New Version

Concepts 3.2: Brand New Experience

2015-04-29T16:00:00+02:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

Brand New UI

The beautiful thing about design is that it's always evolving. Today we take another step forward with an overhaul of the drawing interface. We aim for simplicity and function, together, in a way that feels natural and subdued so you can focus and accomplish more. It's a step in our larger goal to replace clunky desktop software with intuitive mobile goodness. We're on the right track.

The first thing we did was throw out the Pen configuration screen. We upped the favorite tool count to five, added fully adjustable brush sizes, and got rid of the extra Precision Mode and Adjust menus. We hope it will feel so natural you won't notice it at all.

The COPIC color wheel deserves some attention — it now appears in the context of your drawing in all its bright shiny glory.

Big thanks to Nic Squirrell for the illustration!

There's a new contextual settings menu we dubbed the HUD (Heads Up Display) that carries the settings you want close but out of the way. Swipe right to hide.

You can check out the App Preview here:

Other New Features

If you hand off your iPad a lot, you'll be excited about View Only Mode, which can be enabled / disabled by tapping your active pen tool (toggling it off).

The Gallery got a few tiny updates. We now display the creation and modified dates (tap to toggle), and we also show the author (you, presumably), and the location a drawing was created in. Tap either to override them with something custom -- useful for recording a job site or event for later reference. To enable automatic location recording, tap the crosshairs when editing.

Custom Background Colors can be set in the Settings panel under Paper Type.

Custom Brush Sizes! We mentioned it already, but think it deserves a bit more time in the light. Tap-and-hold the size button to set a custom entry, or just drag it to use the quick slider.

Selection is faster and easier to use. Now when you tap-and-hold near multiple items, your options are more clearly defined by the tool and color they were created with. And there's a dedicated selection tool if you want it, put it in one of the 5 slots for tools and when activated there's no more tap-and-hold.

Bug Fixes! Big thanks to Adobe for patching up the PSD exports. The Wacom Stylus SDK has also been updated for reliability. And many many other improvements thanks to your feedback and our awesome Beta testing team. Oh and we got rid of yards...who needs them, apparently you don't, so we don't either.

Ponoko: The World’s Easiest Making System

We're project people. We love making stuff. So we teamed up with Ponoko: the World’s Easiest Making System to make laser cutting things faster than ever. Look in the Settings→Paper Size menu to use Ponoko's ready-made laser templates, choose the Wire pen at the lowest size, and export your drawing to SVG. Ponoko gives instant, free quotes when you upload your drawing (usually just a few dollars for small parts), and those beautiful custom laser-cut parts will be with you in days. Ahhh, technology. Let us know what you build!

See the full guide here.

Better Help

Speaking of guides, we improved our step-by-step training, rewrote the Manual and made a PDF version, and updated our in-app chat service so you can send screenshots. If you have a question, ask away! Coming soon: more videos and step-by-step guides.

Not bad for a tiny, bootstrapped team, huh? It would really help us out if you left a nice review in the App Store. It helps new people find us, and gives us moral support, too!

Load Comments

Designed to Make

Between Worlds

2015-03-10T22:49:00+02:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

Andres Amador designs brilliant, one-of-a-kind, temporary earthscapes on the beaches of San Francisco. We asked if he'd be willing to share some of his experiences designing the artwork that will be featured in an upcoming (and gorgeous) film and hardcover book with collaborator and photographer Jason Henthorne and award-winning director Brad Kremer. The project is called Between Worlds, and it is currently on Kickstarter.

Andres Amador Between Worlds

For this project I wanted what I made to feel harmonious with the location. I would have design potentials that I was working on, but applying them to a specific location was challenging. Not only were we often arriving at new beaches that I had never visited before, and whose shape and features I was not familiar with, but the beaches were shifting during the weeks of filming, so that even if we used the same beach, it would have changed in some way. During several trips we were hit with storms, which could radically alter the look of a beach. The upshot is that I was designing on the fly.

