How much does it cost to design an app?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to design an app?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to design an app?

$3,000 – $7,00average cost to design a simple app
$7,000 – $15,000average cost to design a medium-complexity app
$15,000 – $30,000+average cost to design a complex app

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$3,000 – $7,00 average cost to design a simple app

$7,000 – $15,000 average cost to design a medium-complexity app

$15,000 – $30,000+ average cost to design a complex app


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Kristen Cramer
Written by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

Mobile app design cost

App design costs $3,000 to $30,000+, depending on the features, complexity, and customization. The cost to design a mobile app with average complexity is $7,000 to $15,000, including user research, UX and UI design, and testing. App designers charge $10 to $200 per hour, depending on location.

Cost to design an app
Complexity Average cost Number of hours Includes
Simple app design $3,000 – $7,000 40 – 150
  • Basic design style
  • Standard elements and layout
  • Limited number of screens
  • Single-platform support
Average app design $7,000 – $15,000 150 – 500
  • Several screens
  • Some custom visual elements, illustrations, and animations
  • More features and functions
  • Single-platform support
Complex app design $15,000 – $30,000+ 500 – 700+
  • Completely custom visual elements and animations
  • Many screens
  • Many features and user roles
  • Many functions under one brand umbrella
  • Cross-platform support

Mobile app designers create the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), including the app’s layout, navigation, text, and visual elements like buttons, icons, illustrations, and animations.

App design is only one part of the development process. App development costs $50,000 to $175,000 and includes research, planning, design, coding and programming, testing, deployment, and ongoing maintenance.

An app design team planning a mobile app's layout and style.
An app design team planning a mobile app's layout and style.

How much do app designers charge?

App designer rates by location

App designers charge $10 to $200 per hour, depending on location. Developers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia charge the most, while rates in Southeast Asia, India, and Eastern Europe are the lowest.

App designer rates by location
Location Hourly rate
United States (USA) / Canada $100 – $200
United Kingdom (UK) $70 – $130
Australia $100 – $150
Western Europe $50 – $100
Eastern Europe $25 – $70
Southeast Asia $10 – $40
India $25 – $50

App designer costs by team type

App designer costs by team type
Team type Pros Cons
In-house team
  • Understands the company’s product, values, & culture
  • Easier to control the team’s activities
  • Developers can devote all their efforts to one project.
  • Costs more
  • Limiting in-house employees to one project may cause burnout.
  • If employees get sick or leave mid-project, app design may be delayed.
Local design agency
  • Understands your market and local culture
  • Better communication and faster updates
  • You can meet the team in person and participate directly in the design process.
  • Costs may be higher, depending on the location.
  • You can’t change the team personnel.
  • Work quality may vary.
Outsourcing agency
  • Costs less but potentially offers the same quality
  • Access to top talent for lower rates
  • May save time and resources
  • Gives you a fresh perspective on your project
  • Time zone difference
  • You can’t control the entire process.
  • International developers may not understand your market as well as local pros.
Freelancers
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy to hire
  • Readily available
  • Can pick up your ideas quickly
  • Not as reliable or efficient
  • Require more active management
  • Unpredictable work quality
  • You may need to find separate freelancers for different roles, resulting in a team that has never worked together before.

Cost factors to design an app

App design cost factors
App design stage Average hours Average cost

Planning & research

User personas, competitor analysis, and market research

20 – 40 $950 – $1,200

User Experience (UX) design

Sketches, mind-mapping, wireframes, and prototypes

40 – 150 $1,950 – $4,400

User Interface (UI) / Visual design

Mood board, color scheme, illustrations, animations, branding, mockups

80 – 300 $3,900 – $8,800

Testing

Automated and live user tests with feedback

5 – 20 $200 – $600

The following factors affect the cost of app design:

  • Team location – App designer hourly rates are higher in the U.S., Canada, and Australia than in other parts of the world. Working with a team in Eastern Europe, India, or Southest Asia reduces design costs.

  • Technical complexity – An app with multiple features and functions like push notifications, payment processing, video streaming, or GPS navigation requires a larger design team and costs more than a simple app like a calculator or alarm clock.

  • Number of screens – A basic app with only two to three screens costs much less to design than an app with many screens.

  • Number of user roles – Designing an app with a single user role is less costly than an app with multiple user roles. For example, an app with customer, shop owner, and admin roles requires separate functions and screens for each role, increasing the design time and cost.

  • Mobile platforms supported – Native apps are designed exclusively for a single platform, while cross-platform or hybrid apps function on several platforms.

    • Native design costs more and takes longer when designing separately for both Android and iOS but allows more functionality, higher performance, and better store support.

    • Cross-platform apps are faster and cheaper to design but have less functionality, are less responsive, and can’t take advantage of native UX components.

