focuses on problem-solving, UI design is all about communication. It serves as the medium through which users gain insights and information about the product as they navigate from screen to screen. The primary goal of a UI designer is to enhance the visual appeal and feel of the product. 

Like UX design, UI design follows several steps:

Visuals

The UI designer selects colors, shapes, and fonts to devise a visually attractive and cohesive design. They also design typographic elements that contribute to effective communication. Additionally, they consider the functions and interactions that will take place between the user and the app, ensuring they are seamlessly integrated into the UI design.

Visual design. Source: dribbble.com

In addition, the creation of design systems takes place during this phase. You might wonder, "What exactly is a design system?" It is a comprehensive collection of reusable elements that adhere to specific standards and guidelines. This curated collection can be utilized to build numerous applications in the future, ensuring consistency and efficiency in the design process.

Design system. Source: dribbble.com

Branding

Branding and visual design are closely intertwined and interrelated. Visual design encompasses the product's style, including components such as the app's logo, mobile app icon, and screens. 

The visual design reflects the brand identity when executed effectively and in line with high-quality standards. As a result, it is not meaningful to inquire about the specific cost of an app's logo alone. A logo is just one component of the comprehensive mobile app UI design, encompassing various pieces. 

At Celadonsoft, we regard this aspect as part of the overall mobile app UI design cost, recognizing the importance of creating a cohesive and impactful visual brand identity.

  • Estimated time: 80 to 320 hours
  • Deliverables: Final product design including app logo, icons, and screenshots for app stores; a design system
  • Tools we use: Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator, InVision, Principle, Pixate, After Effects.

Have an exciting project on your mind?
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Decoding Facets Affecting the App Design Costs

When determining design costs, it is crucial to prioritize the app's intricacy as a key factor. Furthermore, the number of platforms the app will be designed for has a notable effect. Additionally, taking into account the designer's level of experience is compulsory to gain an all-around insight into the situation.

At Celadonsoft, we specialize in creating native mobile apps for various platforms, including iOS and Android mobile devices, watchOS, Android Wear, Apple TV, and Android TV. Therefore, our expertise and capabilities already cover one aspect of the list.

    to learn about mobile application design cost

When calculating the cost, it's fundamental to take into account that the sophistication of the app and its features play a significant role. However, another factor that may not immediately seem significant but has a substantial impact on cost is the location of the development team.

The geographical location of the development team can significantly influence the overall figures. Rates and market conditions vary in different regions, directly affecting pricing. Let's take a closer look at how the team's location can impact the cost of app design.

1. App Design Cost by Country

To provide accurate and current information on the average app design price across different countries, we conducted extensive research. We analyzed the hourly rates of 100 companies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ukraine, and India.

Our data, gathered from reputable sources such as Clutch, which provides transparent ratings and reviews of IT teams, offers insights as of June 2023. The findings highlight the following trends:

  • United States: Approximately 42% of US-based agencies charge between $150 and $200 per hour, while 29% charge between $100 and $150 per hour. Four agencies did not disclose their hourly rates.
  • United Kingdom: Around 31% of UK agencies charge between $50 and $100 per hour, and 29% set their rates around $100 to $150 per hour.
  • Germany: In Germany, 37% of companies charge between $50 and $100 per hour, 27% request $25 to $50 per hour, and 23% charge between $100 and $149 per hour. Notably, the rate difference is significant compared to the previously mentioned countries.
  • Ukraine: Most Ukrainian design studios, accounting for 61%, request rates between $25 and $50 per hour, while 24% charge between $50 and $99 per hour.
  • India: In India, 40% of companies surveyed charge between $25 and $49 per hour, and 35% set their pricing at less than $25 per hour.

These figures provide an overview of the hourly rates for app design across various countries, allowing for a better understanding of the cost differences depending on the team's location.

2. Custom Design Cost by Project Complexity

Applications can generally be categorized into three types: 

  • primary
  • middling complexity,
  • complex

The design time and cost for each type can vary. We considered a $50 per hour rate to provide estimated mobile app design prices, which can be regarded as an average based on the earlier statistics. To help determine an app's complexity and get the answer to “How much it takes to design an app,” consider the following indicators:

  • Platforms: The number of platforms for which the app is developed impacts costs. More platforms generally increase complexity, although cross-platform development is often more cost-effective than native development.
  • MVP vs. Full-Featured: The app's scope, whether it's a basic Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or a fully-featured, comprehensive application.
  • Functionality and Complexity: The level of complexity involved in implementing the app's functionality, including non-standard features or augmented reality. Niche-specific apps often require higher complexity.
  • User Needs: Consider the sophistication and complexity of the end-users' requirements, especially in complex domains like healthcare.
  • Design Customization: The extent of design customization required for the app, including visual elements, branding, and user interface considerations.
  • Number of User Roles: The number of distinct user roles or personas within the app, which may affect the complexity of the design.

Based on these factors, the estimated design time and prices for different types of apps are as follows:

  1. Simple App: Typically takes 100 to 160 hours to design, with costs starting from $5,000.
  2. Medium Complexity App: Design time ranges from 320 to 640 hours, leaning on sophistication. The estimated design price is approximately $16,000 and higher.
  3. Complex App: Designing a complex app usually requires around 1,000 hours or more, with costs starting from $50,000.