I would take a photo with my iPad from the photographer's vantage point and then draw directly on it, each layer a new possibility. These options I would share with Jason Henthorne (my photographer partner) and then go through a bit of refining. The sketches were essential for conveying to Jason my thoughts. By the end of the project we were able to talk a language of designs and shapes and themes and quickly arrive at what would work well in a location.

Between Worlds in Concepts

In this drawing, Jason chose this rock as the focal point, so it was the element I needed to work with. I tried many variations of the design and then went with a very simple approach. In general, this project got me to dramatically simplify. Part of that was matching the tenor of Jason's photography, part of it was to make legible my large scale work when Jason could often not get up very high.

The end result is a stunning film and book celebrating the power, serenity, and changing natures of the earth, sea and sky, and our temporary yet beautiful existence among them. Visit their Kickstarter project for more pictures and information, and get involved!

Load Comments

New Version

Merry Concepts 3.1 Update!

2014-12-18T09:00:00+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

Our holiday gift to you, a pretty package of intelligence to make your drawing process quicker and more accurate!

We call the first part Snap-to Sketching. Part of Precision Mode, it’s like “auto-complete” for your strokes. Its job is to get rid of “fat-fingeredness” by anticipating your intended start and end points, so that every stroke can connect as exactly as if you were using a pencil. It’s sweet and unobtrusive.

Concepts 3.1 Snap-to Sketching

Our Fluid Ink Engine is the best-in-class for responsiveness and accuracy, but if you're trying to be careful while drawing, your freehand strokes can look a bit wobbly. So we've created a nifty new Smoothing slider to help polish up your lines. Tap-and-hold to grab a stroke or two, then choose after-the-fact how you want each line to appear.

Concepts 3.1 Smoothing Adjustments

You can see both of them at work in our first official training video! Since everyone works through ideas a bit differently, we're showing you four different ways you can approach one little sketch.

Try them out for yourself and let us know what you think! As always, our updates are about your ideas, and the truly magnificent things they can accomplish.

Happy holidays from the Concepts Team!

P.S. We’ve been busy… these are not our only updates. See the App Store "What's New" text for more details.

Load Comments

Designed to Make

Kickstarter Love: Carvey the 3D Carver

2014-10-24T16:30:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

You can't always get by with a rusty hammer. Good tools are a Maker's dream, and we've found one that places the myth of creating straight into your hands... or your desk. Take a look at this new Kickstarter campaign, a 3-axis CNC mill (or 3D carver) called the Carvey.

The beautiful thing: you can pair Concepts with your Carvey. Since Concepts allows you to draw to specific measurements and save it as a CAD or SVG file, you can design your dream in Concepts and pair it with the 3D carver to make your final product. We still love the hammer, but imagine how simple it's becoming to make the future.

Back the Carvey on Kickstarter and get to Making.

Load Comments

New Version

Concepts 3.0: Precision, Flexibility, Adobe

2014-10-06T00:00:00+00:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

We are excited to announce the release of Concepts: Smarter Sketching 3.0! Listening to your feedback, we’ve rebuilt the experience around what you’ve loved and asked for, adding some incredible new features, interactions and feelings. Here's a little app preview we put together:

Taking its cues from game design, the Toolbar is now an extension of your brain, providing fluid access to your favorite tools, colors, and contextual options.

Concepts 3.0 Toolbar

The list of strokes was overwhelming. We heard you, and distilled Strokes into Layers. Way simpler, way more powerful. Still unlimited.

Concepts 3.0 Layers

Manipulate by touch - just tap-and-hold to select any stroke. Tap-hold-drag to select a group which you can adjust, link, and filter. For truly visual thinking.

Concepts 3.0 Selection

Precision Tools are now easier to access, easier to control (if that's possible!), and easier to visualize.

Concepts 3.0 Precision Tools

Measurement works with Precision Mode and Adjust to enable accurate creation and representation at any scale. When you're done, export directly to AutoCAD's DXF format. That means that for the first time ever, you can hand-sketch a CAD drawing!

