Sparkle calls itself a “vector drawing tool, uniquely tailored” for creating websites. In use, we found it most reminiscent of Pages, with a workflow based around drag-and-drop and free layout. No matter how you describe it, though, what matters is how effective it is when it comes to web design.
Radiohead has long been known for its compelling collaborations with animators and video artists, which have resulted in cool music videos, performance projections, and graphics. Now the band has now extended its interest into the iOS world with PolyFauna, a strange sonic tour through a decidedly eccentric audiovisual realm. It’s not a game – there's nothing to win, nor a final destination – but rather a wacky piece of interactive art that is deceptively simple to navigate and oddly soothing, even for those who are not usually turned on by Radiohead’s expansive, moody musical stylings.
Billed as a “modern creativity tool,” Curator is a virtual, iPad-only notebook for organizing websites, images, or text into beautiful, visually rich checkerboards. Up to 25 tiles can be opened full-screen or relocated anywhere on the screen (using just a finger) into a single board. The free app can be used to create up to five such projects, each with a unique name, and move between them with a swipe. Create a sixth board, however, and you’ll be prompted to pony up $6.99 via in-app purchase, which enables you to create an unlimited number of boards.
Designers and Photoshop pros from an earlier generation will remember the venerable Kai’s Power Tool Photoshop plugins, and even though they’ve been M.I.A. for years, one of the wackiest of those plugs – the Fractal Explorer – has been reincarnated as Frax, a seriously cool graphics toy and perhaps the single most impressive bit of graphics code we’ve yet seen on iOS. Available in separate iPad and iPhone versions (iPad reviewed), Frax is a full-screen, interactive fractal playground, with a very fluid, straightforward interface and a decent amount of customization possibilities for generating a wide variety of truly attractive fractal graphics.
If you could reduce the 20th century optical artist Victor Vasarely to his essence and jam him into your iOS device, you’d end up with Isometric, a sparse design app with a single creative element: the rhombus. There’s an old design adage, “less is more,” that seems to be the underlying philosophy of this universal app, which presents an almost Zen-like simplicity (in terms of interface and toolset), challenging you to make the most of its one basic building block. While this limitation is meant to be a creative motivator, we found it to be a little, well, limiting.