Please note that these figures represent average mobile app design prices, and actual costs can vary significantly depending on the location of your development team. Furthermore, when considering mobile app design price, factors such as the quality, approaches, specialists, and processes offered by a UI/UX design services studio or a freelancer can also influence the final cost of the mobile application design.

App Design Cost: Bottom Line

To gain a better understanding of the rates, please refer to the table below. It outlines the costs associated with basic, custom, and mixed mobile app design. This price list provides a comprehensive overview of these processes and sheds light on the associated costs of app design.

Type of work

What’s included

Timeframe

Price ($50/hour) *

Sketches

- created in an accessible format

- equivalent to the low-fidelity UX wireframes

- made by a team of specialists: business analyst, software architect, and designer

~16 - 24+

~$800 - $1,200+

Basic app design

- basic design principles are used

- is equivalent to high-fidelity UX wireframes

~40 - 60+

~$2,000 - $3,000+

Custom app design

- 2-3 samples to choose from

- custom design elements are included

- also called UI mockups

~60 - 80+

~$3,000 - $4,000+

Illustrations

- 3 images from our specialists

~16 - 32+

~$800 - $1,600+

Branding

- logo creation

~24 - 40+

~$1,200 - $2,000+

*The app design price is calculated using the average service rate of $50 per hour, which is commonly found in Eastern Europe.

Consider Celadonsoft, Your Trusted Partner

At Celadonsoft, our team of mobile app specialists brings a wealth of experience in product design. We take pride in delivering high-quality solutions that meet our client's needs and provide value to their businesses. Here are some notable cases showcasing the expertise of our designers:

Our recent project involved developing comprehensive school management software that streamlines educational processes. Through meticulous mapping, wireframing, prototyping, and custom visual design, we created a scalable and modern app. Our approach incorporated smooth graphics, animations, and intuitive color schemes. Unlike traditional interfaces that resemble outdated Excel documents, our solution offers an airy, user-friendly, and easily manageable experience.

As part of our workflow, we have developed a unique design system that enables us to create scalable and adaptable solutions. This design system empowers us to tackle non-standard challenges and cater to the specific needs of educational institutions.

Our team deeply understands UI/UX best practices and leverages them effectively in your app's concept. We prioritize delivering intuitive and delightful designs that solve problems and resonate with your target audience.

We offer a complete range of customization services, from in-depth search analysis to mobile design for iOS and Android platforms. Our expertise covers the entire app development cycle.

By choosing Celadonsoft, you can expect revolutionary, user-oriented designs that align with your business goals. We meticulously analyze each case to ensure that every detail is thoughtfully placed to enhance the user experience.

Read also: How much does it cost to develop an app?


We invite you to visit our Cases section to learn more about our work and explore the projects we have successfully delivered over the past year. If you have any questions or require information about the estimated cost of your upcoming app development project, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to assist you in achieving your app design goals and driving your business forward.

Underlying

Areas of responsibility - brand and growth marketing. Strongly believes that software development is an art and marketing is not just about sales but about sharing your passion. Her educational background in the field of business and marketing allows her to create expert content and help others to grow and expand knowledge.

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F.A.Q.
01.
What are the fundamental facets that affect the expenses associated with app design?
Nik
Nik
Head of Sales

The cost of app design is not set in stone and can fluctuate based on various factors. Some key factors that influence app design costs include:

  • App Complexity: Developing a complex app with advanced functionalities and features results in higher costs compared to creating a simple app with basic features.
  • Platform Selection: The type of platform chosen for app development can greatly affect the cost. Making an app for iOS and Android requires more resources and effort, leading to a higher overall cost.
  • Designers' and Developers' Location: It's crucial to factor in the geographic location of app designers and developers when searching for them. Due to unique cost structures and labor rates, rates differ according to the region or country they are situated in.

Assessing these factors and considering your specific app requirements is vital to determine the appropriate budget for your app design project. Understanding the complexity, platforms, and location-related aspects enables you to make informed decisions regarding app design costs.

 

02.
What are the main steps involved in designing a mobile app?
Dasha
Dasha
UX/UI Designer

Designing a mobile app is a process that entails several key steps. The main steps involved in designing a mobile app are as follows:

  • Research: This initial step involves gathering information and researching to understand the target audience, their goals, and how the app can effectively help them achieve those goals. It helps establish a solid foundation for the design process.
  • UX Design: User Experience (UX) design focuses on creating a seamless and intuitive user journey. It includes mapping out user flows, creating user flow diagrams, and wireframing to visualize the app's structure and functionality.
  • UI Design: UI design pertains to the app's visual components. It involves designing the app's interface, selecting colors and typography, and creating visual elements such as icons and logos. The aim is to create an aesthetically pleasing and engaging user interface.
  • Testing: Testing is crucial to ensure the app meets usability standards and delivers a positive user experience. It involves conducting usability tests, A/B testing, and gathering user feedback. This feedback helps identify usability issues or improvement areas, leading to iterative design changes.

By following these steps, designers can create a mobile app that not only meets the functional requirements but also provides a delightful user experience. It is important to iterate and refine the design based on user feedback to ensure continuous improvement and user satisfaction.

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