Discover Practical Tips on How to Design an App Icon That
Mobile Growth

Discover Practical Tips on How to Design an App Icon That


Buse Kanal

An app icon is a crucial element of app design since it’s what gives your app, your brand, or your company a face. It’s an essential part of your app that helps users identify and recognize the application. The more easily identifiable your app icon is, the more easily it will drive installs in users’ minds.

Designing an app icon is not necessarily hard—it just takes a little time and patience. However, the way one designs an icon is crucial as it serves the sole purpose of giving people the first impression of your app. This is why you should always put in 100% and design the best icon for your app.

What Exactly Is an App Icon, and Why Is it Important?

An app icon is an image that represents your app. It is one of the first things users see when they wish to download your app from the App Store. Your app’s icon is how users recognize your app in the store listing. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in giving them the first impression of your app. 

Suitable app icons attract more people, help build top-of-mind awareness, and can improve your  App Store Optimization (ASO) strategies. A good icon design communicates what your app does without being too literal as if it was a logo for your company. 

Hence, it would be best to spend some time designing an attractive one, as it will give your app a professional and attractive look. According to A/B testing platform Splitmetrics, it’s crucial to an app’s conversion rate. Their research has shown that better-designed icons can help increase downloads by up to 560%.

Read on to find out the app icon design guidelines!

1. Think of Your App Icon as a Product, Not an Accessory

Creating an app icon is more than just throwing a logo into the App Store. You need to create visually appealing elements while staying true to the branding of your business. This is because it’s important to understand how each element will contribute to your company’s overall impression. Also, when it comes to creating an app icon, the basic principles of effective design remain the same.

The app icon is the face of the product and the most recognizable graphic element in the entire software experience. So treat it like an important part of your brand identity. It represents who you are and helps people understand what your company is all about. So, of course, your app icon needs to be designed well to represent you truly.

2. Consider Current Design Standards

Your app icon expresses your app, your values, and its functionality. Being a communication tool, it should match industry standards to reassure users that your service can be trusted and is worth going for. The golden ratio and grid in design have been quite popular recently.

While it’s important to stay on top of the design trends, you should also ensure that your icon doesn’t break any current design standards. The app icon has to be recognizable and easily distinguishable from the others. If you create an icon that other developers use, people will not know which app is yours.

3. Think About Using Symbols

A symbol is a crucial factor in the app icon design. It symbolically represents what your app is all about. For this reason, it is crucial to find or develop a symbol and then use it in your app icon design. We’re talking about the idea that unifies the app and the design, so it’s got to be relevant.

When you think about the popular apps, you’ll notice that they’re very recognizable by their icons. This is because you can use symbols to represent your brand or product in your icon. For example, if you have a travel booking app, you might pick a symbol like an airplane. 

4. Make a Real Effort to Simplify the Design

This is one of the challenging parts of app icon design. If you haven’t already followed the ­simple is better mantra, it’s about time you take heed. Minimalism is the new design trend! This doesn’t mean your app icon has to be straight out of a geometry textbook. 

Your users only have a split second to take a glance at your icon, and if you don’t nail this one, your app will be ignored and passed over. For the best results, try to reduce the information in your icon to its simplest form. The goal is to ensure your audience retains as much of your message as possible.

An app icon design template can help you get started with the design process and make your task much easier. A simple app icon design is always a good idea because it can convey your app’s message much more clearly.

Discover Practical Tips on How to Design an App Icon That

5. Choose Realistic Colors for Your App Icon

Are you hoping that bright yellow will attract more users to your app icon? Think you are being smart labeling your game’s icon with a small G? Not so fast. Choose realistic colors for your app icon. With the growing influence of the design aesthetic, colors became brighter and continue to captivate users.

If you want to stand out in a crowd, use colors that are different from those used by your competitors. Use colors that prevail in your target region or culture. Keep in mind getting user attention is more important than looking like others.

6. Develop Different Sizes and Formats of Icons for Different Resolutions

There will be a unique icon for every conceivable platform (i.e., web, iOS, and Android). Thus, creating different sizes and file formats is essential to ensure that the icon looks high quality on every platform. In addition, making sure the icon is correct is crucial to ensuring that it grows organically. 

Keep in mind that each app store differs in its icon requirements. For example, iOS and Android have entirely different requirements for icons. Therefore, an icon you create for Android won’t work for iOS and vice versa. In addition, the resolution sizes of Apple products app icons such as iPad display and iPhone application-related display vary in width and height for each type of device.

For androids, our recommendation is to start with an artboard size of 864×864 pixels since this allows for more flexibility in customization.

7. Make Sure Your App Icon Reflects Your Brand, Message, and Personality

The app icon serves as the primary method for helping users identify your brand and get a sense of its message and personality. Therefore, differentiating your app from others in your category is essential. Think about what makes your app unique before looking for inspiration.

What are the core values you want to transmit? Think about the color that best reflects those personality traits, and remember that the visual identity you choose will be with you for years, so take the time to get it just right. A great app icon does a third of your branding for you. Whether subtly or drastically, an app icon should reflect your brand, message, and personality. 

Making sure your app icon reflects your brand, message, and personality is important for a couple of reasons. First, it makes your app icon stand out in the highly competitive space of the App Store (and ultimately on people’s home screens). Then, having a memorable and well-known app icon helps people find your app when they’re looking at other apps.

8. Be Creative and Pay Attention to Clarity

A great app icon has to be creative. It should be creative, clean, and clear. Creative means that the design should be unique and not similar to other icons. Furthermore, the icon needs to appeal to your target audience, stand out from the crowd, and strike the right balance of cohesive branding.

Your design isn’t going to fly if it doesn’t stand out among other icons. There are many ways to be creative regarding your icon, and sometimes, even the simplest tricks can make a big difference. You also need to know how much space you have to work with and make a good design in this way.

Make sure to give it a twist and make sure people can tell what you’re offering at first glance. No matter how creative you want to be, make sure that your app’s core is recognizable in your icon. In the end, it shouldn’t take a user more than two seconds to understand what you’re offering them. Clarity is key!

Design With ShyftUp

Designing an app icon is a tricky process. For your app to gain success and popularity, it needs to look good and at the same time convey its core value to potential users. The key point of the app icon is that you want users to notice it in a sea of other icons on their phones. Thus, this small design element can make or break your app’s success.

We’ve covered several guidelines for you to follow when designing your app icon in this article. However, to achieve an excellent final product, you need to put time and effort into each process. Our team of professional designers at ShyftUp can help you design your ideal app icon. For more information, kindly fill out our contact form. We would love to hear more about your project!

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