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How much does it cost to design an app in 2023?

Artsem Lazarchuk
How much does it cost to design an app in 2023?

Let’s admit it, talks about expenses are among the most heated debate in the context of mobile app development, app design costs in particular. But with so many new trends and factors to consider, it can be difficult to know how much your next project will cost. 

In this post, we’d like to shed light on the topic of app design cost, discussing the key nuances that influence pricing. Plus, we’ll explain ways to estimate and, most importantly, reduce the cost of app design.

6 Factors that influence app design cost

Each app development company has its specific circumstances that can make expenses higher or lower. In this section, we’ll explain the top six factors you should figure out to precisely estimate your app design cost.

Mobile app design cost

1. Your current app design situation

The starting point of your development journey plays a pivotal role in determining the cost of app design. 

Scenario 1: You’re designing a completely new mobile app from scratch.

When you're starting from scratch, this often entails more extensive design work and investment upfront. You'll need to go through the entire path, from conceptualizing the app’s design during the discovery phase to defining user experience (UX) and a user interface (UI). Each stage demands careful research and execution, which involves additional effort and translates into higher app design costs.

Scenario 2: You’re planning a redesign of an existing mobile app.

In contrast, when you're considering a redesign of an existing mobile app, you may already have certain design assets and functionalities in place. Components such as brand identity, user flows, and some UI elements might be reusable or upgradable, potentially leading to cost savings.

However, app redesigns aren't always so straightforward. Everything depends on the reasons behind app redesign. Simple aesthetic enhancements may not incur dramatic expenses while modernizing the whole user journey can still involve some complex design work.

2. Specific industry

Mobile app design cost is often defined by the industry in which the app will operate in. Each domain, whether it's banking or gaming, comes with its own set of unique design standards.

When designing a banking app, you must prioritize security and create a clear user-friendly interface without distracting graphics so that users can easily handle sensitive financial transactions. On the other hand, inventing designs for entertainment (such as streaming app) or gaming apps shifts towards more captivating visuals and immersive animations.

Another non-obvious but important factor is competition in a particular industry. In highly competitive sectors like gaming, social media, or e-commerce, your mobile app design needs to be exceptional to stand out. This might involve innovative custom solutions to meet evolving user expectations and gain a competitive advantage.

“The cost of mobile app design can also be influenced by the nature and novelty of the industry or app type. If it's something radically new, designers will require significantly more time to study the field, understand how it operates, find solutions, and test them. For example, designing an e-commerce app is much straightforward because there are many established scenarios and examples.”

– Maria Krawchinskaya, Chief Design Officer and Partner at SolveIt

3. Complexity of features

The more features your mobile app will have, the higher app design cost you should expect. As a metaphor, let’s compare your app design to painting a Renaissance picture.

app design cost depending on app complexity

MVP / Simple mobile app

Think about building an MVP or a simple app as making a black-and-white sketch. It should be clear, minimalistic, and user-focused. Such design often excludes fancy details and prioritizes only essential features that are required for app launch and gathering user feedback. 

Designing an MVP is usually straightforward, but if the app has special requirements, it might require a more intricate and slightly pricier design. Nevertheless, it usually remains budget-friendly thanks to focusing on the essential features and screens.

MVP / Simple app design cost: $5,000 – $10,000

Medium-complexity mobile app

In painting terms, the design of a medium-complexity app can be compared to adding the first colorful layer on the canvas. Such apps include more features, advanced interactions, and a more polished design.

Medium-complexity app design cost: $15,000 – $20,000

Complex mobile app

Applying even “more layers of paint” is typical for a more complex app. It has a wider range of features, extensive third-party integrations, intricate animations, and a high degree of customization. In this case, app design costs skyrocket even higher.

Complex app design cost: $20,000+

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Artsem Lazarchuk
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