How Much Does it Cost to Design an App? Your Budget Breakdown

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How much does it cost to design an app

The quality of a user experience (UX) determines whether a mobile app is good or bad. In the United States, the average user spends 5 hours on their mobile device each day. Most of that time is spent on apps and websites. Hence, the design of mobile apps requires a good amount of investment. 

You must be struggling with the question: how much does it cost to design an app? This seemingly simple question can have a complex answer. The app design cost can vary significantly depending on a multitude of factors, which we will discuss further in this blog.

On average, mobile app design costs range from $3,000 to $30,000 or more, depending on various factors. Typically, this investment accounts for 30% of the total cost of developing your mobile app.

Most mobile app designers charge hourly for their services. An hourly rate for mobile app design can range from $30 to $200. So, just as when consulting with a professional, you don’t pay for a finished product but rather for the time invested. Therefore, the longer it takes to design your app, the higher the cost.

Let’s take a closer look at the cost breakdown based on the various factors and features. 

Understanding the App Design Cost Factors: A Breakdown

The following factors contribute to the overall cost of designing a mobile app:

App Complexity

Your app’s complexity is the most significant cost driver. An app’s complexity is determined by the number of screens, specific blocks, and exclusive interactions in its features. 

Simple apps with basic features like to-do lists and note-taking will naturally cost less to design than apps with advanced features like real-time chat, geolocation, or augmented reality (AR). Based on complexity, here is a range of costs to consider:

Complexity Approx costApprox cost per hour 
Simple app design$1,000 – $4,000$20 – $40
Average app design$5,000 – $8,000$80 – $250
Complex app design $9,000 – $13,000$300 – $1000

Development Team Location

The location of your mobile app development team can significantly impact app design costs. Hiring developers in North America or Western Europe will generally be more expensive than outsourcing to regions like Asia.

Location  Average hourly rate (USD) Factors affecting cost 
United States (US) $100 – $170High living costs, skilled developer pool
United Kingdom (UK)$70 – $120High living costs, established tech industry 
Western Europe (Germany, France, etc.)$70 – $100Varied living costs, strong development talent
Eastern Europe (Poland, Ukraine, etc.)$40 – $80Lower living costs, growing development talent pool
Asia (India, China, etc.)$25 – $65Lowest development costs, diverse talent pool

Type of Collaboration 

Collaboration is another important factor that contributes to the overall cost of designing a mobile app. The type of collaboration model chosen for the project can significantly impact design expenses. Here’s how:

Freelancers vs In-house design teams vs Outsourcing
  • Freelancers

Freelancers provide flexibility and cost-effectiveness along with specialized expertise tailored to the needs of the project. However, managing multiple freelancers and ensuring quality control may require additional effort and can impact project timelines.

A freelancer can charge between $15 and $25 per hour. 

  • In-house design teams

An in-house team provides dedicated support, seamless communication, and alignment with the organization’s goals. However, building and maintaining an in-house team requires significant investments in recruitment, salaries, and infrastructure. Compared to other types of collaboration, this may be more expensive. 

In-house teams are resource- and cost-intensive, as they require additional work. The cost of hiring an in-house team is approximately $35,000

  • Outsourcing

You can outsource your mobile app designing task to agencies or studios for specialized expertise, scalability, and cost savings. To make sure that project requirements and quality standards are met, outsourcing partners need to be carefully selected and communicated.

The cost of hiring an outsourcing mobile app design company in India can start at $25 per hour.

Designer’s Expertise & Experience

The designers’ expertise and experience heavily influence mobile app design costs. It is more expensive to hire a mobile app designer with a strong imagination and years of experience. If you hire a newly graduated designer student to design your app, the price will be low, but the quality of the design will also be low.

Experienced app designers have a hidden benefit. Their ideas and years of experience are complemented by faster software skills, which means they can produce work more quickly than those who have just started.

Integration with Third-party Services

If you want to integrate your app with third-party services, it can significantly increase the cost of mobile app design. There are many applications that rely on third-party services for additional functions such as payment processing, social media integration, analytics, and cloud storage. 

While these services speed up development and enhance app functionality, they also increase development costs since developers must ensure seamless API integration.

Design and Customization Types

  • Custom designs

The app design cost will increase if you want a tailored design to meet your specific needs.

  • Pre-made templates

You can save money by using pre-made templates for your app design, but their uniqueness might be lacking.

  • Detail and interactivity

A design that includes animations and interacts with the user increases the cost of the design.

A tailored design requires greater investment in the creative domain because people remember personalized experiences better. 

Must read: 100+ Mobile App Ideas That Could Change The World

How Much Does It Cost To Design An App?: An Estimate

App design cost estimation

Calculating the cost of your mobile app design is like estimating the price of a custom car. This depends on the features, materials (in this case, design elements and functionalities), and overall complexity. However, an estimated figure can help you plan your budget. Although there are exceptions, the typical cost of mobile app design falls within the range of $2,000 to $25,000.

The wide range reflects the influence of numerous factors. Apps with intricate features and highly customized interfaces will naturally cost more to design than simpler apps with basic layouts. It also matters how many iterations your design goes through. Your mobile app redesign will cost more. 

