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Arslan Tayliyev
Arslan Tayliyev

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How much does it cost to design app?

So you want to know the cost of app design to make your business digital? Many company owners tend to underestimate the app design price because they usually see only the end product that looks good and works well but don’t know the long meticulous process that stands behind every greatly-designed app. We’ll try to cover all mobile app design steps and stages so that you could estimate the essential budget for your future application.

The cost of designing an app varies depending on the complexity of your app, the type of the performer that you hire and even the country the designers' team is from. An Indian freelancer’s pricing can be ten times lower than a Canadian outsourcing company’s, so here everyone has to choose the right balance between the cost and quality. The pricing list issue will be covered further in this article and now let’s find out what’s included in the mobile app design cost.

What goes into app design cost?

People think that design is pictures, colors, and overall looks, but it’s more about how the app works and creating a seamless flow that solves certain problems for a customer. If you design an app from scratch or redesign an existing one, keep in mind that app design is about problem-solving and not only about the looks.

Blindly copy-pasting everything that competitors are doing is a poor strategy. Even the leaders of the industry have some ineffective features and you need to ferret out which ones are they to avoid including the features to your app and change them to a problem-solving solution that will attract more users to your app. This leads us to the first stage of the app design process - conducting research.

Analysis of competition and user research

Effective research in app design includes 3 main objects: competitors, market trends and potential users. Competitor’s research doesn’t come down to thoughtless copying of features. We analyze their strong sides and weaknesses, problem-solving and useless features. It helps us to find the most effective tools that will make your users’ life easier. Market trends research allows to find the best designing solutions for a certain audience and make user experience in your app pleasurable.

The research of people’s behavior, wants and needs is also important. We investigate user studies and interviews, arrange own questionnaires and conduct an A/B testing. The end-user should be a top priority both for the client and for the designers and the main purpose of the research is to find out more about the preferences of the user. Research takes from 15 to 50 hours depending on the app’s niche. This stage creates a solid ground for your future app and allows to create a well-designed prototype.


This app design stage is called user experience or UX. Now when we collected all the necessary information and charted the further path of the app, we start to build the most logical and user-friendly way to embody all the conceived features. Prototyping significantly lowers the risks of misunderstanding and exceeding budget during the next app design stages because the whole team, from business analytics to developers and designers, works on the prototype together with the client until they find the solution that satisfies all members of the team.

App prototype is a great way to validate the data received from the research by conducting usability testing and collecting users’ feedback. Prototyping might have several iterations and then you get a skeleton of your future app that explains how all the elements and interfaces work together to make sure the application-to-be works effectively and easily. This stage usually takes from 40 to 80 hours.

Visual design

User interface (UI) is visual communication in the app. UI designers care to make an app delightful to view and simple to read. The visual design stage is about the look and feel of the product. Designers find color schemes, fonts, layouts of elements and create logos, icons, custom motions and animations that serve the goal of the app and look great. The research stage comes in handy here as designers implement market trends.

At first glance, the way a menu slides seems irrelevant for a client, but such small things influence a user’s overall impression about the app. The user interface creation is the final stage of mobile app design process. The estimated time for visual design development is from 80 to 300+ hours.

How much does it cost to design an app in different countries?

Now you know the components of the app design process and we can answer the question “How much does it cost to design an app?”. The factors that influence the pricing are the complexity of the app, the number of platforms it’s being designed for, the designer’s experience and the location of the designer’s team. Let’s find out how geography influences the app design’s worth.

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It’s not surprising that US and European companies hire Ukrainian teams for mobile app design: they offer a great quality of a product comparing to Indian designers but charge much less than their American and European colleagues. Ukrainian outsourcing IT companies provide the best price/quality ratio which makes them the best choice both of startups with a limited budget and for big companies that value their money.

Sometimes entrepreneurs on a tight budget want to save on designers and hire a single freelancer who offers both programming and designing skills to build an app completely. But this strategy usually fails as one person can hardly be a professional in both areas. If you want your app to be solid, effective and attractive, don’t try to save on performer. Remember: the greedy pays twice.

App design cost by project complexity

No matter which team you prefer geographically, each of them will tell you that the cost of designing an app depends on its complexity. The number of platforms, servers, API integrations, unique screens - all those things influence the app complexity level and therefore the mobile app development time. A mobile app could be built for iOS or Android, or both. Each platform has different requirements, so the iOS and Android apps have to be developed separately and it obviously doubles designers’ working hours.

Sometimes Android app design costs are higher because this platform has a broad range of devices with their own technical peculiarities and it takes more time and effort to create an app that’s suitable for most of them.

App cost examples

We can divide apps by their complexity into 3 categories: simple, medium and complex.

Simple app: cost of an app like Tinder

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Medium complexity app: cost of an app like Whatsapp

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Complex app: cost of an app like Airbnb

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Wrapping up

The “How much” question is hard to answer when it goes about app design. The price depends on numerous things and it’s not easy to estimate it properly. However, we hope that the information about the stages of mobile app design, hourly rates of professionals in different countries and levels of app complexity gave you the basic understanding about the worth of design for your app.

If you want to know precise numbers, feel free to contact our managers and get a detailed estimate of your project.

Top comments (1)

karfagen profile image
Sofiia Shevchuk • Edited

The cost of app design is highly dependent on the type of app. If you need UI/UX app design close to Uber's and your designer charges $50 per hour x 246h (max design time) = $12,300 (UI/UX design of iOS and Android apps). You can read more at Cleveroad.