Concepts 3.0 CAD Drawing

As a launch partner for the new Adobe Creative Cloud SDK, we had the opportunity to work closely with their team to bring some (more) incredibly useful features to Concepts. In a nutshell, you can now import AND export layered PSDs and other files through your Creative Cloud account. The productivity gain is huge if you work with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, and we're very greatful (and flattered) that Adobe selected us for this rare opportunity. (requires a free Adobe CC account)

Concepts 3.0 PSD Import

Stylus support has been extended to Adobe Ink, Adonit Jot Touch + Pixelpoint, the Wacom Finepoint, and the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2.

Concepts 3.0 New Stylus Support

Shiny new interfaces for exporting and tool+color preferences. Use the full power of COPIC Marker's gorgeous color wheel, as it was designed.

Concepts 3.0 COPIC Color Wheel

The gallery now offers a brighter, smarter look at your stacks and drawings.

Concepts 3.0 PSD Import

Help and Training have always been a tricky experience to get right. We think we've made some leaps forward this release in the form of a guided walkthrough and contextual tips, and would love your feedback as we develop more walkthroughs to help you get the most from our powerful toolset. Once you've tried it, tell us what you think!

Concepts 3.0 PSD Import

We're working hard to make sure the Concepts experience fits the way you work. Thank you for the feedback and keep it coming!

We'd love to see how you use Concepts. Email with your sketch, a brief bio, and a paragraph showing how you use Concepts. If selected, we will showcase your work on our website and tweet about you!

Happy Creating!

The Concepts Team

Load Comments

Sneak Peek

Concepts 3.0 Sneak Peek 2

2014-09-19T18:30:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

Looking for a reason to keep using your iPad? Concepts is embracing the iPad’s true potential by creating the ultimate visual thinking tool. It’s so useful that we think of it as an extra limb.

Remember all that talk about Measurement and DXF (CAD) Export? It’s coming really, really soon. That’s not all that’s coming, though — we’d like to share a couple of the (more than 200) improvements we’ve readied for version 3.0, hand-crafted from your feedback.

Simplification. The Strokes panel was a great idea but got complicated fast. So we split it into two very powerful pieces: Selection and Layers.

Selection is now a simple touch-hold-and-drag. Select any stroke, or a whole group of strokes, and move, rotate, shrink, grow, or toss at your whim. Here it is in action:

Concepts 3.0 Selection

While Selection gives you fine-tuned control of your strokes, Layers gives you infinite control over your larger elements.

Concepts 3.0 Layers

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We can’t wait to get it out to you. Thank you for being so patient and supportive as we build the design and visual thinking tool you’ve always dreamed of.

Load Comments

Going Places

MakerFaire Bay Area 2014

2014-05-19T09:01:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

Concepts had a great time at MakerFaire this weekend! We met literally thousands of talented and passionate people, and we’re so grateful to have been a part of the “Largest Show-and-Tell on Earth”!

We showed up with two intentions: 1) Teach people about design sketching, and 2) show off our latest innovations for digital, mobile sketching.

I think we actually learned more about sketching than we taught. Designers from Autodesk, Apple, IDEO, Facebook, Adobe, and many other top-tier organizations came by and gave us incredible feedback and validation.

Our four industrial designers - Claudine Zafra, Raymond Chen, Jarron Lisle, and Taylor Lane were absolutely invaluable. They sketched for 12 hours straight with both Concepts and COPIC Markers, produced amazing designs, tirelessly answered questions, taught the basics of design sketching to kids of all ages, and maintained such great attitudes that we didn’t want the weekend to end.

Ray Chen MakerFaire Concepts App

We took the opportunity to demo (over 1000 times!) our latest advancements (coming soon) to digital sketching. If you missed it, here’s a quick overview:

We started with a few usability improvements. You now have one-touch access to your favorite pens, colors, and precision tools. No more swiping.

Then we added Measurement. Every line you sketch is backed by Maths (as the Brits say), which you can see live, while you’re drawing and after-the-fact.

Claudine Zafra MakerFaire Concepts App

It didn’t seem right to show numbers without being able to edit them. So we made all the numbers editable, and anything you change will be applied to the stroke in real-time. Want a circle with a radius of 47? Done. Or maybe a line that’s exactly 200mm long? No problem. It’s like CAD, only more friendly.

