On The Grind | 4 Apps to Boost Your Creativity

Flowstate ($9.99)

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Described by developers Caleb Slain and Blaine Cronn as “the most dangerous app”, Flowstate operates on a simple concept. After logging in, you select a time slot of 5, 15, or 30 minutes and attempt to write – uninterrupted – for the allotted time. If at any point you stop typing, the text begins to fade and will disappear altogether in a cruel 7 seconds unless you begin again.

The point of the app is to break down psychological barriers in writing. Slain explained in an interview with The Verge, “It never stops being a little bit scary because you’re afraid of the capacity of what can come out you. That’s why the blank page is intimidating. The fact is if you press a button, you might figure that out.”

The thought and intention behind Flowstate is evident throughout the entire app – from the clean, minimalist design to the choice of name. Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first coined the concept “flow”, using the phrase to describe a highly focused mental state that once tapped into provides sustainable happiness and contentment in work, play, and life.

Flowstate challenges users to unplug from our modern lifestyle of digital distraction and constant multi-tasking by forcing us to focus solely on the process of getting words onto the page. It’s a must-have for any prospective writer or creative.

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Artsy (FREE)

Artsy’s mission is to put “the art world in your pocket” and provide users with over 300,000 pieces of historic and modern art, from both established and emerging artists. Artsy also has exclusive partnerships with galleries around the world that allows users to get a sneak peak at upcoming exhibitions and art fairs.

The design feels like a cleaner, more grown-up version of Pinterest. You can view shows by location, bid for work online, and discover pieces by searching for a specific artist or browsing through different subject matter, medium, and style categories.

 While Artsy caters to a more knowledgeable art buyer, it’s still accessible for a more casual audience. The design is breezy and intuitive; the app also features interesting articles about emerging artists, unique pieces and shows, and trends in the industry. It’s the perfect tool to gain a better understanding of a world that often seems out of reach for the amateur art appreciator.

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Glitché ($0.99)

The tools Glitché provides to animate, edit, and visually manipulate both images and videos won’t make you a brilliant graphic designer, but they’ll definitely make you feel like one.

Glitché goes beyond simple filters and color edits and lets you distort images, add animation features, and transform photographs into 3D designs. While there is a slight learning curve, especially for a digital novice (ahem), the app is rewarding because it cracks through the mold. Instead of the picture-perfect social media image, Glitché challenges users to “break” photographs and create something fun, new, and innovative.

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Biophilia ($12.99)

Biophilia is the brain-child of Icelandic musician Björk and was the first app to be included in a permanent MOMA exhibit. The app invites the user to dive into the artist’s famous fusion of imagery, music, nature and technology. In addition to gaining access to music she composed exclusively for the app, users are navigated through a complex 3D galaxy and experience ten different interactive displays, all named after celestial events.

The purpose of the app is to fuse together completely different experiences – 2D and 3D, visual and auditory, education and entertainment. By tapping on individual stars, you unlock essays written by Björk explaining the inspiration behind pieces, abstract animations, and additional karaoke-style songs.

Biophilia is experimental, addictive, and mesmerizing. Moreover, any app that may bestow a bit of the divine spark that is Björk makes the investment well worth it.

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