App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
iOrnament App Poster Image
Creating beautiful, geometric images fascinates, educates.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can practice creativity with shapes, patterns, drawing, geometry, and part-whole relationships.

Ease of Play

Lots of tips on how to use the many features. Some trial and error may still be necessary, especially for younger users.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

In-app purchase required for Pro version.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that iOrnament is a drawing app that combines art, science, and math concepts in ways kids can use to create digital art. It uses the concept of "ornamental design" to engage users in creating complex (or simple) art using lines and patterns in a way some parents might liken to Spirograph. Users begin by drawing simple lines and then tailoring what the app does through many art options (color, shading, textures, and more) as it symmetrically repeats them "according to the rules of the 17 crystallographic wallpaper groups." The app includes more than 50 tutorial tips and optional background information on the math and history behind these designs. An in-app purchase ($0.99) is required for Pro version, and it's Apple pencil compatible. Note: There's no posted privacy policy at the time of this review.

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What's it about?

To create with IORNAMENT, choose a color dot and begin to draw. There's a tutorial and more than 50 tutorial-like tips on how to use the app's many features. To access Pro features, tap "Get Pro Update" and pay the in-app purchase. From the home icon, users can also read about ornaments and how they relate to math or view a gallery with examples of "classical ornaments." Export iOrnament creations to a variety of social media, or email or text your creations, or contribute them to the World Exhibition by tapping Contribute.

Is it any good?

It's hard to imagine how a few simple lines and feature choices can combine to create amazing art on this app, but indeed they do. iOrnament is one of those apps that young kids or novice artists can use to create cool images through trial and error just for fun. Or, artists and digital creation enthusiasts who want to dig deep into the features can take this app to another level using the tutorials and their own creative skill. The more than 50 tutorial tips are brief, and most are easy to understand; still, some users may get overwhelmed with all of the options, which aren't critical to making mind-bending designs. iOrnament also includes some interesting background information and a gallery of historical ornament images created long before any digital technology existed. Especially for kids who love creating and art but don't love to draw free-hand, it's a great tool for making beautiful, geometric creations with fewer barriers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how iOrnament can be viewed as both an art and a math activity. What do shapes, symmetry, and patterns have to do with math? What makes art that is pleasing to the eye? Is there a mathematical reason behind it?

  • Talk about the use of tutorials vs. trial and error. Many users may find a mix of both to be the best way to approach iOrnament. 

  • Consider reading some of the background educational information provided on the app with kids to help them understand the complexity and history behind their new creations on iOrnament.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: geometry, patterns, shapes
    Arts: drawing
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, hypothesis-testing, part-whole relationships
    Creativity: making new creations
    Tech Skills: digital creation
  • Price: $3.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid (optional in-app purchase $.99)
  • Release date: December 17, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 102.90 MB
  • Publisher: science-to-touch
  • Version: 2.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.1 or later
  • Last updated: February 15, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love art and creativity

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