Vintage Design review: Make your own retro wallpaper on the cheap
By J.R. Bookwalter
At a glance
Apple includes a variety of hand-picked wallpaper images to adorn your iOS display, but those options don’t do much for expressing yourself in a unique way. Proving yet again there is indeed an app for every need, Vintage Design makes it easy and fun to decorate your home screen, no computer necessary.
A decorative touch
The latest version of Vintage Design bulks up on the creative possibilities with more than 1500 pieces of artwork covering a wide range of categories. Should you need more, a trio of in-app bundles can be had for a dollar each, or buy everything (which includes 25 bonus fonts) for only a buck more. True to its title, many template items have a lighthearted, retro look and feel, so this app won’t appeal to hardcore types in search of something with more grit and guts.
The app features an eye-pleasing, easy-to-understand user interface that walks users through the entire process; most of the tools are consolidated into a row of icons across the bottom of the screen. Background sets the stage for your wallpaper with a basic color, image imported from the Camera Roll, one of the included templates, or starting from a completely transparent backdrop.
Next, add any number of badges or decorative icons, with full control over color, shadow, opacity, and more, including an intuitive pinch to resize or rotate any element. You can even add vintage effects to distress or grunge up individual pieces of artwork or the entire design at once, but surprisingly, there are no Instagram-style filters available, which is about the only option really missing.
Know your dimensions
Vintage Design also allows users to add text in a variety of unique styles, including OTF or TTF fonts you may already own. These can be added from a relatively painless email attachment process, or imported via Dropbox. But there are plenty of options already built-in—so many, in fact, that the app’s seemingly endless horizontal scroll method should really be thrown out in favor of a more convenient font picker.
When a design is finished, tapping the action button gives users the option to export a flattened PNG file or version with transparent background prior to cropping into almost any size needed. Unfortunately, the app offers no help trimming to specific display sizes unless you already know the dimensions—I’d love to see presets for specific iPhone, Pod touch, and iPad models added in a future update.
Once cropped, the final design can be saved to Camera Roll, sent via AirDrop, or shared to social networks or other apps supporting iOS 8 extensions. Designs are saved for later editing, although there’s no iCloud sync support, so wallpapers created on one device won’t show up on others. The universal app is optimized for Retina Display and the latest iPhone models, so all graphics are sharp and clean.
Vintage Design provides an inexpensive way to create do-it-yourself wallpaper with little effort, but lacks a few conveniences like iCloud sync and presets for cropping designs to specific device sizes.
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