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Paper by FiftyThree gets a makeover, adding useful new tools

14 Aug 2015

The creative app Paper by FiftyThree has been around since 2011, when it won Apple’s App of the Year Award.

It is very popular among designers and artists, as both a visual note-taking service and a powerful design app with a full suite of creative tools.

FiftyThree created the app specifically for people who work in design, the company’s name symbolising the fifty three centimetres that are said to link the hand, head and heart.

However, the app has recently undergone a makeover, with new tools which have the potential to make it more useful to a wider range of people.

Personally, I have used Paper for several years. I find it particularly useful for visual note-taking - when I’m out and about and something inspiring comes to mind, Paper is the app I use to quickly draw an image or work with something so that it stays fresh and can be worked on later.

Paper comes with some pretty advanced tools for making digital artwork and graphics. The new Think Kit tools move the creative app into the business space as well, allowing users to create perfect shapes and professional-looking diagrams with ease.

Drawing something that looks like a circle, the app will recognise the intended shape and render it properly. Ditto for other shapes. Straight away, a roughly-drawn diagram takes proper form and looks more professional. FiftyThree refer to this feature as the Intention Engine.

Instructions within the app make it pretty easy to get a basic feel for how things work, without being too intrusive.

Arrows between diagrams can be achieved by tapping the pen icon, drawing a line, then holding it on the page for a second. Notes inside diagrams are easily added, and moved around to find where they look the best. Diagrams are easily made to look professional.

Cut is also easy to use – tap the scissors, tap on a shape or object, then move it around the page to a new point, or swipe off the page to remove it altogether.

With Think Kit, a diagram can quickly be shared across to PowerPoint or another app of the user’s choice, which is useful for dropping professional-looking graphics into a presentation.

FiftyThree hosts a user forum called Mix, where users of the app can share their artwork and diagrams, as well as discuss ways they use the app.

There is a great range of art and design work on the forum, which is useful for finding inspiration as well as finding out ways that similarly creative people are using the app and tools. It is also a testament to the power of the app as a real creative tool, as there are some very sophisticated digital works on the forum.

The new tools will be useful for helping anyone who needs to present in a visually appealing way, especially those who are not generally creative.

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