Adobe Ideas: A Creative Notebook for Your iPhone

Steve Jobs and Apple (s aapl) may be dead set against allowing Adobe’s (s adbe) Flash technology on the iPhone, but that doesn’t mean Adobe isn’t still interested in pursuing opportunities on the platform. The company already introduced a great little iPhone image editing tool in the app, and now Adobe Ideas delivers even more creative goodness to the device.
Adobe Ideas is a brand new free iPhone and iPad app, one that’s intended as a general purpose creative notebook, integrating sketches, images and a pretty amazing color scheming tool that can use either photos taken from the iPhone’s camera or any images in your library as its source.

User Interface

I wanted to start off by saying that this app has one of the best UIs I’ve ever come across in an iPhone app. And, surprisingly, it manages to achieve this using an interface that doesn’t feel very “Apple.”
Flat buttons and sliding menus make everything about this app feel smooth as butter and oh-so-responsive. I found myself eager to create new ideas, organize them, and then delete them just for the pleasure of interacting with the app’s various menus and buttons. Other developers should take note; doing something original like Adobe’s done here can pay off hugely in terms of differentiating your application from thousands of copy-cats.


Enough crowing about how great the interface is. Just how usable is the app in actual real-world situations? Well, it’s honestly not really much more than an embellished drawing app, but it’s great at that. It has changeable brush sizes and opacity, a color picker, and the ability to add photo layers underneath your existing drawings, or to draw on top of existing photos. It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles of some dedicated drawing apps, but you can export your work as PDF files via email, which is really all you should need on a mobile platform.
There’s also that color scheme generator, which graphic designers should go ga-ga for. It’s especially handy with the iPhone, since you can take a photo of literally anything you run across in your travels and the app will break it down to a five-color palette you can then use in print or web design. My only problem with this tool is that you can’t export the image, to be used with a color picker on your desktop, for example.
Bottom line: The Adobe Ideas app is free, it works for both iPhone and the iPad, and it’s a genuine pleasure to use. Grab it now if you do any kind of creative work.
Let us know what you think of Adobe Ideas in the comments.