The days of using stock images for app icons are long gone. Nowadays the modern designer looks to create icons that jump out at potential users, without being too cumbersome aesthetically. Evidently, this can be something of a balancing act, fortunately there are a few tips you can follow that look to make the app icon design process a lot more straightforward.
A good icon can make all the difference as to whether the app is a success or not, so it’s not something that should be taken lightly.
1. Ensure The Icon is Easy-to-Read
This doesn’t mean that the app icon should be filled with text. While this may seem like a good direction to go in initially, you have to consider the size of the icon on different platforms, including that of smartwatches. As such, a more straightforward app icon is preferable.
The app icon design should incorporate the branding in order to make the app recognisable. A simple example can be done with the icons found on your desktop computer. Although none are burdened with fountains of text, they give a good representation of what the icon refers to, and what job it does.
Evidently, relying on branding can be somewhat difficult for newer or smaller brands, and as such, designers may wish to opt for an alternative technique that yields optimum impact.
2. Avoid Text
The use of text within app icons is something that has taken a back seat in recent times, purely due to the fact that app icons filled with text do little to win the affections of potential users.
The general rule of thumb is that any app icon design should look to eliminate text altogether unless it’s part of a logo, and even in this regard, considerations should be made before using text within the primary app icon design.
For example, some companies may stick with a letter, and use this in partnership with colour and type treatments similar to that of the website, which in turn creates a visual connection without the need for excessive text.
3. Aim for an Icon, Not an Image
If you have browsed any of the app stores recently, you will have probably found that a number of companies are looking to personify their brand with an icon. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook instil the use of a bold letter, or simple logo to reinforce their brand within the various marketplaces. This has allowed for a plethora of downloads, as people rarely have to read the description, as they are fully familiar with the company in question.
Many may assume that photographs are best, as they do not have complex visuals, but this can mean that the app is representing itself in the wrong kind of way when it comes to the marketing of the app.
As such, a designer will often look to instil a graphical representation of the app. This will ensure that the app stands out in the correct way when being marketed, and is able to carry more weight when it comes to the aesthetics.
4. Vibrant Colour is Key
When considering the many factors associated with app icon design, what colour your icon will be can make all the difference as to whether it stands out or not when placed in app stores. In this regard, you should look to avoid colours that are used in abundance with other icons, such as navy and sky hues, although this can be permissible if a brand is already established.
However, even if blue is the primary colour being used, it should be partnered with something brighter to give it a little extra kick. This will help the app stand out and grab the attention of potential users.
5. Look to Develop a Symbol or Simple Logo
When considering options for the branding of your company, you should also take the app icon design into account. Although a logo can look brilliant when placed on a website, they may not translate too well when it comes to placement on an app icon.
A simple logo can translate well on a number of platforms. However, even those with a fully immersive logo can look to create a snippet of that logo to act as its symbol, again using similar colours and styling.
6. Always Consider the Scale of the Logo
Whether you’re a fan of technology or not, there’s no escaping the number of devices being introduced, and how these devices are evolving. This is why it’s important that the app is designed so it can be used on a number of different platforms.
It’s also important that the app is built so it can be scaled down, not up, as to not affect the overall quality of the app icon.
7. Create the App Icon in a Vector Format
Given the fact that it is quite likely you will need to make some changes to the design of your app icon, the app should be designed in a vector format. This will allow for amendments to be made easily, as well as allowing for the easy rescaling of the app so it can be placed in various app stores without issue.
However, the finished app icon will need to be saved in a non-vector format in order to be uploaded to a number of different platforms.
8. Try The App Icon Out in Monochrome
It can sometimes be hard to determine as to whether an app icon has a solid framework or not, but there is a little tip you can use to ensure that your app icon is able to communicate its message, and that’s to try it out in monochrome. If the idea seems to work in monochrome, you can be sure that it will work once colour has been added. Similarly, if you have to add colour for the concept to work, then it could be worth revising the overall app icon design.
Sure, there a few factors to consider when creating an app icon, probably more than you would first think. However, just ensuring that your app icon is simple, uses vibrant colours and is able to portray the brand accordingly is only destined to do well.