Letterpress, Evernote, Procreate top Apple’s list of best-designed apps of 2013

As part of its role as a design-centric company and so it can continue to encourage the best practices of appmakers, Apple(s AAPL) on Monday evening announced the winners of its annual Apple Design Awards at WWDC 2013. The 11 winners come from the Mac, iPhone and iPad developer worlds, and the winners this year skewed heavily toward iPhone and iPad games and productivity apps.



One of the most recognizable names among the winners is the app that’s been doing flat design for iOS way longer than Apple: Letterpress. Loren Brichter — who we profiled last year — is one of the top developers/designers working on the iOS platform and he was rewarded by Apple (his former employer) for his word game that he engineered and designed all by himself.

Letterpress, which debuted last fall, was a good example where we first started to see how much more progressive Apple’s third-party app makers were in terms of design than Apple itself. That’s partially because of Apple’s one-year update cycle for the software, but also because of how comfortable Apple had gotten with iOS. (iOS 7, on the other hand, is a huge departure from the direction the company had been heading.)

Apple highlighted Letterpress’s “masterful asynchronous gameplay” and “its beautifully understated game interface, simple gestures, subtle animations, and restrained sound design.”

Also in the game category, Apple picked Badland, Ridiculous Fishing and Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders.

In productivity, Apple awarded Procreate for iPad, note-taking app Evernote (for iPhone, iPad and Mac) and Finish, a to-do list/task manager for the iPhone. The theme in all of these is that they look good and are easy to use, but that they also show off Apple’s own technologies. As the company said of Procreate, it “is a powerhouse of iOS technologies like ARC, Grand Central Dispatch, and OpenGL ES which deliver state-of-the-art performance and responsiveness, 64-bit precision, and smooth 60 fps rendering of canvas sizes up to 4K x 4K.”

To see the complete list of winners, check out Apple’s awards page. We’ll be highlighting the best of mobile and web design at our RoadMap conference in November in San Francisco. Tickets will go on sale later this Summer, and you can learn more about the event here.