As a designer and an early iPad adopter, I have been a bit obsessive in my search for the perfect creative apps and tools for my tablet.

I found my favorite drawing app early on and have come closer to finding my ideal stylus, the Pencil by Paper by 53. But until recently, I hadn’t found an iPad app that allowed me to create layouts with professional-level fonts and font control.

Then along came Adobe Comp.

Adobe Comp is like having a design party in your pocket.

Comp allows users to mock up sophisticated layouts directly from the iPad. As an Adobe Cloud subscriber, I have access to over 100 delicious, real fonts from Typekit. Sliders allow me to control type tracking and leading on the fly. It’s a joy to see real fonts come to life, literally at my fingertips.

Of course you can import images from your iPad camera roll, but with a Cloud subscription, you can also access any image libraries you’ve created on your desktop, or the collection of free vector and photo resources through the Adobe Marketplace.

Let me pause for a moment.

Yes, this is an Adobe Cloud-centric experience, and to use the app to it’s fullest, you’ll need to be a Cloud subscriber. For any design professional, I consider that to be a done deal by now, so just get over it and sign up. It’s 2015, people. Invest in your career. And no, Adobe does not pay me to say that.

End of rant.

If comping with real fonts and images on your iPad isn’t cool enough for you, tap the “send” icon at the upper right of the app and select InDesign, Photoshop, or Illustrator. Your comp opens immediately on your desktop in the application of your choice, ready for further editing, saving, or sharing. Because you’re using Typekit fonts, all of your font choices translate beautifully.

Simple touch gestures let you quickly create columns of text or graphic shapes. A two-finger swipe to the left or right will “undo”and “redo”. Three fingers left and right scrub through your layout’s history. As you familiarize yourself with your gesture options, the app becomes more and more intuitive and you’ll start pushing the boundaries of the concept of a “comp”. You may actually find yourself creating live documents. It’s pretty intoxicating.

Add on the possibilities of Adobe Cloud’s sharing capabilities, like shared image libraries and the new Cloud team sharing capabilities, and your design brain might explode with creative happiness.

We can talk about layer options and integration with Adobe’s other apps—like Adobe Illustrator Draw, Shape, and Photoshop Mix—another time. I’ve got some design work to do. On my iPad.

Find out more about it here. Get the free app on iTunes.

About the image above: This mouth-watering artwork was created in Adobe Comp, using Museo Slab and a photo on my iPad from a recent cooking class. This is a rustic fruit Galette. Underneath that amazing crust are fresh strawberries, apples, almonds, and crushed amaretto cookies. The image, type, and blue dot were composed in Comp, opened in InDesign to create the drop shadow, and then exported to a .png. All so yum.

Posted by: Mary Lester

Mary Lester leverages her deep experience with storytelling, design excellence, multi-platform publishing, and technology-focused content to help leading-edge businesses meet the challenges of today's rapidly changing media industry.