The ANT Group Leverages iPad Applications to Transform Local Restaurant

The ANT GroupCommunity Stories, Technology, The InformANT

KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid

That is what we have been told all our lives and that is what we are finding works best here. As “old-school” architects, we still think and communicate better with pen in hand. One of our very favorite tools (or combination of tools) is the iPad, Apple Pencil, and Sketchbook Pro (SBP). When you add OneNote and an app called Portfolio, you have a pretty slick solution for lots of tasks.

What do we use these tools for? Just about everything from design, to notetaking, to managing and sharing our mobile portfolio.


Defined simply, SBP is a tool that allows you to draw on layers. This takes us back to the good old days of pens and flimsy (e.g., bum wad, sketch, onion paper, trace).

Using SBP on the iPad allows us to overlay plans, elevations, and even photographs to quickly communicate a design solution. SBP has all the “pens and pencils” you can imagine. Our favorite is the fountain pen. The fountain pen reacts to pressure and allows you to draw thin or thick lines with the same pen. It is adjustable and, of course, can be any one of millions of colors. We also use the technical pens and markers just as you would expect.

Design Success

One of our major success stories came about when we were visiting El Gordito, a small taqueria up the street. We met with the owner about adding some additional interior seating and reconfiguring the parking lot, amongst other renovation ideas. Within 20 minutes we had a solution sketched up and approved.

A quick loose sketch provided the vision for the addition and communicated it in a way that was unobtrusive. This was efficiency at its best! We also used SBP on site to sketch up a quick parking layout over a Google Maps image and establish a rough area take off.

We were even able to sketch out concepts for the bench seating as well as casework details for another project.



Taking Notes

We all know that if we write it down, we remember better. It is even better when you can sketch out a diagram or concept right next to the notes. If you think of a design solution in the middle of a presentation, you can jot it down right there and copy/paste it later.

Portfolio Sharing

We recently uploaded quite a bit of our work to an iPad App called Portfolio and organized it into categories – Commercial Work, Residential, Before & After, How We Work, Project CD’s and Technologies


The iPad is a great way to markup drawings, images, and other sketches during a meeting. Using an Apple TV hooked to our conference room projector on the second input allows us to open any file and mark it up right in front of our clients.

Old-school to “New-school”

In short, an iPad with SBP is in our back pockets at all times. Architects like to draw, and this technology solution lets us do what we love, but in a way that takes the result far beyond what traditional paper and pencil can achieve.

This article summarizes just a few ways this technology helps us work and communicate with our clients. What’s even better is how accessible it is—we have clients that grab the Apple Pencil and start sketching out their ideas right on the iPad! It’s a powerful tool and we’re constantly finding fun new ways it can help support our clients and projects!