iOrnament – A Drawing App that Entertains and Inspires

In a surprising pairing of art with science, fun with math, and creativity with education, iOrnament is making a splash on screens of iPads and iPhones. This app brings out the artist in everyone, giving some order to creative madness by taking hand drawn brushstrokes and light touches to the screen to form a design that is a unique as its creator. Designs are then repeated across the screen or painted across objects as a wallpaper that enlivens and enhances.

Created by Professor Jurgen Richter-Gerber in Munich, this app takes over 25 years of software application finesse and combines it into a graphical applications that puts the fun back in math and science, without users even knowing it. Create fascinating designs, or ornaments as they are known by the app, and fill them with colors that you choose. Adjust the thickness of lines and choose how fuzzy or cloudy you want certain areas of the overall pattern to be. You could blur the edges to give the design an overall look of fading away at the border with this function.

When you first download the app, you will be on the main screen where you initiate a new design. You can draw using simple strokes or taps and move things around as you wish. Once you complete a design, choose from the 17 in-app crystallographic wallpaper groups that define rules of patterns. These rules will be applied to your design and render it across the screen. Make updates to this to customize and create unique qualities.


Patterns range from symmetric designs, kaleidoscope images, and tiled repetitions to complicated knots and artistic pavements. If you are not sure what to do, there is an extremely helpful pop-up tutorial that explains things and lets you try things out, as well. For those of us on the older side of the user spectrum, this is a great plus!

After you create and save your treasure, you can upload it to a gallery that is shared across the globe. Visit the gallery and peruse the various designs of fellow artists, and see where those designs come from. The app is so unique in that you can see how cultural and global influence affect how people see designs and create images. Add to this the app’s unique feature of offering an educational background behind different types of geographical images. Each type of image is based on a mathematical model, which is explained in a clear and concise way for all to understand.

There is not much to argue against with this app except for the fact that it should tout a few more ways it can be used. Yes, it’s a great drawing tool and you can share personalized creations with the world; but where do you go from there? Linking this app with other apps or tools may render it extremely functional and increase its download traffic. An example would be using it in interior design by a furniture store, possibly. People could design a pattern of their liking and model on a piece of furniture to see if it works.

iOrnament has great potential and I am sure as more users download and engage with it, its applicability will blossom.