What qualities does an outstanding mobile app icon have?
App icon is like logo. Its purpose is to serve as a customer’s first impression of the product. It has to stand out, attract and communicate something about the app’s functionality and aesthetic style. It’s one of the key factor the customers consider before downloading an app from the store, so it should be eye-catching and memorable. Design of an app icon is also significant during launching an app to the Store. According to Apple, wrong icon is among top 4 most frequent reasons for app rejection.
There are four rules in App Store Review Guidelines that refer to icon:
- Small and large App icons should be similar, so as to not to cause confusion
- Apps with App icons, screenshots, and previews that do not adhere to the 4+ age rating will be rejected
- Apps that do not use system provided items, such as buttons and icons, correctly and as described in the Apple iOS Human Interface Guidelines may be rejected
- Apps that contain false, fraudulent or misleading representations or use names or icons similar to other Apps will be rejected
While the first three bullet-points are obvious, the fourth one is a source of rejections.
Icon designing tips
Beauty and recognizability – these are the two major factors that make an app icon great. Nowadays, simple (and unique!) shapes are in fashion. Your icon has logo utility so take your time and focus on choosing it – it will stick to your product (probably) forever. Try not to overuse colors – the less, the better (most of the time). Try to choose your main color and stick to it – use it in the interface, icon and ads. It’s a trend worth following – Facebook is strongly associated with the blue, Snapchat with yellow. Such uniformity makes an impression of complete, thought-through and polished service. Also, keep in mind that icon must be strongly related with the service your app offer. Snapchat’s ghost in logo or Google Translate’s icon is a great example of that.
Your icon should be speaking for itself, hence no words should be needed. Text in such a small logo is redundant – it just takes a lot of space and gives a feeling of a mess. Using one letter is an exception – it can become iconic itself. Last, but not least, don’t confuse simple with good looking. Taking care of details is desirable as long as it doesn’t overwhelm the whole graphic.
Purchase an icon
If you don’t feel like designing your own icon, you can always buy one. Remember that it represents your app and if it doesn’t attract customers, then you wasted your money and time on the whole app. Purchase cost of an icon varies – you may afford the cheapest ones for 300$. If you hire a freelancer, you will pay him for an hour. You may choose a cheaper designer from India (15-30$) or somebody from USA (30-50$ or more).