Icons play a crucial role in mobile applications as they are the first thing that users see when they browse the app store or look at their home screen. It is a visual representation of your app’s identity, functionality, and quality. A well-designed app icon can attract more downloads, increase user engagement, and enhance your brand image.
The process of designing an app icon involves a lot of brainstorming and creative thinking to ensure that it drives the maximum number of downloads. It is a critical stage of app development because the icon needs to convey the essence of the brand and accurately represent the app’s purpose. A poorly designed icon can easily go unnoticed and lead to a decline in downloads, ultimately impacting the app’s success.
In this article, we will explore the key factors to consider when designing an app icon, various methods and options available, and some best practices to create an app icon that stands out in the crowded app market. Whether you are a developer or a designer, this guide on how to design an app icon will help you create a compelling icon that represents your brand and engages your target audience.
Ways To Create a Mobile App Icon
There are multiple ways to create a mobile app icon that is visually appealing, unique, and represents your brand’s identity. Let’s explore some of them, as well as tools and services that can help you design an app icon.
Use a Vector Graphics Editor
A vector graphics editor is a software tool that allows you to create and manipulate vector graphics, which are images composed of mathematical shapes and curves. Unlike raster graphics, which are made of pixels, vector graphics can be scaled up or down without losing quality or detail. One of the possible uses of vector graphics is to create icons for mobile apps.
How to make your own app icon using a vector graphics editor? Follow these steps:
- Choose a suitable software tool. There are many vector graphics editors available, both free and paid, such as Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, Sketch, Affinity Designer, etc. You should choose one that meets your needs and preferences, and that supports the file formats and specifications required by the app store or platform you are targeting.
- Create a new document with the required dimensions and resolution. For example, iOS requires icons with 1024×1024 pixels at 72 dpi (dots per inch), while Android requires icons with 512×512 pixels at 320 dpi.
- Draw your icon using basic shapes, paths, gradients, colors, and effects. You should aim for a simple and recognizable design that conveys the essence of your app. Avoid using too many details, text, or complex shapes that might look blurry or distorted when scaled down.
- Export your icon. Use PNG or SVG as the file format for your icon, as they are the most widely supported and compatible. PNG is a raster format that preserves icon quality and transparency, while SVG is a vector format that preserves its scalability and editability.
- Test your icon on different devices and platforms. Use simulators or emulators to preview your icon on various screen sizes and resolutions. You can also use online tools or services that generate mockups or screenshots of your icon on different devices and platforms.
Use App Icon Generators
An icon generator is a web-based tool that helps you create icons quickly and easily. You can choose from a variety of styles, shapes, colors, and fonts, or upload your image or logo. Some online icon generators also offer features such as previewing your icon on different devices, adding effects and shadows, and downloading your icon in multiple resolutions and various formats, such as PNG, JPG, SVG, etc. In case you don’t have a logo for your business, try creating it with the AI free logo maker online website. All you need to do is input your company name and choose your desired style and industry. The intelligent AI tool will create a great logo that you can modify by adjusting the text, background color, and shapes.
There are many options available, but some of the most popular ones are:
- App Icon Generator. A website where you can generate and download icons for different platforms, such as iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, and more. It offers a wide range of templates and styles to choose from, and it allows you to customize your icon’s colors, fonts, effects, and other elements. You can also preview your icon on various devices and platforms to see how it looks and fits.
- App Icon Maker. A web service where you can create and customize icons for different platforms, such as iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and more. It offers a simple and intuitive interface that lets you choose from a variety of templates and styles to create your icon’s outline and details. You can also customize every aspect of the icon you are developing. There is also a preview feature. It lets preview your icon on various devices and platforms.
- Appy Pie App Icon Maker. A free AI app icon maker that allows you to create app icons for your iOS, Android, and Windows app in minutes. You can add your brand logo and convey your brand story more effectively. You can also select the background color, icon, name, and size for your app icon.
An app icon generator can save you time and money. However, you should also be aware of some limitations and drawbacks, such as a lack of options or flexibility, outdated design trends or platform guidelines, and limited ability to edit or resize your icon.
Use Online Design Tools
Online design tools are another great way to make a mobile app icon. They are platforms that allow you to create and customize graphics, logos, icons, and other visual elements without requiring any design skills or software. You can choose from a variety of templates, fonts, colors, shapes, and icons, or upload your own images and elements.
