Designing A Killer Icon For Your App


App icon is a powerful tool and your main task - as a designer - is to make it work on you, not against. You just need to craft a tiny image that would look unlike any other icon, convey the essence of your app and look attractive.

Sounds quite challenging, huh?

But luckily there are some basic principles you can use to create a good icon, that single piece of graphic design that will be immediately recognised and strongly associated with your application.

Point 1. Scalability
Brevity is everything, not only when it comes to words but also visuals. The image you create needs to be scalable to look good across all devices and platform pages where people can see it.
** Make it simple and laconic as you can.
** Focus on one element and make it center of your icon. It can be a pattern, an item, a character, or whatever you think fits.
** Check how it looks with different backgrounds and test it on device in as many sizes as possible.

Point 2.  Recognisability
To grab attention, your icon needs to look ‘one in a million’, as it will actually be competing with hundreds of other icons on the application store. Moreover, it must communicate the main idea of your app and be logically linked with it.
Finding a perfect balance between something new, something simple (so you can easily scale it) and something meaningful is key to successful icon design that will create the right memories and association with the app in viewer’s mind.
**Remove all minor details without damage to the overall concept. The less details, the better impact.
**Analyse others’ icons that are ‘iconic’ in your eyes. Try to split your experience into components and understand why exactly you like them. Then apply the principles to your own design.

Point 3. Consistency
In a perfect world, your icon would look like part of your app. In a sense that for having better impact on audience, icon should shape the same image that people get when they are “inside” the app.
**Try to keep your icon design consistent with UI, menu, overall design and functionality of the app. It can be achieved through use of same color palette and design techniques.
**If possible, build stronger connection between app and icon by using symbols related to the functionality of your app.

Point 4. Uniqueness
Our entire life is about being not like anyone else, why would it be different for icon design? Unique design that doesn’t have pattern cliches will definitely win you points in recognisability and drive more curious users to the app page.
But unique is always tricky.
**Research the market you are going to enter, analyse icon designs of your competitors to avoid same techniques in your icon.
**Play with colors. Color change is an easy way to paint common things in a whole new light.

Point 5. Wordlessness
Using company’s title or the app title on an icon isn’t a very good idea. Only in exceptional cases it might work well - for example, ‘F’ letter on Facebook icon - but then it sort of loses its linguistic function and becomes iconic.
For example, using ‘3D’ in upper corner of your icon is a good way to draw attention and point out the game’s main advantage.

**Don’t put the app’s name on icon, usually it is written under the icon. Pointless.
**Try to exploit all your creative abilities and unlock potential to express the main idea using only visual means, not words.

These are some of the core rules for creating a good piece of art which will help you on your way to success.
At first sight it will create a win-win impression, at second sight it will invoke a positive association related to user’s experience within an app, at every next sight it will build a strong connection with your users.

Good luck with making 
your own Super iCon! :)
Posted by Renatus on March 30, 2017