How to Design an App Icon When the Logo’s not Enough
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a particular app? Chances are, it’s the icon. And it’s certainly the first thing a user notices when deciding what app to install — similar to studying the supermarket shelves. A good custom app icon design is a sure way to support a brand, promote the app, make it memorable and differentiate it from the variety of other apps, make people relate to the app, and it’s vital for the App Store and Google Play. Seems like too much for such a small element. An icon is a crafted design element users interact with every time they use an app, so it deserves special attention. And there are tips and practices to help you design a good icon for an app. What is an app icon and why apps need it An app icon is a small piece of unique graphics acting as a symbol for an app, that you can see in app stores, on home screens and menus, etc. But is it the same as the logo? Back in the day, creating icons for an application was a separate branch of the design industry. In the era of skeuomorphism, each icon was a work of art and everyone tried to show off as best they could. Then the flat design came along with full-fledged integrated branding for apps including logos, brand books, promotional websites, illustrations, and icons. So the application icon has become part of the branding and ceased to be something unique. However, it doesn’t make the icon identical to the logo, though both of them are parts of the app’s visual identity. Last year we’ve made an article on the concept of variable logos and their role in modern branding. Variable design is about the refusal of clinging to one particular style in favor of being relevant to the user and building a stronger connection. The disambiguation between the concepts of the app’s logo and its icon is one of the symptoms of this current trend. Still, an icon is not equated to a logo. The thing is, a logo is designed to be present on all marketing materials from the website to flyers, whereas an icon is made for specific purposes and places mentioned above. They are both parts of branding, but different in the way you create them and use afterward, so the reasons for their success are also different. A logo represents the brand. An icon represents a particular app. The icon design is important because it: promotes a brand increases downloads helps retain users. A large portion of an app’s conversion rate is tied to its UI and UX design. A part of it is an icon ability to make it memorable and recognizable thus increasing conversion rate. An icon helps a user better understand the purpose of an app beforehand and relate to it. Roman Rudnik in his article describes 10 app icon design case studies with amazing results — sometimes a new icon design was able to double the app download rates. An icon for the VITAE project by Shakuro The following tips will help you make an amazing and effective app icon for iOS and Android that catches the eye. Mobile app icon design best practices Strive for memorability and uniqueness, analyze your competitors Designing an app icon, » Read More
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