Would You Tap That? 4 Tips For Designing Your App’s Icon


You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge an app by its icon.

When it comes to marketing your new app, designing the icon is above all else. From when a user finds it on the App Store, the fanciest code and hottest features will fail to be seen if the icon is lackluster.

Designing a logo may seem simple, but an app is only as good as its branding. Here are a few helpful tips for making sure your icon stands out.

Avoid text

A great icon is worth a thousand words, which is why it is simply not meant to include text. Rather, it should create an identity with a simple glance, letting the user know what they’re getting without a second look.

If you have already designed a logo that uses text, not all hope is lost. Before releasing their smartphone apps, Facebook and Google both used company names as the logo for their respective brands. Today, Facebook’s app icon uses a simple ‘F,’ while Google’s is a colorful ‘G.’

If you’re afraid that users won’t recognize the app without words, remember that the app’s name appears below the icon on every smartphone.


app icon

Consider color

An icon is not meant to be an artistic masterpiece comparable to a work of Monet, but to stand out on a home screen and grab attention.

The best apps use icons with one or two bold colors that stand out on any background. If you’re not sure which color to use, think about how your customer feels when interacting with the app. Cheerful colors like yellow and orange make people happy, while green is associated with money.

However, beware of colors that are too popular. Since blue is the most common favorite color in the world, many apps use a shade of blue for the icon. It may look nice, but your app may be overlooked the next time your customer might use it. If blue is already part of your brand, consider pairing it with another attention-grabbing hue.

Keep it simple

The first interaction a customer will have with your app is viewing the icon on the App Store, and they will quickly judge whether it’s worth a download before reading the description. If it fails this first test, then it won’t be used.

To effectively communicate what your app does, make sure to design a simple logo that is easily recognizable and memorable. Snapchat’s ghost symbol has become so iconic that users will recognize it anywhere on any color scheme.

Icons are especially effective if they clearly convey what the app does. Instagram became popular with its camera icon. Messaging app WhatsApp uses a simple speech bubble.


app store

Think inside the box

You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole, and you can’t fit a long shape into a square icon.

If you’re active on Instagram, you’ll understand the struggle of fitting a rectangle into a square. No matter what operating system your app is on, it will need an icon that can easily fit into a square.

Make sure that the dimensions of your logo are similar enough to fit in a square.

When developing an app, it may seem like designing an icon is of little importance. However, a product is only as good as its brand, and an app is only as good as its icon.

Remember to keep icons sharp, simple, and memorable. Great icons use little to no text, bright colors, simple symbols, and have even dimensions that look nice in a box.