There are about 2.2 million mobile apps on the Apple app store and around 2.8 million apps on the Google play store. This number is only growing and that too at a massive scale.
With the growing numbers of mobile apps, the app store has become nothing less than a battleground where every single mobile app is fighting for its space.
In this cut-throat environment, you must ensure that not only your mobile app icon stands out from the crowd but is also compelling enough for users to download the app. The very least it should do is to get them interested in your app.
If you are looking to convert your WooCommerce website into mobile app then you must pay utmost attention to details, and a very critical element of the mobile app design is the app icon.
In this blog, we will discuss the importance of an app icon and how to create successful digital icon designs that promote your apps for better search result ranks.
First impression is the last impression
It is well known that “the first impression is the last impression” and in regard to mobile app icons, we couldn’t agree more.
Due to the sheer number of mobile apps in the market, you do not get a second chance to make an impression upon a potential client.
The app icon is the first thing that a potential customer notices about the app. It must intrigue, tell a story and more importantly evoke certain emotions in them that make them curious enough to find more about your app.
Most importantly, it must pictorially represent your brand and what you stand for.
Importance of a compelling icon design
Icon designing is a critical phase that requires an in-depth brainstorming and understanding of not only what your business is about but also your target audience. Whether your business a blog or news, an eCommerce website or solves a different business problem entirely, a thorough insight is important.
The best approach is to revisit the basics, which we will discuss later in this article.
That being said, the icon design must also be simple enough to convey the message immediately and accurately. As a good rule of thumb, if a user spends more than 5 seconds to comprehend your app icon, they’ll move over to another app in the market.
Therefore, it becomes even more imperative to design a compelling app icon that outshines your competitors.
App icon & ASO
The mobile app icon is not only important as it is the representation of your mobile app and your brand but also beacuse it plays an important role in the App Store Optimization of your mobile application.
A well-designed appealing icon will attract a lot of visitors and compel them to install and use your app. This will indicate the app store markets that your mobile app is being well received by the audience.
This will eventually result in increased search result rankings for your app which will in turn help increase the number of downloads and visitors to your app listing page.
Icon design tips
Here we will discuss the basics of app icon design and many other tips for creating a compelling app icon for your mobile application. These tips are from the industry experts and come straight from their experience of making multiple mobile app designs.
Do note that these tips and tricks are to be followed only where applicable. Since the design is a greatly subjective topic, your own instincts and creativity will take you a long way. Originality is of utmost importance.
The following are some of the best tips, tricks & industry practices to direct you towards success.
Have a minimalistic design as much as possible. Not only is it in trend but it also promotes easy brand recognition.
An app icon with too many elements can create a lot of confusion in the audience and tends to not convey the message easily. The app icon should be simple to understand and not complicated.
The audience’s attention is very fickle and they will not take a second before switching to a different app.
It is not easy to create a clean & minimal design but a good approach is to include all the main elements and then filter them one by one based on the importance and relevance to the brand.
At the end of the day, the icon should convey the message in the lowest number of design elements as possible.
As discussed earlier, minimal design is not only easily recognizable but also very simple to understand. It makes it very simple for the audience to register the design in their memory.
A simple to understand design greatly increases the brand recall value and conveys the message easily. An overcrowded icon with too many colors, fonts, and other design elements will only create confusion in potential customers’ head.
Simplicity has been a major contributor to the success of many mobile apps in the past. Let us look at more such mobile app icons.
Select colors wisely
This is one of the most important factors that decide the fate of the app icon’s success and eventually the success of the mobile application.
The color palette you select can create a long-lasting impression on your users. Make sure that it very well compliments the colors of the mobile app UI and the brand themes. This ensures that there is no conflict in the mind of your users.
Do understand that different colors invoke different emotions. Colors are always strategically selected based on the response from the target audience. Think of the colors that will get you the maximum attraction from your audience.
Have a look at the chart below to understand the impact of colors on your audience. Understand how different colors can be utilized to evoke certain emotions.
Lastly, do not forget to research what colors your competitors are using. Most probably they have selected colors that get a good response amongst your target audience. This also helps you get inspiration from your peers in the industry.
That being said, do note that taking inspiration is fairly different from copying someone’s design. We will discuss how copying anyone else’s design is a bad idea and can cause more damage than any good, in the next section of this article.
Pro tip: It is always a good practice to have a background color for the icon so that it doesn’t blend with any other background when downloaded on a user’s mobile devices.
Originality & Authenticity
As discussed earlier, make sure that your design is original and is not already being used by anyone else. This is a must-do since having an icon similar to anyone else’s design will not only bring negative credit for your brand but will also help increase the recall value for your competitor’s brand.
You do not want anyone to look at your app icon and remember someone else’s mobile application. Having an original yet appealing design will build recall value for your own brand and bring a lot of attention from your target audience. It’ll help your app stand out in the market and help improve the audience engagement multi-folds.
Pro tip: Avoid using stock images, shapes, and photographs. There is a great chance that someone has already used this freely available design for their app icon.
Test the icon on different wallpapers
The mobile app goes from the app store to your clients’ mobile devices. Which is why you must ensure that you test the app icon design in different backgrounds and not just the app store listing page.
The app icon should stand out in different wallpapers and different color backgrounds.
Many mobile devices have the option to set the shape of their apps as well, make sure that you test that your design suits all shapes, be it square or a circle.
Sometimes even great looking designs do not look so good when constrained in specific dimensions. This is why you should make sure that your design or the brand logo looks good across all dimensions or alternatively design the app icon based on your brand logo such that it represents the brand and also appears appealing in the app store market and also fits within the mobile device as well.
The app store pre-defines the size specifications for the app icon design files. Make sure that you follow these specifications at all times. Below are the design size, format and resolution specifications listed for both Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
- iPhone: 180px × 180px (60pt × 60pt @3x) | 120px × 120px (60pt × 60pt @2x)
- iPad Pro: 167px × 167px (83.5pt × 83.5pt @2x)
- iPad, iPad mini: 152px × 152px (76pt × 76pt @2x)
- App Store: 1024px × 1024px (1024pt × 1024pt @1x)
- Format: PNG
Google Play Requirements
- 32-bit PNG (with alpha)
- Dimensions: 512px by 512px
- Maximum file size: 1024KB
We all know that design is highly subjective and no one knows the sure shot solution to a perfect app icon design. And, by the end you’ll have multiple design options to go for. In this case, you can leverage the power of A/B testing to your advantage.
This is the best way to figure out the best design for your mobile app. Studies have shown that A/B tests have increased the app page performance by up to 26%.
Release different designs to different sets of your target audience and judge by the response each design gets.
Final checklist for app icon optimization
Now that we have discussed the best practices and top tips for the perfect app icon design for your mobile app, here’s a final checklist for your reference. These points summarize the guidelines discussed above that you must implement every time you design an app icon.
1. Meet the size & format specifications
2. The icon must represent your brand
3. Right colors for the right audience
4. Originality in design
5. Competitor research & analysis
6. Simple and easy recognition
7. Test, take feedback & optimize further
Mobile app designing can be a daunting task at first in your app strategy. Therefore, we have broken down this mammoth task into simple chunks so that you can easily design the app icon for your mobile application.
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