How To Design The Perfect Icon For Your Mobile App
You have an idea and you want to convert it into an app. However, developing an app that reaches millions of downloads isn’t a cakewalk. There are over 2.7 million apps on Google Play and 2.2 million on Apple’s App Store, but only a few stands out. With that, you may be wondering how to make an app icon.
Although there is no predefined pathway for developing an app that thrives, some things are necessary when it comes to developing a successful app. This includes finding the best app name, writing the perfect description, and creating an attractive logo.
While the name and description are necessary, an app icon is even more. Why? Because an app icon is the first thing that a user notices!
On average, there are around 41 apps that a user utilizes regularly. To make your app get on that list, you need an irresistible app icon. Otherwise, you will have a tough time convincing people to download and regularly use your app.
In this article, we’ll be talking about how to make an icon app that stands out.
What is an app icon?
An icon is a visual anchor that represents your brand. It helps your brand communicate its essence.
Most people think that icons are just logos, but that’s not true. While both of these are indeed used for branding, they still differ a lot.
A logo is a graphical representation of a company’s name which is usually made up of texts. An icon, on the other hand, is a graphical representation of about anything that helps to communicate a message instantly.
5 Core Aspects To Consider When Designing An App Icon
Scalability is one of the most critical aspects of an icon. This is basically because your app icon is going to be represented in several places. With that, it has to look perfect and not distorted.
For this, you need an icon that looks simple yet compelling. Icons overloaded with graphics or other design elements fall victim to bad scalability.
There are millions of apps out there and every app has an icon. What’s the purpose of those icons? It’s to make the app look unique and distinctive when someone looks at it for the first time.
You need to spend time and money on research before you finalize an icon for your app. Look at some of your competitors and check out how they made their icons. Try a design that’s different from what they made to make your icon look distinct.
It might sound like a daunting task at first, but there are several ways to do this. Try to communicate with different people and ask for suggestions regarding how your design should look.
Seek help from coworkers, family, and friends and ask what impression is your icon drawing on them. This will help you to come up with something that looks unique yet creative.
The primary objective of an app icon is to hook users and make them use your app. But it isn’t undoubtedly possible if they don’t understand your idea.
It is advisable to create icons that are simple and easy to remember. They should also reflect your brand. Take note that simple doesn’t mean boring. It just means that the icon isn’t overloaded with several unnecessary elements.
The idea here is to make it easy to remember. This way, users can easily get hooked to your app and download it without looking for other options.
It’s the responsibility of the icon to describe the main features of the app and what domain it is serving.
If someone misunderstands your app’s domain, he is likely to uninstall it immediately and that will leave a negative impact on your app.
It’s better not to include screenshots or interference elements in any icons. It’s advisable to use ingredients that accurately describes the domain, as well as the objective of your app.
Compliance With Guidelines
You might assume that the Play Store by Google and Apple’s App Store are similar, but they are a lot different in reality. And so, you need to have different app icons for both platforms.
Users are used to their operating system and that’s why they need app icons that completely resonates with the operating system’s guidelines. The more we understand this fact, the more we build trust.
It doesn’t mean that the icons should be completely different. You can just tweak its size, shape of the frame, and the color palettes.
Just make sure that all the icons look similar so that no one gets confused while hopping from one operating system to another.
When developing icons as per the guidelines of operating systems, you can check out the following links:
For Apple’s Guidelines — You can visit iOS Human Interface Guidelines and for icon specific guidelines, check App Icon section.
For Google’s Play Store Guidelines — Visit Play Store Developer Guidelines. To check the icon specific guidelines, visit Google Play icon design specifications.
How To Make An Icon App
You know what in an icon is and the things that you need to consider while making your design. Now, do you know how to do it?
Whenever you ask a designer, you might get different answers every time. However, one thing is for sure — all the answers will resonate to each other.
So, here’s what most of the solutions are going to be like:
Know The Design Standards
As already mentioned, both Google and Apple have their own set of guidelines regarding how the app’s icon should look like.
The guidelines are created to maintain the industry standards and the ongoing trends. If you follow these guidelines, the chances for your app icon to get more downloads will substantially increase.
Recently, Google has implemented a new design language for Android called Material Design. It is an extensive set of guidelines that helps in designing a cohesive visual interface.
For designers who love to contribute to this cohesive look and feel, a throughout document has been released by Google on Material Design.
In the same way, Apple, too, has its own set of guidelines that you need to follow if you want to launch an app over there.
While Apple’s guidelines are handy for iOS developers, they aren’t as in-depth as Google’s Material Design.
Reflecting Your App’s Feel
It’s quite evident that your app icon needs to reflect the look as well as the feel of your brand. You need to be quite clear about what the icon needs to represent.
Let me illustrate with an example:
Imagine that you bought a mobile of a particular brand. After you open the box, you saw that it is a different model. You must feel like you’ve been cheated.
So, for the app’s look and feel to be consistent, you need to use a similar kind of app design and app icon.
For example, if your app design follows Google’s Material Design guidelines, the icon should also be following the same.
Communicate Your App’s Features
You must have apps like calculator, calendar or flashlight in your smartphone. These apps generally make the user feels like they got the utility under their fingertips. Your app should similarly be inspiring this sense of service.
Moreover, beyond this, your app icon should also instantly get recognized and communicate what the user expects from the app. Design an icon that adheres to the described points.
Get A Designer
While you can have an entire set of teammates, you need to get someone to look after the graphics department of your business. As a one-person business, you can also hire freelancers to do the job for you.
Find a suitable designer who is handy with different designing software like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Inkscape. Also, make sure that he has experience in designing a similar type of icons.
Direct Your Requirements
It’s now your job to direct the designer about what your expectations from the final design.
Let him know your preferred operating system for launching your app or if you want different versions for different platforms.
Your app icon is one of the most important things that you need to consider while creating a branding strategy for your app. To do it in the right way, you need to make sure that you’re taking all the necessary steps.