When you’re designing an app for your business, there’s a lot that comes with it. There are a lot of moving parts that go into app design and a lot of things that can easily be overlooked. App design and creation also tends to come with a relatively high price tag, so you want to make sure you get the return on your investment that you’re after.
One thing that’s important for a successful app is the icon.
The following provides the key things you need to know about an app icon and tips for creating one that’s going to achieve all that you want it to.
What Is the App Icon?
Your app icon is what is going to provide a first impression for your entire app. It’s something that people will associate with your app, and it should showcase your brand.
Where some people get confused is thinking an icon is the same as a logo, and they are two separate things, both of which are important.
The similarities between an icon and a logo include the fact that both should be scalable and branded, but that’s where the similarities end.
An app icon is a way of representing the app itself. It’s a way to show, in general, what your app is about.
When someone goes into the app store, your icon is their first point of contact with your app, and as a result, even small details can make a big difference in how people perceive your app.
Your icon could be the determining factor as to whether someone downloads your app, or at least if it catches their attention.
When it comes to the technical design elements of an app icon, they’re usually a set of PNG files that may be in varying sizes. They are bundled with your app and they’re used in different places including not only the App Store or Google Play store, but also in search results and on the home screen of the app user.
Before you get started on the actual design implementation of your icon, do some market research. Look around both within your niche and industry and outside of it.
Think about those icons you like versus the ones you don’t and what sets them apart from one another.
This can also show you better ways to set yourself apart.
Make It Unique
Now that you have a better idea of why app icons are important, what are some design tips?
First, you want it to be completely unique. You want to use the small amount of available space to catch attention so as you’re planning your icon think about the most distinctive features of your app and try to find ways to convey those in your icon.
Consider those app icons you’re most familiar with and what makes them stand out to you. Instagram is a great example, but there are others as well.
As part of your initial planning for the creation of your app icon, you need to really consider your brand identity first and foremost.
When you’re designing an app icon, the symptoms and graphics you use should be a direct reflection of your app, but that doesn’t mean using a photo. Photos can be less likely to set your app apart.
Along with your symbols and imagery, you’ll have to decide on a color palette. You want to choose a color palette that stands out but is simultaneously simple.
A technical design consideration with an app logo is scalability. Since your icon will be shown in different contexts, it needs to be scalable across all of them.
If you try to make an icon design too complex, then it’s not going to lend itself to scalability.
If you use any words, which may not be the best option, you have to think about how they’ll scale also. Using words in something on a small scale can look cluttered very quickly.
Finally, icon optimization is a key part of App Store Optimization. As part of this, plan to do A/B testing for your icon just as you do for your app itself and other elements related to optimization. You can use alternative icons and see which has the highest conversion rate.
Specific elements you might consider testing include your background colors, symbols, and different letters and numbers that are included in the image.
Above all, remember that app stores are a highly visual experience for people who will potentially be downloading your app.
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