But what good is CAD data without a CAD format? Concepts can now export in DXF, a standard CAD format created by Autodesk - makers of AutoCAD - and used in nearly every CAD program worth its salt.

What does this mean? You can now hand-sketch a CAD drawing, on your iPad. Design creatively, accurately, affordably, and mobile-y, then send your sketches in usable formats to your engineering team or straight to your laser/water/vinyl cutter and make something amazing.

It’s all part of our mission to Make Design Personal. Big thanks to MakerFaire, COPIC Marker, our incredible designers, and you for helping to make this happen!

Look for the new version soon!

Ben & David

Load Comments

New Version

Concepts 2.3: Infinite Freedom

2014-04-10T09:01:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

Weather notwithstanding, it’s springtime in the north, which brings the arrival of lots of new life. We’re proud to announce the hatching of over 100 new features, tweaks, and fixes that make your creative experience as free as the birds.

Concepts 2.3 Infinite Canvas Vector Export

Infinite Canvas. Our most requested feature. Why limit yourself to a single sheet of paper? Or even a stack? Your ideas, like your mind, can now roam free. Create mind-maps, draw scale buildings, cartography, roller coasters… we’re pretty sure you can design just about anything. We can’t wait to see what you do with it!

High-Res & Vector Export. Send your designs almost anywhere in 300dpi+ lossless PNG for great looking prints, or in vector-based standard SVG which gives you complete freedom over every single data point. Imagine sketching a quick part for a new machine or a t-shirt design, tweaking it with our Adjust tools, then sending it right to your local print / CNC shop for rapid prototyping. All from your iPad. It’s never been done, but you can be the first.

Instant Loading. Following our pattern of performance excellence and the most responsive ink for iPad, we’re happy to announce there’s no longer any waiting for your drawings to load. Now operating at the speed of thought.

Improved Instructions. We included some nice, big animations that make learning a lot easier. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a moving picture? Well… see what you think.

Free Stuff. You’ve probably already paid for brushes, paper types and other old purchases you won’t need now that you’re using Concepts. So in the spirit of Freedom, we’d like to give you all our pens, the pencil, airbrush, and marker tools for free. Same for our paper backgrounds and grid types. And for you existing Pro users, we hope you think free high-res and vector exports for your professional projects are a worthwhile upgrade. :)

Extras. AirPrint Support. Pin to Pinterest. Copy/Paste to Clipboard. Send Share Links. Major Battery Life Savings. New Lightweight Paper Type. Angle-Tool Angle Readouts. Zoom Steps. Canvas Rotation. Real-Scale Paper Size Guides (A4, 11x17, 1080p, etc).

We really hope you enjoy our updates. We have a lot more to give. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for sneak peeks, drawing tips, and other stories we love!

Update now in the App Store, and please add (or update) your review!

Load Comments

New Version

Concepts 2.2.1: HEX3 JaJa, Stroke Locking, Bug Fixes

2014-01-14T12:01:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

Thanks to all of your feedback, we've fixed a number of things.

  • Added HEX3 JaJa stylus support. The HEX3 JaJa is a precision stylus that uses high frequency sound waves rather than Bluetooth, which makes it compatible with all iPads - including the iPad 1. This wraps up integration of all top four pressure-sensitive styli.
  • Added a specific Background Image Layer that’s not affected by top-level eraser strokes. This will make tracing and overlays easier to work with.
  • Several fixes for the Adonit Jot Script stylus, including the zig-zag effect and general handwriting updates.
  • Improved touch handling for all of the stylus types.
  • If you leave the app while editing a drawing, that drawing will auto-load the next time you come back.
  • Switched the direction of the swipe in the Strokes menu (now left to right), and removed the requirement of tapping to select first.
  • Various stability improvements

Update now, and leave a review! You're going to love what's coming next!

Download Concepts for iPad

Load Comments

New Version

Concepts 2.2: Stylus Support, Movable Images, and More!

2013-12-18T12:01:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

We wanted to wrap up the year with a bow, and give it to you. Apparently bows don't come that big. So the next best thing was to cross off a few more items from your wish list.

