4 tips for creating eye-catching app icon designs

99designs Team

Mobile phone applications have become seamlessly integrated into almost every facet of our daily lives. We use them to locate the nearest five-star pizza joint, provide real-time snapshots of our bank accounts and pass the time by pummeling pigs with angry birds.

Seemingly, there is an app for everything, if not several. In such a saturated marketplace — one vulnerable to the whims of aesthetically aware and easily underwhelmed consumers — a great app icon design may prevent your mobile masterpiece from joining the ranks of the overlooked and ignored.

1. Keep it simple

As is with most things graphic design, less is more. Your app’s icon is meant to articulate its essence and should do so with an aesthetically appealing, yet simple and informative graphic. Since an icon’s real estate can get quickly cluttered… keep colors, patterns, images and text to a minimum.

Keep it simple apps

For more on simplifying designs, click here.

2. Use color wisely

While a little eye candy can go a long way, an app icon riddled with bright and garish colors will quickly overwhelm the viewer. Avoid patterns and restrict your palette to two or three colors. If you must use a multicolored foreground, a monochromatic backdrop will keep your icon tidy.

Use color wisely apps

For more about how to use color, and how it impacts emotions and behaviors, click here.

3. Limit text

The mobile world has little tolerance for text-heavy apps and an app icon may require no text at all. A simple graphic, like your trademark, should be enough to view what your app does. If your icon does require text, restrict it to one line. If the text doesn’t fit on one line, is illegible or is so small that it is indecipherable, avoid text all together.

Limit text app

4. Be consistent

An app’s icon should have the same colors as the body. If the app’s page features earth tones, your icon should not have neon pinks and greens.

Be consistent apps

We are a culture that highly values outward appearance and an app icon design is critical to making a good strong and lasting impression.

What is your favorite app icon design? Share it in the comments below.

Related articles

The fundamentals of responsive website design

The fundamentals of responsive website design

The days of designing a website for a single desktop screen are well and truly over. Technology and the expansion of mobile websites are pushing web designers to re-think how their work is displayed across various devices. Think about it: how much browsing do you do every day on your phone vs. your desktop? Enter:…

30 beautiful mobile apps for design enthusiasts

30 beautiful mobile apps for design enthusiasts

With an ever-growing supply of mobile apps, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd—both in functionality and design. With that in mind, we sloshed through app stores to handpick 30 beautiful mobile apps that designers and design enthusiasts will love. We’ve organized this article into seven sections, so you can easily find the mobile app that fits…

The design apps you need to know about

The design apps you need to know about

The number of design apps out there is simply staggering. Think of any handy tool—calendars, sketch programs, color palette generators, font references—and you’ll find a dozen apps for it, each with slightly different functionality. What is more, almost all of them are well designed (they are made for a demanding market, after all). So how do…

Current Design Contests

Designers, check out these contests so you can start building your career.
0%