Winning design by emja

Create a friendly, dynamic icon for a children's storytelling app.

inuwali picked a winning design in their icon or button contest. For just $399 they received 155 designs from 19 designers.

Here’s a peek at the client’s brief

Contest title


Create a friendly, dynamic icon for a children's storytelling app.


tapStory is an iPad app that fosters open-ended creative play between children and their picture books.

Background information

Organization name

Playful Art LLC

Description of the organization and its target audience

tapStory is an iPad app that fosters open-ended creative play between children and their picture books. A book in tapStory becomes a story. Each page becomes a scene. Readers move, resize and rotate the characters and objects in the scene as they read the text aloud. As they play, tapStory records their actions and their voices as a performance that can be saved and played back.

While many apps exist for children's books, too few of them engage the child's imagination in real ways, and most of them come bundled with pre-done animation and narration. These apps are interactive without being deeply engaging. Children are naturally free with their creativity, and I designed tapStory to allow this inborn gift to flow abundantly and unrestricted. Stories come with no other content besides the creators' original work—all interaction is completely driven by the child. The story changes each time it is read. A story in tapStory takes the imagination of the author and illustrator and amplifies it through the child's play.

Have a look at the video here ( to see the app in action. (You'll have to ignore the name Storia; I have not updated the video for the final app name.)



Content details


I need an icon for this app. tapStory is friendly, engaging, creative and dynamic; these qualities should be conveyed by its icon. Its themes are stories and creative play. It is an iOS 7-only app, so the icon should be closer to those design guidelines and not to those of iOS 6. (For example, no gloss, excessive textures or faux-3D.) Remember, this is an iOS icon, so it should be a rounded square according to Apple's dimensions.

I have a basic idea already; see the attachment. I need an icon based on these elements which creates a character that is in keeping with the personality of the app. A successful design should read equally well as a semicolon and a finger, and as winking eyes and a smile with a tooth.

I think that the work based on my starting point will primarily involve proper choice of proportion, contrast, shape and harmony of the predefined elements. (e.g. How does the finger curve? How thick/big is it? How big are the eyes? How far apart are they placed?) These decisions will affect the personality of the character (wacky, subtle, cute, charming, mischievous, etc.). They can also affect perception of whether the character is looking towards you or towards the side.

At least 50% of your submitted designs should be variations on the finger/smile and semicolon/eyes. However, if you have ideas that you think might work equally well, please submit those. For those designs, keep in mind:

- The personality of the app mentioned above
- The icon should be a character of some sort; as such it should have a face (unless you can convince me that you can convey friendliness without the use of a face)
- You cannot use existing characters from one of the stories in the video, because the app is designed to have a large library of stories
- The name of the app is tapStory, so an icon calling those two words to mind is especially powerful branding
- I am intentionally avoiding any reference to or iconography of books in the app; icons should avoid that as well