These platforms are fast, easy, affordable, and accessible. You can design your icon in minutes, without having to download or install anything. You can also edit and revise your icon as many times as you want until you are satisfied with the result. They can be less expensive than hiring a professional designer but may not offer the level of customization and unique design that a custom-designed app icon can provide.
The most popular tools are:
- Canva. An online tool that lets you create and edit icons for different platforms. It offers a wide range of templates and styles to choose from, and it allows you to customize your icon’s colors, fonts, effects, and other elements. You can also preview your icon on various devices and platforms to see how it looks and fits.
- Iconion. A platform with a simple and intuitive interface that lets you choose from a variety of templates and styles to create your icon’s outline and details. You can also customize your icon’s colors, fonts, effects, etc. There is also a preview feature to help you see how the icon will look on different devices.
- Venngage Icon Maker. This is a combination of an icon maker and a graphic design suite that allows you to create icons with ease. You can choose from hundreds of templates, icons, and fonts, or upload your own images and logos. You can also edit and resize your icons as you wish. The app is free to use for up to five icons per month.
Hire a Professional Designer
Interested in how to design app icon for iPhone or Android but lack skills and have no time? To make a professionally looking and unique app icon, you may consider hiring a professional designer. Some of the benefits of hiring a professional designer are:
- You can get a custom-made icon that matches your app’s identity and purpose.
- You can save time and effort by letting the designer handle the design process and technical specifications.
- You can apply changes to your icon until you are satisfied with the final version.
There are different ways to find and hire a professional designer for your app icon. Here are some of them.
- Online design services. These are websites or platforms that connect you with professional designers who can create and deliver icons for different platforms and devices. Some of the popular ones are 99designs, Design Pickle, Designbro, and DesignCrowd. You can browse through the profiles, portfolios, and ratings, and choose the one that matches your criteria. You can also communicate with the designers directly through the website’s messaging system.
- Freelance platforms. These are websites or platforms that allow you to post a design project and receive proposals from different designers who bid for your project. Some of the popular ones are Upwork, Toptal, and Freelancer. You can set your budget, timeline, and specifications for your project, and invite designers to submit their proposals. Fiverr and Upwork also provide gig-based offers.
- Personal networks. If you know some design professionals and have some recommendations, contact them to get a professional icon design. You can also ask your friends, family, colleagues, or clients for referrals or recommendations. You can also use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to find and contact professional designers in your network.
Use Crowdsourcing Platforms
Another way to create a mobile app icon is to use crowdsourcing platforms, which are websites or platforms that allow you to post a design project and receive ideas and solutions from many people. Some of the benefits of using crowdsourcing platforms are:
- You can get access to a diverse pool of talent and creativity from different backgrounds and perspectives.
- You can get multiple design concepts and revisions for your app icon and choose the best one.
- You can save time and money by paying only for the work that you like and accept.
There are different crowdsourcing platforms that you can use for your app icon design:
- 99designs. A website where you can launch a design contest and receive dozens of design concepts from different designers who compete for your project. You can set your own budget, timeline, and specifications for your project, and invite designers to participate in your contest. You can also provide feedback and ratings to the designers and choose the one that you like best. You can find icon design services starting from $199.
- DesignCrowd. A platform that allows you to post your design project and receive a plethora of design concepts from multiple designers who will bid for your project. This website offers you the flexibility to set your budget, timeline, and specifications while also enabling you to invite designers to submit their proposals. You can provide feedback and ratings to the designers and select the one that you feel is the best fit for your project. Icon design services on this website start from $99.
- OpenIDEO: A website where you can post a design challenge and receive innovative ideas and solutions from a global community of creative thinkers. You can define your challenge, invite people to join, collaborate with them, and select the best ideas. You can also join other challenges and contribute your ideas.
Pros and Cons of Each Method
|Use a Vector Graphics Editor||– Allows for complete control over the design process. – Offers the ability to create a unique, custom icon that accurately represents your brand.||– Requires design skills and knowledge. – Can be time-consuming to create a high-quality icon. – May require additional software or tools.|
|Use App Icon Generators||– Quick and easy way to create a basic icon. – Often free or low-cost. – Offers a range of pre-made templates and designs.||– Limited customization options. – May result in a generic, unoriginal icon. – May not accurately represent your brand.|
|Use Online Design Tools||– Offers a range of design tools and templates. – Often easy to use, even for those with little to no design experience.||– May not be as customizable as a vector graphics editor. – Limited design options compared to a professional designer. – Quality of designs may not be as high as with other methods.|
|Hire a Professional Designer||– Offers high-quality, unique designs. – Accurately represents your brand. – Can provide technical expertise and advice.||– Can be expensive. – May take longer to complete the design process. – Requires time to find and select the right designer.|
|Use Crowdsourcing Platforms||– Offers a range of design concepts from multiple designers. – Can provide a diverse range of ideas and perspectives.||– Requires time to sift through multiple design concepts. – Quality of designs may vary. – May require additional time and effort to provide feedback and select the right design. – Can be expensive depending on the level of participation and quality of designers.|
What to Remember when Designing a Mobile App Icon
When designing a mobile app icon, there are several key things to keep in mind to ensure the icon accurately represents your brand and effectively draws in potential users. Here are some important points to remember.
