David Brittain: Designing iPad Apps

David Brittain: Designing iPad Apps North Star Podcast


David Brittain is the CEO of Concepts, my favorite iPad app. It’s marketed as a “flexible sketching” app and geared towards people in the early stages of the thinking process. I use it to visualize my ideas, many of which I share on Twitter and in long-form essays. People use the app for mind-maps, mood boards, sketch plans, designs, and illustrations. I particularly enjoy the screenshots of architects using the app to design buildings.

In this episode, David and I talked about the business, marketing, and engineering aspects of designing an app. David talked about Concepts’ position in the design world, and how it compares to ProCreate and Figma. He spoke about how changes to the App Store have influenced Concept’s download numbers and finally, he talked about why trust is particularly important in remote work as compared to in-person collaboration. I’m a fan-boy of the Internet because of how it enables apps like this to thrive. Concepts has been profitable for years. Whenever I pick up the app, I feel like I have a professional-grade design app for the cost of a latte every month. Please enjoy my conversation with David Brittain.

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Find David Online Online:

Concepts App

Concepts on Twitter

Other Links:

Paper by WeTransfer

Lewis Hamilton


Wikipedia App



2:20 – How the landscape of designing apps has and hasn’t changed drastically over the years.

4:19 – What and who David thinks about in his design process.

7:32 – How remote work management is different from in-person.

11:52 – The key to a well-functioning and efficient remote engineering team.

13:26 – How David spends his days at work as a CEO.

16:36 – What vector design is and their pros and cons in comparison to raster design.

21:20 – David’s view of the market, the design world, and his competition.

24:34 – How Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton has inspired David and what he could learn from Lewis about marketing.

27:37 – Why paid marketing is not something that David and his team have spent much time nor effort on.

32:08 – What David sees as the biggest pain-points from a user perspective of his app and the solutions they’ve tried.

35:46 – What makes a good beta tester or user to get feedback from, and David finds them.

37:47 – Why David doesn’t consider himself the right person for his position and why that has been an advantage for his company.

40:05 – The death of the computer mouse and why sketching and drawing aren’t going anywhere.

44:48 – How the Concepts team approached the development of their app on different platforms.

46:43 – The future of apps and why certain apps have taken off while others lag behind.

53:13 – How a feature moves from an idea into development and into the hands of the end-user.

56:54 – Why architects flocked to using Concepts when it came out and what makes it still popular today.

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