The New Horizons Island Designer App lets you reshape your island paradise by terraforming. Here's everything you need to know.

How to Get Animal Crossing New Horizons’ Island Designer App

The New Horizons Island Designer App lets you reshape your island paradise by terraforming. Here's everything you need to know.
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One of Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘ most exciting features is the island development app. Despite it being shown off in the Animal Crossing Direct a while back, though, don’t expect to see it for a while in your town.

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There are a number of steps you need to complete to get the island development app, and we’re here to break them all down. Once you’re finished, you’ll be terraforming in no time, considering you have enough bells to buy all of the permits. 

How to Get K.K. Slider in New Horizons

Your first main task is getting K.K. Slider to perform on your island. You can’t even think about doing this until Resident Services upgrades and Isabelle comes to town, though. So work on that first. 

Once you’ve got those things taken care of, speak with Tom Nook in the new-and-improved Resident Services. He’ll give you a brief overview of his latest plan, Project K.

As you’d expect, it’s all about getting K.K. Slider to visit the island. Nook outlines what’s involved, including getting more visitors on the island and raising your island development rating.

Phase one in Project K is all about getting your island noticed, and there are two ways to do that.

Attracting More Visitors to Your Island — The New Horizons Campsite

Visitors equal tourists. 

Nook tasks you with setting up a campsite. Find a spot, then wait until the next day for construction to finish. From there, it’s a matter of luck and biding your time.

There’s no guarantee you’ll get a visitor to the campsite on any given day. If you do, make sure to provide them the souvenir they ask for. That’s what lets you invite them to stay on the island for good.

If you’ve got Animal Crossing Amiibo cards, you can use those once per day to invite a specific animal to the campsite. Some players are reporting it takes several invitations to get them to move in permanently, but as long as you’re boosting the number of visitors in general, it’s a win-win either way.

Getting More Residents on Your Island

The other thing you’ll need to do is boost the number of residents living on your island. By the time you start Project K, you’ll have at least five residents. You can get more through the campsite, get lucky and have one move in some random day, or take the initiative and scout them out on islands you visit with Nook Miles Tickets.

One other method of attracting newcomers to the island involves selling off land. If you speak to Tom Nook about infrastructure, he’ll give you the option to buy a land plot for 10,000 Bells. You can then set up a tent for a new visitor and, once it’s all ready to go, wait for someone to move in.

We haven’t confirmed yet how many residents you need on your island, but the maximum of 10 seems to work.

Raising Your Island Development Rating

Next, it’s time to focus on island development. Apparently, our favorite pupper performer won’t do a gig in any ol’ dump with a coffee shop or train station anymore. You’ll need to get your island development rating up to three starts or more, and Isabelle gives some general guidelines for how to do that.

More Visitors

Getting more visitors and residents on your island helps raise the development level, so you should already be good to go here.

Island Beautification

One way to improve your island development rating is making it look good. Pick weeds, plant trees — but not too many — and plant flowers. Isabelle should tell you if you go overboard with the tree planting, but in general, try to make sure you keep areas from being clogged with trees.

Island Decorating

One of the biggest factors determining your island rating is the furniture you put outside. Decorating the outdoors isn’t just a feature in New Horizons. It’s pretty darn important, and your island development rating won’t increase if you don’t decorate.

Just don’t put a dozen of the same thing out, unless it’s fencing panels. Sections of fencing help improve your island development as well, and you can get fairly creative with it. Whether you’re creating a shop-and-swap section, a fenced-off garden, or just putting up some panels here and there, it counts towards improving your overall rating.

Establish New Businesses

Establishing new businesses on your island is probably the hardest method of raising your development rating early on just because it takes so much time. Fortunately, it seems interacting with Tourist NPCs like Sahara and buying from them when they visit has a positive effect on your rating as well.

Inviting K.K. Slider to the Island

Once your development rating is at least three stars, you’ll eventually get feedback from K.S. After a quick phone call, Slider is all set up to play outside Resident Services the next day. Attend his concert, watch the credits roll, and you’ll end up back at your house.

Getting the Island Designer App

After you emerge from your home, Tom Nook greets you once again. He lets you know Slider will be there every Saturday from now on and, more importantly, finally gives you the Island Designer App.

You don’t have access to all the terraforming features right away. At first, it’s just the grass and dirt paths you can lay out. For more options, you’ll need to purchase Island Design Permits using Nook Miles.

  • Waterscaping permit: 6,000 Miles
  • Cliff construction permit: 6,000 Miles
  • Arched tile path permit: 2,000 Miles
  • Dark dirt path permit: 2,000 Miles
  • Sand path permit: 2,000 Miles
  • Stone path permit: 2,000 Miles
  • Terra-cotta tile permit: 2,000 Miles
  • Wooden path permit: 2,000 Miles
  • Custom design path permit: 2,300 Miles (this is what lets you use your design creations as paths)

And that’s all you need to know for how to get the Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Designer App. You’ve taken your island from deserted nothing to luxurious paradise, complete with custom layout and weekly concerts. Be sure to check out our other Animal Crossing: New Horizons guides as well, including:

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Josh Broadwell
Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.