How Much Does It Cost to Design an App?

Relia Software

Relia Software

Quang Duc

Relia Software


The average cost to design an app ranges from $3,000 to $30,000, depending on the complexity, type of team, location, etc. Explore ways to minimize app design cost.

How much does it cost to design an app

Table of Contents

The functionality and "look good" features that go along with designing an app are very important. The design process takes a lot of work, planning, designing, and costing, in order that these apps work perfectly on our phones and computers. Important parts include the UX/UI designs, programming, user studies, graphics, logo and app designs, and more. These all require a lot of work and cost a lot of money. Let's explore mobile app design cost breakdown via this article.

>> Read more:

Average cost to design mobi;e apps. (Source: Internet)

The Average Cost to Design An App Based On Several Factors

App Design Cost Based On The Complexity 

The number of roles, the number of screens, the number of unique features, the usability, and the visual design of an app are all roughly proportional to the complexity of the product idea. In turn, these factors establish the company model's sustainability.

The less complex your business model and the problems you'll be solving, the less it will cost to create your app. The cost to create a mobile app often decreases as its simplicity increases.

Consider a few illustrations with conditional complexity:

Complexity Level

Average Cost







App Design Cost Based On The Type of Team

When estimating how much money will be needed for the design phase and software development, the complexity of the product concept is the most important aspect.

For this example, we will assume that 300 design hours are needed for a medium-sized app:

Type of Team

Average Cost

In-house Team


Local Design Agency


Outsourcing Agency




App Design Cost Based On The Location

The location of the team also plays a role in the total cost of application design. The average price of app design may be broken down by region using the table below.


Average Cost



The US


The UK


Western Europe


Eastern Europe


South Asia


Factors That Significantly Affect The Cost Of Mobile App Design

The Type of Design 

There are two types of mobile app designs for you to implement. Both of these mobile app design services will be offered at various mobile app design prices.

Type 1: Custom Design

Because of the nature of a mobile app's bespoke design, the UI and UX must be built from the ground up, rather than relying on off-the-shelf components.

Developing a custom app is likely to be more expensive than developing a native one. Despite being much more effective, it is also potentially dangerous.

Pros of Custom Design:

  • Uniqueness: The price of developing a mobile app can be managed while still being distinctive and original by making use of customizations. UX designers need to go outside the box to come up with memorable user experiences, but they can't lose sight of the fundamentals.

  • Branding: Your mobile app design and budget should reflect the values of your firm. Personalizing the design to reflect your business's identity can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Cons of Custom Design:

  • Total Expense: With this method, the question of how much it costs to design a mobile app has no universally applicable answer. The reason for this is the time, effort, and cost involved in creating a unique design. In addition, there is no restriction on either the type of design or the skill level of the designers you can employ.

  • Cost Per Designer: It is difficult to find a skilled designer who is both affordable and familiar with the subtleties of custom design.

Almost every phone app is custom-designed. If you do everything correctly and grasp the customer's perspectives, engagement levels, and pain concerns, a bespoke design will be revolutionary.

Type 2: Native Design

Mobile app design nativity requires platform-specific standards and element positioning. For instance, the iPhone always has the “Go Back” button in the upper left corner.

Mobile device systems like iOS, Android, and others have screen layout standards. Compared to custom design, native guidelines reduce application design expenses.

Pros of Native Design:

  • Platform-Specific Design: This lowers mobile app design costs. Platform specificity lets designers use all standard features without design or framework problems.

  • Easy Implementation: Native app designers use familiar systems. Less experimenting with a lower learning curve.

  • Faster Development: High-quality templates are available here. This speeds up creating everything from scratch. Additionally, mobile app design is cheaper.

Cons of Native Design:

  • Less Experimentation: Some designers think native mobile app design frameworks limit exploration. There is less of a propensity to break from the rules that take the joy out of design.

  • Few Design Options: Because native mobile apps must follow standards, features are limited. Button, scroller, and screen designs are restricted.

>> Read more: The Real Difference Between Native and Hybrid App Development

The Complexity of the App

The quantity of unique screens, blocks, and exclusive interaction features makes the app sophisticated in design. The following could be decomposed further:

Role Count

You must first determine the number of design project team responsibilities. More UI/UX designers are needed for innovative features.

A project of average complexity may require a project manager and specialists for:

  • Creating a user persona;

  • Sketching app wireframes;

  • Making app prototypes;

  • Creating user-friendly app interface;

  • Making adjustments following testing and audience feedback.

Number of Screens

Some basic screens and platforms are needed for your app. But you can use screens in other parts of the app. You can use:

  • Welcome screens;

  • Onboarding screens;

  • Login screens;

  • Screens showing next steps;

  • Screens containing icons and buttons;

  • Hamburger menu displays;

  • Other error displays and pages.

However, a software with several displays, especially animated ones, will likely cost more than average.