You can keep your mobile app design within budget and deliver a high-quality user experience by understanding the factors at play and implementing cost-saving strategies like prioritizing core features, using design templates, and maintaining clear communication with your design team.

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How Can I Reduce the Cost of Mobile App Design?

There are several ways to effectively reduce the cost of a mobile app design project. 

  • Focus on MVP

First, focus on providing the essential features that users need rather than adding unnecessary features.

  • Phased development

Initially, release core features, then add more based on user feedback.

  • Design templates

Pre-built layouts save time and money, but customization may be limited.

  • Consistency in design

Having a consistent look reduces the number of design iterations and development time.

  • Consider outsourcing

Identify regions with lower design costs (like India) but place a high priority on effective communication.

  • Open-source tools

The use of free tools can reduce licensing costs, but they may require technical expertise.

  • Clear communication

Maintaining consistency will prevent misunderstandings and rework.

  • Prototype early

Before investing heavily in design, test core functionalities early to catch any usability issues.

  • Prioritize UX

Create a user-friendly app in order to reduce support needs and save money over time.

How to Choose the Right Mobile App Design Company?

  • Clearly define the project requirements and objectives, including the target audience and market.
  • Look at the service provider’s portfolio, industry experience, and references to determine their expertise and experience.
  • For effective collaboration, communication skills and workflow compatibility must be evaluated.
  • Make sure the design process and methodology are aligned with the project requirements.
  • Your budget should be based on value and quality rather than solely on cost.
  • Ensure cultural compatibility and work ethic alignment with your organization.
  • Ensure that legal and contractual aspects, including intellectual property rights and confidentiality, are clearly understood.
  • Consider project management capabilities and post-development support for a seamless experience.
  • Consolidate evaluation criteria and feedback to make an informed decision.

Why can OpenXcell be the Right Design Partner for You? 

Craft your dream app with OpenXcell as your design partner. Our team understands the importance of keeping mobile app design costs under control, offering competitive rates, and providing exceptional outcomes. Our proven experience in mobile app design services ensures we understand the needs of your target audience. 

OpenXcell prioritizes user-centered design, creating intuitive interfaces that keep users engaged. Our team is here to collaborate with you and bring your vision to life throughout the process. Build for tomorrow, not just for today. As your app grows, OpenXcell can provide ongoing maintenance and updates.

Ready to see if we are the perfect fit? Check out our portfolio to see past projects that align with your style and inquire about our design process. By doing your research, you can confidently choose OpenXcell to design a user-friendly and successful mobile app.

Conclusion 

The cost of designing a mobile application is difficult to estimate, but we hope this blog has provided some insight into your question: how much does it cost to design an app? If you’re considering designing your own app, you should budget between $2000 and $25,000. However, the final app design cost depends on the complexity, features, and development path of your app.

The key takeaway? You should balance functionality, affordability, and the value your app offers to users. With the right design partner, you can design a high-quality mobile app that stays within budget and drives your business forward by prioritizing core features. So, don’t let cost concerns hold you back. Let’s make your app idea a reality; contact us today!

Connect to outsource mobile app design

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to design a mobile app?

The mobile app design cost depends on various factors. Based on the complexity of your project, mobile app design typically costs between $2,000 and $25,000. A mobile app with intricate features and a highly customized interface can cost more. Let us know your app design requirements so we can provide you with a quote. 

How can I reduce the cost of designing a mobile app?

There are several strategies you can use to stay within your budget. Some effective methods include prioritizing core features (MVP – Minimum Viable Product), leveraging prebuilt design templates, and outsourcing mobile app design to regions with potentially lower development costs. In the long run, you can also save money by maintaining clear communication with your design partner throughout the entire process.

Should I allocate a separate budget for app development after the design phase? 

Typically, development costs are separate from design costs. If you are planning your overall mobile app budget, you should also take development costs into consideration.

What are the advantages of outsourcing mobile app design?

Outsourcing mobile app design allows you to tap into a wider talent pool and potentially find design partners with competitive rates. However, thorough research and clear communication are crucial to ensure quality results.

How long does it take to design a mobile app?

It depends on the complexity of the app but can range anywhere from a few weeks for simpler apps to several months for more complicated ones.

What is more important, aesthetics or UX?

It is important to prioritize UX over visual appeal when developing an app. The use of a good UX that emphasizes usability can minimize the need for extensive design iterations and reduce long-term support costs. Your app’s users will stay longer if they find it easy and enjoyable to use.

How can I find the right mobile app design partner?

The ideal design partner should have a proven track record in your industry and a design process aligned with your requirements. Review their portfolio to see if their past projects resonate with your app’s style and target audience. 

Also, check how they communicate, deliver projects on time, and stay within budget by reading clients’ testimonials. Finally, ask if they can scale with your app’s growth – will they be able to support ongoing maintenance and updates?

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Niha Parmanandani
AUTHOR

A dynamic content writer with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism, she specializes in writing for web and social media.  It is her passion to play with words and keep up with technology trends. Her passion for reading drives her to create engaging, educational, and inspiring content.

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