What makes people click on apps? What is that thing that entices them to download an app from Google Play Store or iPhone App Store? There’s only one answer to this. The app Icons! And to make more people click and download your app, consider making visually-enticing app icon designs.
What are App Icons?
An app icon is the very first thing that the prospects will see when they scroll past App Store or Play Store. An enticing icon design is your only way to secure your place amidst the fierce competition with other apps.
To beat the competition, your app icons must look absolutely professional, which can increase user engagement. Undoubtedly enough, this tiny graphic is one of the fundamental elements of brand identity that can make you stand out in the crowd and convey your USP and UVP.
A memorable design has an immense impact on an app’s success, and hence it is imperative to develop an attention-grabbing icon design.
With more than 3 billion Smartphone users worldwide, it comes as no surprise that the app industry is booming, and app usage is growing at a rapid rate. Last year itself, there were more than 204 billion app downloads. Which pretty much sums up the hype about apps.
To make your place amongst this whopping figure, you need to draw the attention of your prospects and encourage them to learn more about your products through awesome app icons.
What are the most commonly found Apps?
Apps generally fall into two common categories, Android and iOS. Apparently, they seem to be identical. But in reality, there are significant technical differences between them. The first and foremost difference lies in their dimension. Android apps must be within 512*512px, whereas
For iPhones, the dimensions must be 180*180px, for iPad Pro- 167*167px. And for iPad and iPad mini- 152*152px. In App Store, the icon size must be 1024*1024px. These are the size resolutions that a designer must remember while creating an app icon.
Well, there are quite a lot of differences between iOS apps and Android apps. But one thing is the same for both; that is, the icon design must be aesthetic, and speak about the functionality of the app.
And if you don’t want your app to be one of those not-so-fortunate ones that are deleted by 21% millennials, then keep scrolling. We are going to reveal some stupefying secrets of creating timeless and smart app icon designs.
1. Keep the Design Simple and Minimal
Less is more as we know it. The fewer visual elements your design has, the more appealing it will be. Simple designs are pleasing to the eyes and are easily understood by the onlookers.
Since App Store and Plat Store display the apps in a small square, it is mandatory to make your icon design simple. Else it will be difficult for the users to decipher it. However, in a bid to bring simplicity to the design, do not compromise with the quality. You must strike a balance between simplicity and understandability.
2. Be Bold and Unique
It goes without saying that you want your app to stand out in the crowd and beat the bottle-neck competition. That said, apart from being simplistic and minimal, you must also ensure uniqueness in the app icon designs.
Else, it’s likely that the app will end up blending with the rest of its peers. You must incorporate the app’s purpose into the icon subtly, making it easy for people to understand what your app is all about. The more you create an innovative app icon design, the higher is the chance of beating your competition!
3. Abide by the Brand Identity & Visual Guidelines
Whatever design wireframe you think of, it must associate with your nature of business and brand identity.
Your brand design must be kept under consideration, why because that’s one of the sure-shot ways in which your target audience can relate your brand with the app design they see. Even a minor deviation can create a fiasco that can badly affect your online reputation.
4. Ensure to Know your Target Audience Thoroughly
Define the demographic clearly before you scope out with the design of your app icon. Which age and gender you are targeting, what are their preferences when it comes to visual metaphors, what kind of graphics may appeal to them and what could repel them – these must be clearly laid out.
Whether you develop the design yourself or your in-house team does it, or you hire a freelancer or a professional agency, in whatever case, this is a critical factor to consider.
Also, you must ensure that the symbols you use do not offend any cultural/religious sentiment, any caste, and so on. One thing that works with some, may not with others.
5. Opt for the Right Design Software & Tools
Whether you do it yourself or get it done by someone else, creating a captivating app icon design requires the right design tools. There are few free options available online, for e.g., MakeAppIcon, Ionicicons, IconsFlow, Nuceloapp, and many more. These apps offer appealing design templates and fonts, along with other design elements.
And lastly, there’s Adobe Photoshop, which hardly needs an introduction. Choosing the right mobile app icon design tool is one of the most vital criteria in getting a memorable icon design for an app.
6. Never Use a Photograph
App icons are tiny graphics, that when crammed with too many elements, make it difficult for the users to perceive them. Considering that, long texts and real photographs are a definite non-no for an app icon.
Even if the photo is unique or bold, always ensure to create a vector image of the same.
7. Do not Cram the Icon with too many Colors
Yes, you may play around with color combinations for the icon; but know when to control. Because once you start filling the colors, it’s pretty hard to stop. And that’s exactly where the novice designers commit the blunder.
Make sure you apply as little as two or three colors from your brand identity. Too many colors or too much detailing can deter the icon from standing out.
8. Do a Legit A/B Testing
This will ensure that there’s no guesswork in selecting the best icon design for your app that effectively resonates with your brand. If you are creating an Android app, think of using the Google Play A/B testing feature.
And if it is for iOS, then try A/B testing your app amongst your Facebook audience. Doing an A/B testing is the most accurate method to decide upon two design options. One of the most crucial app icon design guidelines, to be precise!
9. Keep the Format in Mind
There’s a fundamental difference in the way the apps are displayed on Android and iOS; therefore, you must freeze upon a layout that is compatible with both the OSs. Ensure your iOS app icon designs have enough padding to maintain clear visibility.
This is because Apple makes the corners of the icons a bit roundish. Also, maintain a size-neutrality across all devices since each has different icon size standards.
10. Keep a Close Eye on your Competitors’ Works
Not that you should copy someone’s idea, but there is no harm in searching for inspiration. You should very well check what kind of icon representations your competitor companies are doing and what kind of response their designs are getting.
While doing this market research, be open-minded and admire the designs done by them. A good design always makes heads turn.
So there you go, now you have a complete arsenal of tips and hacks to optimize your app(s) and create an engaging UI. Hope these handy tips for better app icon design would make it possible for you to scale your app download rate up.
Well, honestly, there are a lot of strategies and app icon design ideas for making your app stand out, but what matters is choosing the right one. Keep on A/B testing and experimenting until you start attracting potential customers. In short, keep the following thumb rules handy:
- Test the app on your phone to get an idea of how the icon looks on the device.
- Observe your competition and your competitors.
- Don’t flinch to from updating or tweaking the design, if required.
- Try to stay relevant and timeless at the same time.
- And never deviate from your Company Brand Guidelines.
Lastly, although there are multitudinous numbers of free templates available online, there are a few downfalls of these free tools. The first being no custom design. You are offered a one-size-fits-all generic template, which might not be the right choice for your brand.
Also, the scopes of iterations are less or zero as far as the online software are concerned. Hence, it is always recommended to consult a professional when it comes to anything related to branding. A professional design agency has years of experience and can create a custom solution just for you. Alternatively, you may also go for dedicated hiring with a dedicated team who will work only on your project.
So, find out what works best for your brand and your app, and keep on App-timizing!