Keep your app icon simple
One of the most important tips to remember is to keep it simple. Avoid using too many details or elements that can clutter or confuse your icon. Focus on the essential features that convey your app’s identity and purpose.
A simple app icon is easier to recognize and remember, and it also scales better on different screen resolutions or densities. A complex app icon can look messy or chaotic, and it can also lose its quality and clarity when scaled down.
Communicate your app’s function and purpose
Use symbolic images or shapes that represent your app’s main functionality or benefit. Avoid using abstract or generic icons that can mislead or confuse users.
Your app icon should tell users what your app does and why they should download it. It should also differentiate your app from other similar apps in the same category or genre. A unique and relevant app icon can help you stand out from the crowd and attract more users.
Use consistent colors and styles
Use colors that match your app’s theme and mood, and that creates a good contrast with the background and other icons. Use a limited palette of one or two main colors. Avoid using too many colors or shades that can make your icon look messy or chaotic.
Colors can have a strong impact on users’ emotions and perceptions. They can also help you reinforce your brand identity and theme. Choose colors that reflect your app’s personality and appeal to your target audience. Also, make sure that your colors are compatible with different devices and platforms.
Be consistent with your app and branding
Use colors, shapes, fonts, and other elements that align with your app’s look and feel, as well as your unique brand guidelines. This will help you create an immersive experience for users and reinforce your brand identity and theme.
Your app icon should match the style and tone of your app’s user interface and content. It should also reflect your brand’s values and personality. A consistent app icon can help you build trust and loyalty among your users and make them more likely to use your app regularly.
Follow the design specifications for different platforms
A good app icon should be adaptable and compatible with different platforms and devices that your users might use. Avoid using platform-specific elements or features that might not work well on other devices. Instead, test your icon on different platforms and devices to ensure that it looks good and fits well with the system guidelines.
For example, iOS icons have rounded corners and no transparent areas, while Android icons have square corners and can have transparent areas.
Avoid Using Words
When designing your mobile app icon, it’s essential to avoid using words. Having the name of your app on the icon may seem like a good idea, but it takes up valuable space that could be used to make your icon more visually appealing. Besides, most devices already display the name of the app under the icon, so there’s no need to include it on the icon itself. The main goal is to create a memorable element that users will associate with your app, even without seeing the name.
A/B Test Different Versions
Designing the perfect app icon is not an easy task, and you may need to test multiple versions before finding the right one. A/B testing involves creating several versions of your icon and testing them to see which one performs the best.
You can use marketing tools to test how different versions of your icon appear on different operating systems and how easy they are to find among other similar apps. Don’t be afraid to update your icon from time to time, as many popular apps also do this to keep their icons fresh and relevant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a mobile app icon important?
A mobile app icon is important because it represents the first impression of the app and is the first point of contact with the user.
Can I use words in my mobile app icon?
It’s generally recommended not to use words in a mobile app icon because it can be difficult to read on smaller screens and takes up valuable space.
How do I choose the right colors for my mobile app icon?
Choose colors that are associated with the app’s functionality or that match the brand’s color scheme. Vibrant colors are recommended to make the icon stand out.
How do I make sure my mobile app icon is recognizable?
Ensure that the design is unique and memorable, with clear and concise visual elements that are easily associated with the app’s purpose.
Should I hire a professional designer for my mobile app icon?
It depends on your budget and design skills. A professional designer can create a high-quality and unique icon, but it may be expensive. DIY design tools and online design services are also options.
The mobile app icon is a crucial component for achieving your company’s objectives. By utilizing this tool effectively, you can benefit greatly and engage with your users more efficiently. Neglecting the icon could hinder your progress in reaching your goals.
Our tips for designing an app icon can help you get inspired and increase your downloads in online app stores. By implementing these practical techniques, you can achieve your marketing objectives.