  • Custom UI vs. native design

    • Native design follows platform-specific design guidelines and placement of visual elements, reducing development time because designers can use and premade design libraries and templates. Native design provides a familiar interface for users but may not have the same visual appeal as a custom UI.

    • A custom UI costs more and takes longer to design but provides a unique user experience. If an app is similar to other existing apps, adding custom visual elements and animations may set it apart and tempt customers over to the product.

  • Custom logo and branding – Custom logo design costs $300 to $1,500 on average.

  • Custom icons Graphic design costs $20 to $150 per hour, depending on the designer’s experience and location. Graphic designers charge $10 to $200+ per icon to design in-app icons and $200 to $1,000 to design the app’s launch icon.

  • Tablet support and screens size – Adding tablet support increases app design costs by 30% to 50%. Instead of simply scaling up the size of the mobile app, a tablet UI often requires a separate but similarly styled design.

  • Integration points – Integrating the app with third-party apps increases the design costs.

  • Matching websiteWebsite design costs $3,000 to $10,000 for a small business site or $10,000 to $40,000 for a larger custom site, depending on the features and complexity.

App design planning and user research

Planning and analysis are the first phase of app design and include:

  • Business objectives – Outlining the goals the app should achieve and the user needs it should meet

  • User research – Identifying the target audience, defining ideal app users, and creating user personas

  • Competitor analysis – Examining similar apps to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses

App UX design, wireframes, and prototyping

User experience (UX) refers to the interaction between the user and the app and how it makes the user feel. UX design addresses factors like the app’s user-friendliness, accessibility, and intuitiveness, the user’s journey through the app, and how easily users can accomplish their desired tasks.

The UX design phase includes:

  • Mind-mapping – Details the steps, information hierarchy, or user’s journey through the app to help stakeholders visualize how critical aspects of the app are interconnected

  • Sketching – Freehand drawings that outline the basic concept, typically created in black-and-white on paper or with simple design tools like Figma or Sketch

  • Wireframes / prototypes – Sketches that act as a skeleton for the design, showing the app’s layout, placement of essential elements, key information, user flow, and interactions.

App development and design in the wireframe stage.
App development and design in the wireframe stage.

Mobile app UI design

User interface (UI) refers to the app’s visual design and overall appearance. UI design incorporates colors, fonts, graphical elements, and visual cues to help the user interact smoothly with the app and solve problems. The UI design phase includes:

  • Mood board – A collection of relevant images, fonts, and other visual elements that acts as inspiration for the design, communicates the desired feel, and sets the artistic direction of the project

  • Color scheme – Incorporates color psychology to communicate the app’s purpose and evoke a specific feeling in the target audience.

  • Branding / logo – A custom logo and matching icon set that communicates the brand’s values

  • Illustrations and animations – Help to direct the user’s attention toward specific aspects of the screen, improve user understanding and engagement, and add an interactive quality to the app.

  • UI mockups – Finalized interface design options that stakeholders can preview, request revisions to, or approve.

Mobile design implementation and testing

App designers use automated testing tools and live user testing to ensure the app functions properly and meets expectations. Testing identifies potential flaws in the design, detects errors in the text or visual elements, and determines if the user interface provides a positive experience.

How long does it take to design an app?

Designing an app takes 3 to 12 weeks on average, depending on the features, complexity, and customization. Design is only one phase of the app development process.

Mobile app design vs. development costs

App development costs $50,000 to $175,000 on average. A typical mobile app development package includes:

  • Research and planning

  • Design

  • Coding and programming

  • Testing and implementation

  • Deployment to the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or both.

  • Ongoing maintenance, updates, and bug fixes

An app development team working on mobile app features.
An app development team working on mobile app features.

Getting estimates and hiring app designers

Before hiring an app designer, be sure to:

  • Check out their portfolio of previous projects. Examine not just the visual design but the user experience (UX) in the apps.

  • Visit the Google Play Store and Apple App Store to find out which companies designed your favorite apps.

  • Read their reviews on Thervo and Google.

  • Interview the team and discuss your vision for the app in more detail.

  • Get a detailed contract, timeline, and payment schedule in writing before the project begins.

  • Confirm who retains ownership of the final design.

Questions to ask

  • How many apps have you designed?

  • Have you worked on any apps similar to mine?

  • Can I see a portfolio of apps you’ve designed?

  • Can you provide references from previous clients?

  • How many people are on your team?

  • Will you handle the entire design yourself or outsource parts of the project?

  • Do you design native or cross-platform apps?

  • What type of prototypes will you provide?

  • Will you create custom illustrations, animations, and other visual elements for my app?

  • How long will the design project take?

  • How will you ensure my design is delivered on time?

  • How will we communicate during the design process?

  • Can you explain your fees and payment terms?

  • What is your hourly rate?

  • Who owns the design when it’s finished?