iOS design has never been more exciting than it is today. In 2022, we have so many free tools, resources and tutorials available at our fingertips. With the rise of work from home and the biggest startups embracing remote work, starting a career in tech means the ultimate flexibility. As someone who’s been in this industry for 22 years and who’s been creating content about design tools, I’m writing this guide to help you get started in the field of UI design as a complete beginner.
Before you start pushing pixels, you should have a sense of what you’re designing and quickly recognize the most common patterns on iOS. UI Design is less scary when you know how to categorize screens, how to name things and where to place UI elements in a way that it makes sense.
This is a skill that pretty much everyone with a phone is gaining on a daily basis, whether they’re conscious of it or not. Your brain starts to make patterns of where a menu should be or how to navigate back to the Home screen. Being a UI designer means that you’re consciously organizing that information. To help with that task, you can start collecting screenshots of your favorite apps or browse from thousands: Mobbin.design
Mobbin. lets you browse thousands of real apps by categories, UI patterns, elements and colors.
While it’s important to be realistic with your designs, it is no secret that most designers will gain far more attention by pushing new concepts. Dribbble is an excellent source of inspiration.
To learn a new craft, most people will tell you to read a book. While it’s a sure way to gain new knowledge, a vast majority will lack motivation to continue past a couple of pages. That’s why it’s important to have a game plan. Where should you start, in what order and what is the balance between reading and executing? Well, my suggestion is to start with colors and typography on the iOS Human Interface Guidelines, in that order. Don’t read more than what you can apply.
You can also get a more engaging overview by reading this one page covering the most important aspects of the iOS Design Guidelines.
Picking the right design tool is essential for starting as painlessly as possible. In 2022, Figma is easily the most sensible choice. It’s free without time limit, has the most vibrant community in-app for templates & plugins and is the most cross-platform supporting Windows, Mac and even the browser. You share your design with an URL and anyone in the world can view it. It’s so good that many designers nowadays are including Figma links in their resume/portfolio.
When you’re beginning, your job shouldn’t be to design everything from scratch. Your role is to put things together in a way that’s delightful and follow the vision of your app. This means starting from existing templates and assets. At the very least, you should get familiar with the iOS 15 UI Kit by Apple. It’s made for Sketch, but you can import it to Figma with a few issues.