The Subtle Art of Designing a Great App Icon

Featured Image

An app designer’s quest for an engaging app UX has lead to the massive traction around the icon design today. We are a generation of unapologetic phone users. We interact with our phone every now and then on purpose and purposelessly as well. Needless to mention, the icon can be a strong driving factor behind your app interaction and engagement numbers. What seems like a seemingly insignificant piece of virtual design actually features deep running influences on the way humans interact with it. Strict competition in the app world and a quest to catch user attention during the frequent engagements makes it important for every business to lay exquisite focus on its app icon design.


Promatics is a well-renowned mobile app development firm with a proven track record for excellence. We provide start-to-finish mobile app development services including app icon design. Our designers work with a principled approach, following platform design guidelines to design app icons that serve as click-bait for target audiences. Here are some useful insights into the world of app icon design to help young app business owners and icon designers:


Significance of App Icons

Quaint by size, app icons make or break an app’s success. When a user visits an app store, an app icon makes the first visual impression that he/she garners and thus is of distinct importance for every app based business. App icon design is also important from a business marketing point of view. An app icon is significantly different than a logo. While logos are designed to represent a company’s product or brand, an app icon identifies and represents a business’s application only. App icons can be defined as a small pictographic representation of what your mobile application is. An attractive app icon ensures an increased number of downloads and installs.  From increasing the number of downloads and advertising your app’s look at communicating your app’s function, an app icon works in mysterious ways to upgrade the ROI of a business. This gives all the app based businesses a reason to work on their app icons creatively.


Significance of an App Icons


How to Design a Captivating App Icon Design?


I.) Keep App Business’ Goals in Mind while Designing an App Icon

As discussed above, there is a significant difference between a logo and app icon. When it comes to designing an app icon for your own app business, it’s imperative that you keep the goals of your business in mind. If an app icon is what would lure a user to look at an app seriously and choose if he wants to download it or not, the icon design must give him/her reasons to make an affirmative choice. Icon design which communicates the core essence of your application business is often a success in the long term.


Keep App Business Goal in Mind while Designing an App Icon


II.) Be Upbeat with Current Design Trends when Designing App Icon

No strict rules apply when it comes to designing app icons except a few very basic. Ideally, an icon must be the preview of what the app looks like when being used, as that can help the branding of the business. Designers are required to consider the submission size when they work on the app icon. However, to assist various app icon designers both Google and Apple have put in place some creative guidelines about icon design.  For an app icon design that’s in sync with current design scenarios, its best to refer to these guidelines. A modern looking app becomes more popular with users as compared to the ones those appear outdated.


Creative Guidelines about Icon Design


III.) Communicate Your Apps Function Through Design of the Icon

Inadequate app icon design can be beguiling for a user. App Stores like iOS and Google Play are appropriate to show windows of icon designs that are bland and convey little. The icon is the first thing about your app that the user sets his/her eye on and it is bound to happen every time they cross your app on the store or on your phone. A smart designer uses the icon to connect to the user in a strong way. Every business must get the app icon designed keeping their target audiences in mind. For example, a fun gaming app for kids must feature an icon with vibrant hues or an office management app icon must use pictograms that spell convenience.


IV.) Consider Platforms During the Design Phase in the Making of an App Icon

An app icon must be designed for either Android or iOS. Visually similar, both the app icons are different in size and style. Because an app icon would be featured in several places throughout the platform, and at several sizes, it needs to be legible and unique in all sizes. It needs to look good on the App Store, on Retina devices and even in the Settings panel.

Consider Platforms During the Design Phase in the Making of an App Icon


For Android devices, launcher icons can vary from 96×96, 72×72, 48×48, or 36×36 pixels. Guidelines for Android recommend 864 X 864 pixels as a good starting artboard size that allows easier tweaking. On the other hand, app icons should be sized at 1024×1024 pixels for iOS. Both Android and iOS app icons must be saved as PNG files.


V.) Focus on Recognisability of Icon Design for Users

No matter how intricate or simple, a desirable app icon needs to be a product of creative thinking. Good designers embellish the app with an interesting design, shape, colour scheme to connect to the sense of memory, emotions etc. A consistent app icon throughout the app adds greatly to the visual narrative you strive to create enhancing the recognisability. To build up a recognisable icon for your app business, avoid decorations on the app icon design too.

How to Get an App Icon Designed?

To DIY the app icon design for your business you can choose from common design programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Sketch. Photoshop helps you excel at raster effects, Illustrator allows you to create complex vector shapes, and Sketch opens up the privileges of built-in app templates. But app icon design as we know it is an art of multiple technical nitty-gritty like all the elements must render recognizably at the smallest of sizes, vector-based icons must be scalable to be used in oversized proportions as well etc. It is a fair amalgam of creativity and technicality which is something best left to professionals in the field.


If you are an app business owner, you need to decide if you want to hire a specialist app icon designer or you want to outsource the design part to a mobile app development company with a proven track record. It is best to assign the designer of your app UI to design the app icon as well to maintain a visual cohesiveness throughout the app. We at Promatics, have a team of prolific techies and designers who work in close co-operation to design an app with an icon that lives up to the app experience being offered.

Ready to Take the Next Step?


Rahul Singh

Sr. App Developer

Rahul has been associated with the apps industry for more than 9 years now. He has seen the apps economy grow from its nascent days to a full fledged industry with its complete ecosystem as of today. His interest lies in pursuing and getting to know the best app development technologies, processes and platforms. He is truly an app enthusiast. In his free time he loves playing console games and reading history.

Still have your concerns?

Your concerns are legit, and we know how to deal with them. Hook us up for a discussion, no strings attached, and we will show how we can add value to your operations!

+91-95010-82999 or