Number of Features

App design costs depend on:

  • App development platform (iOS, Android, cross-platform, etc.)

  • App and product types. Are you creating an MVP or a complete app with every detail?

  • Including advanced technology like AR, VR, AI, and ML.

  • Giving a certain user group distinct features.

Based on these criteria, you may estimate the hours needed.

>> You may be interested in: The Impacts Of No-Code AI On App Development

The Type of Collaborators

Applications are designed by who? Are you hiring a local agency, freelancers, in-house staff, or outsourcing? Because these developers’ hourly wages will vary.

In-House Team

In-house specialists are people who work in the company’s staff. This type of cooperation, like any other, has its pros and cons that we will consider below.

Pros of In-House Team:

  • It is easier to control all the activities of the internal team.

  • In-house employees are more involved in all processes. They better understand the product, values, culture, and brand philosophy.

  • The performance is high, as app developers devote all their efforts to one project.

Cons of In-House Team:

  • In-house employees can be limited to one project. Sometimes it can cause burnout.

  • Hiring an in-house team costs much more than an outsourced team or freelancers. 

  • If some employees get sick, you need to spend time or money on new hiring.

Local Design Agency

Recruiting a design agency involves recruiting a local design team. Let's examine the pros and cons of local app design agency costs.

Pros of Local Design Agency:

  • Your local team knows your market.

  • Communication will be better and updates will be faster.

  • You can participate in all team processes in person.

  • Local resources, brand concepts, and networking can help the team.

Cons of Local Design Agency:

  • Overall perceptions may be limited.

  • You can't change team members.

  • Location might increase costs.

  • Work varies in quality.


Hiring freelancers lets you pick specialists. Average design freelancing rates are $15–25 per hour. This method has pros and cons.

Pros of Freelancers:

  • Freelancers save money.

  • Instantly available.

  • Hiring them is simple.

  • They grasp your concepts immediately.

Cons of Freelancers:

  • Dependability and efficiency are poor with freelancers.

  • Freelancers are difficult to deal with.

  • They demand more complex management and likely rework.

  • You must find freelancers for different roles.

Outsourcing Agency

>> Read more: Top 10 countries for outsourcing software development 2023

By using an outsourcing service, businesses can hire a company that is physically based in a different nation.

Costs can be reduced while quality is maintained. Time requirements for providing feedback on all aspects of design are critical. This includes things like brainstorming, sketching, basic design, branding, meetings, quality assurance, and so on.

Pros of Outsourcing Agency:

  • You can hire top talent.

  • Your revenue may rise.

  • Resources and time are saved.

  • You can rethink your project.

Cons of Outsourcing Agency:

  • Time gap.

  • Cannot control the entire procedure.

  • Lack of transparency.

>>> Relia Software provides UI/UX services with a dedicated and experienced team <<<

Click here: UI/UX Design Agency | Web Design | Mobile App Design

How Does The Design Process Impact the Mobile App Design Cost?

There are three primary stages in the app design process: research, design, and coding.

Research Stage

In this stage, called "discovery," you learn more about the issue that needs fixing. Market analysis, user persona creation, user journey mapping, and competitor research all fall under this category.

Market Research

In-depth market research can assist find potential customers, learn about their wants and needs, and establish how much they're willing to pay for an app. With this data in hand, the app development process can be carried out in a manner that caters specifically to the needs of the target audience.

In addition, market research can reveal possible rivals, allowing enterprises to make certain that their offering is distinct and competitive.

User Persona

There are a variety of ways in which user personas might affect the design procedure. For instance, they might shed light on how people will interact with your product and which aspects they value the most. Use this data to make educated choices about features, organization, and user friendliness.

Potential app usability problems can also be uncovered with the aid of personas. A user who is a working mother may have trouble with an app since it demands too much manual input from the user. You may make an app that is easier to use and less likely to have bugs by creating user personas. Long story short, this could end up saving you both time and money.

Process Users Mapping

It's the method of drawing a picture to show how something works for people who use it. Correct application of user journey mapping has the potential to significantly affect pricing. A better user experience is the result of designers paying attention to how users interact with an app.

This, in turn, can result in more efficient app design and lower development costs. In addition to reducing expenses, user journey mapping can reveal sources of client defection. Therefore, user journey mapping is an effective method that should be taken into account during the app's design planning phase.

Competitor Analysis

Businesses may learn a lot about what customers like and don't like about competing apps by carefully analyzing them. You can use this data to make improvements to your app's usability and performance. In addition, by analyzing the competition, firms can learn where there may be openings in the market.

Design Stage

Interface and experience development are the primary focuses of the UX design process. Sketches, wireframes, prototypes, and user testing all fall under this category.