  • Added support for the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus, the Adonit Jot series, and the Pogo Connect. It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to control the weight of your lines with pressure on a screen! If you don’t have one of these styli, consider spoiling yourself.

  • Now that the Strokes panel exists to organize your project and give fine-grained control over strokes and text, it's the perfect time to add support for Multiple (Movable) Images. Create artboards and collections, add silhouettes over sketches, dial down opacity and trace over the top, or leverage Stroke Groups to mask and manipulate to your heart’s content.
  • The Dot Grid, Graph Papers, and Isometric Grid now scale when you zoom so you don’t lose your reference while doing detail work. What's more, each grid has its very own Snap-To system!
  • Touch-and-hold any Stroke, Image, or Text to instantly select it. This is super powerful, as you can draw a stroke and then fine-tune it without leaving your creative flow.
  • Adjust your Opacity from the Tools menu!
  • We added pull tabs to the toolbar so it’s easier to grab.
  • Fixed a few crashes and usability issues. Thanks for the tips!

If you think we're doing a great job, please leave a Review on the App Store or on your own blog! You can look forward to more great features - coming soon!

Happy Holidays from Ben & David @ TopHatch!

Download Concepts for iPad

Load Comments



2013-12-18T12:01:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

The holidays are a magical time, filled with wonder and surprise. It's also a time of reflection. We tasted a bit of each this week as we were wrapping up our Holiday gifts to you - coming soon in the form of version 2.2.

What was our surprise?

Apple selected Concepts for Best of 2013, Smart Productivity in 12 countries!

We're incredibly honored, and humbled. Out of nearly half a million apps, Concepts made the cut.

It really has been an incredible year. It started with little more than a prototype, and has progressed through the feedback of thousands of incredibly talented, creative individuals who want a better way to create. Concepts is your tool for making Stuff. Real Stuff. Stuffed animals, stained-glass windows, blankets and costumes, houses and furniture and yachts, movie sequences and sculptures. It's breathtaking, what you're capable of.

Concepts is still rapidly evolving, and the next year will bring a level of intelligence and capability you've never seen in a mobile app. It'll inspire. It'll adapt. It'll magnify your creative ability. We can't wait to get it in your hands and see what you do with it.

Huge Thanks to Apple, and Huge Thanks to you!

See the full list of incredible apps at

Download Concepts for iPad

Load Comments

New Version

Concepts 2.1: Meet Strokes, the layer system that tampers with time.

2013-11-23T18:01:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

Layers have become liquid. Move and rotate, hide and reorder, copy and delete any stroke, at any time. Lengthen or shorten a line without changing its width... or change everything after its drawn, even pen type, color, and opacity. Strokes is as fluid as your thoughts.

Not only can you edit every stroke, you can edit multiple strokes at once. Since working with thousands of strokes can be intimidating, we intelligently create “Stroke Groups”. Move, edit, add or mask groups like they're layers.  Only they aren't, they're better.

Of course, we didn't stop there...

  • After your initial load of each drawing, drawing load time is cut by 50%! That's HUGE when you're trying to get something done.
  • Precision Mode can now be enabled/disabled with a simple two-finger tap. So you can get more from your workflow.
  • We added a really tiny delay to the handles of the Shape Guides, so you hopefully don’t move them by accident. If you do still manage to move them, undo now supports shape and guide changes.
  • We added a tiny instruction video to help out with Precision Mode. Because sometimes words don't do justice. Especially for us visual thinkers.
  • We fixed every known crash condition.

If you love these updates, please leave a review in the App Store.

Interested in what's coming next? How about another major impact to the way you create on your iPad? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for sneak peeks and more!

Load Comments

Designed to Make

Saint Louis Zoo Café

2013-11-12T20:08:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

They say a tool is only as good as what you create with it.
Here's a taste of what you can do with Concepts: Smarter Sketching.

Cafe Design and Illustration by Architect and Artist, Evan Ari Bronstein AIA, LEED GA.

Architect/Artist Evan Bronstein wrapped up this design for the Saint Louis Zoo just last week, which will appear in their signage announcing the closure of the café during the construction period.