These are the first and most important step in the design process since they reveal important information about how consumers will engage with the app. Businesses can save both time and money by using sketches to test out several concepts for custom mobile app designs before diving headfirst into the development of a fully functional prototype.


After the sketches are finished, it's time to start working on the wireframes. Wireframes, an expanded form of the drawings, show where everything will go on each screen. This is an essential part of the design process since it ensures that everything is where it needs to be.

Wireframing is a useful tool for testing out new ideas for mobile app design and spotting issues at an early stage in the development process.


App mockups are created using a process called prototyping. Businesses can learn a lot more about how an app will function if a prototype is first developed. This not only speeds up the design process but also ensures a higher level of similarity between the original and the finished result.

User Testing

In order to make an app more user-friendly, user testing is conducted to get feedback from actual users. Businesses can improve the app's UX by monitoring user behavior to find out where changes are needed. As an added bonus, user testing can save a ton of time and money by revealing issues that were missed during the design phase.

Development Stage


The development of an app cannot be separated from the use of code. Create the functionality you need to get the outcomes you want! A mobile application would be nothing more than a collection of still photographs without the use of code.

With the right code, you can make any app dynamic and user-friendly. Additionally, it facilitates integration with third-party resources like databases and APIs.


With testing, you can see how real people use the app and learn where changes need to be made. In addition, testing might reveal any problems with the software that should be corrected before it is made public. When companies invest in extensive app testing, they increase the likelihood that customers will have a great experience and return frequently to use the app.

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The commercial success of an app can be guaranteed by thorough preparation and testing prior to release. The launch is also a good opportunity to find and correct any problems with the app before it is released to the public. The likelihood of users installing and utilizing the app improves.

Businesses can learn a lot more about how an app will function if a prototype is first developed. (Source: Internet)

How To Minimize The Cost of Designing A Mobile App?

There are a number of tactics that may be used to cut down on the price tag associated with creating an app. These methods improve the design process as a whole, allowing for maximum effectiveness without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction. Some proven strategies for reducing app design expenses are as follows.


An app's development costs can be reduced with careful planning. The design process can be streamlined, changes can be kept to a minimum, and unnecessary costs can be avoided by having a well defined project scope, clear objectives, and a precise design brief. Planning ahead and creating a detailed road map for the project will help you prevent design-related delays and extra expenses.

Prioritization of Features

App feature prioritization is essential for efficient cost management. Determine which features are absolutely necessary for the first release, and devote most of your time to designing those. By starting with a "minimum viable product" (MVP), you can deploy the app faster and better utilize your design resources. Costs associated with the design process can be mitigated by adding features incrementally based on user feedback and requirements.

Working with A Skilled Design Team

For efficient and low-priced app development, collaboration with a skilled design team is vital. You should evaluate prospective design teams based on their portfolios, levels of experience in your sector, and familiarity with your brand and its intended audience. Find qualified designers with experience by consulting reliable resources. Saving time and money during the design process is possible with good team communication and a unified vision for the final product.

Cross-Platform Design

When developing for many platforms, like iOS and Android, cross-platform design might be a cost-effective option. Developing a unified UI that is platform-agnostic can help you save both time and money. The time and money saved by not having to create unique designs for each platform is well worth the effort put into cross-platform design.


By verifying ideas and features before investing in a full design, creating a prototype can help keep costs down. It's easier and faster to make changes to a prototype after hearing from users. Iterative design helps find and fix problems before they become too expensive to fix later.

Using Freely Available Design Tools

Using free icons and typefaces, for example, from an open-source library can drastically cut down on design expenses. You can find these tools online and incorporate them into your app's design to save time and money compared to creating something from scratch. Make sure the resources you pick fit in with the style and licensing standards of your business.

Hiring An Offshore or Nearshore Team

App design costs can be cut in half by working with designers in another country. Hiring an offshore team regularly provide high-quality designs at affordable prices. If you want your design process to go smoothly and in the direction of your project goals when working with a remote team, then you need to have good communication and project management in place.

Using these methods, you can efficiently reduce app design costs without sacrificing app quality or features.

>> Read more:

Tips For Choosing The Suitable Design Partner

Check the portfolio: The portfolio of a potential app designer should be a primary consideration. But there are a few details to watch out for:

  • Beautiful design is subjective but less important than UX;

  • The team's industries worked with;

  • Watch how clear, comprehensive, and accurate the design process is.

See testimonials and social media: Read client reviews. Visit the site, Clutch, Linkedin, or other listings. Compare the team's strengths from consumers' statements to your expectations.

Interview: Finally, talking in person is the “strongest” way to decide if a team is good for you. Everyone is human. Finding a common language is key to successful teamwork.

To Sum Up

App design is inextricably linked to development. If you take design seriously and trust the specialists, you will increase brand awareness and consumer loyalty. All business owners must understand app development costs, not only app design costs. Hope this article is helpful for you!

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  • Designing an application