One of the amazing things about the iPad is how much you can accomplish when you leverage the entire app ecosystem. Concepts makes it easy to interact with other apps, and lets you work the way you want to. In this design, Evan used Concepts for the line work, then leveraged the new transparent background option and "Open In..." dialog to add color and finishing touches with Procreate, another world-class app. The entire design was done on the iPad.

What's your latest project? Let us know at

UPDATE! The zoo has put the sign up!

Download Concepts for iPad

Load Comments

New Version

Concepts 2.0 - Stacks, Snap-To, New Look, & More

2013-09-14T20:08:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

After an incredibly quick 24 hour review cycle from Apple (thanks!), we're proud to announce the arrival of Concepts 2.0.

iOS7 sports a brand new look, so we’ve taken the opportunity to craft our own with cleaner lines, brighter colors, and more drawing space. Interactions are the same, but we've tweaked the menus a bit - try swiping the toolbar buttons to expose new menus for file options, erasing, precision mode, etc.

The number one requested feature - Snap-To Layout - is here! Integrated into Precision Mode, Snap-To works with Shape Guides, Reference Guides, and Text Labels. It’s clean, instant, and free!

Organize your sketches into Stacks! Touch and hold any sketch to pick it up and drop it where you like - with full multi-touch support. Swipe up and down to flip through your sketches. Rearrange your stacks with two fingers.

Precision Shape Guides have become even better with the addition of Move, Scale, and Rotate. Now reuse the same shape over and over by dragging it into place, or simply scale and rotate with standard pinch/spread gestures.

We've also included the oft-requested Straight Line tool that stretches from edge to edge - perfect for perspective, construction lines, etc.

We've added two more paper types - Transparent and Isometric. Use Transparent for exporting to other apps, or Isometric for piping design, exploded views, product sketches, and more.

The full release notes are available in the iTunes store.

Download Now, and tell us how we're doing!

Load Comments

Sneak Peek

Who's excited for iOS7?

2013-09-11T20:08:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

We certainly are! We've crafted a whole new look, made drawing 47% faster, and added a few really big features you've asked us for since day one.

Version 2.0, coming soon!

Load Comments

New Version

Introducing COPIC Colors

2013-07-19T20:08:57+03:00 | Loading Comments | Permalink

You asked, and we delivered! Concepts 1.6 has been upgraded from 28 colors to the 358 incredible, hand-selected colors of the COPIC Color Palette, the makers of "the markers created for creative people". Concepts 1.6 is available now in the App Store, free.

COPIC Markers are used world-wide for their special blending capabilities. The alcohol-based ink layers naturally and beautifully. Technical and creative professionals use them for architecture, auto design, education, fashion design, manga, and lots more. We are privileged to be able to offer their colors in a digital format, just for you!

But what's a great color palette without great tools? We're also proud to show off two new tools that help you colorize your creations, the Airbrush and Marker tools. Like all our tools, they are hyper-realistic, ultra-responsive, and scale with clarity (the airbrush really shows it off - you can actually see the individual specks of paint!). Included in the Pro Pack.

Not to be overlooked, we also added the ability to create your own custom colors, build a favorites list, and get instant color recommendations based on pure color math. Also, a free dotted line tool to add that professional touch.

Concepts 1.6 also includes one of the highest requested items we've had - the Text Layer. Activated like any other tool, it allows you to drop labels anywhere you like, then fully manipulate them. Move, scale, rotate, color, or delete to your heart's content. The Text Layer is also included in the Pro Pack.

Rounding out the updates are a large number of tweaks and bug fixes, but we thought we'd highlight a couple:

• Open In dialog - New easy access to Dropbox and Evernote! Quickly send your drawing to any app that supports .JPG files.
• Overall more responsive app -- notice immediate differences in the gallery, and while saving your drawings.

Thanks for all the incredible reviews! They really help us make Concepts better with each new release, and help others discover us as well! Keep them coming - even if you have already reviewed us before!

One last thing - follow us on Facebook or Twitter for sneak peeks, invites for beta testing, and drawing tips by industry professionals! Coming this week - Warm-Up Techniques!

Get it here!

COPIC is the trademark of Too Corporation

Load Comments