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How to Improve Your App Icon Design

How to Improve Your App Icon Design

Design Process
5 min

With more than 6.5 billion active smartphone users, the mobile app industry is steadily approaching a valuation of $935 billion. As these numbers grow, businesses are increasingly choosing to launch apps to attract new audiences. However, companies need to offer users unique solutions to survive the competition. Details matter often, and the app logo design is one of them.

We know it for a fact, with more than five years of experience in strategy, development, and design. Arounda specialists have realized over 130 successful projects, accumulating vast expertise in branding, UX/UI, and graphic design, and will tell you how to make an outstanding cover for your app. 

Today, we'll discuss how to make your app icons different from the rest and list valuable tips to help you succeed.

Keep Your App Icon Simple

The proper design is one of the critical steps in mobile app development if you are interested in how to make your app icons different. The app logo should be attractive enough as well as easy to decode. Refrain from overloading the icon with lots of features and visual symbols. After all, if the icon is complicated and incomprehensible, it will confuse the user. 

To make your app's cover correlate with the content, choose one symbol or object and emphasize it. It will help your audience form a strong association between the logo and the product. For example, if you are creating a cover for a mobile game, you can use an image of the main character. In other cases, it is better to look for another option.

We also recommend modesty in choosing colors and textures. Because of the small scale, overburdened images will look out of place on the smartphone screen. Instead of attracting attention, a riot of colors and shapes will only irritate the user. And vice versa: a straightforward design will help increase the recognition of your app.

Your App Icon Should Communicate Your App’s Purpose

Along with simplicity, it's important to remember that your icon should clearly communicate your app's function. For convenience, we've prepared a checklist of fundamental principles for creating a logo.

  1. The icon should inherit the aesthetics of the brand
  2. The cover displays the service or primary function of the product
  3. The image shows your unique selling proposition

App icon best practices state that the optimal cover should be easy to understand. At the same time, it conveys the value of the product. For example, apps with a sports theme can contain symbols of a ball, golf club, boxing glove, etc.

If you have doubts about the logo, show it to potential users. You are right if the interviewees decode the program content correctly. We also advise learning the principles of human-centered design we wrote about earlier.

Choose the Right Colors for Your App Icon

How to design your app icons, and which palette to choose? We've already mentioned that it's best to refrain from a riot of colors. Let's talk about it in more detail. To determine the suitable colors, look at your brand book. What tones are there? Select the primary one and accentuate it. In addition, we recommend choosing a couple of additional colors.

The company should also consider that each smartphone's system colors and themes differ. Choose contrasting ones and ensure they look equally good with a light and dark interface. Agree, it would be sad if your app were unreadable for a specific segment of users.

We also suggest examining your competitors' offerings. If similar tools in the niche have a bright design, you can stand out by going minimal and vice versa.

Avoid Using too Much Text in Your App Icon

According to app icon best practices, visual symbols should make the program icon as clear as possible. It can be an object, a letter, or another sign. In any case, we strongly advise avoiding a lot of text. 

The fact is that the text of the icon looks illegible on the smartphone screen. It confuses the audience and makes the app less appealing. The text also makes localization difficult. Limit to the company name if you choose to use words. Make sure the text doesn't overwhelm the icon. And, of course, don't use any slogans.

Use logos for Your App Icon Only in Strong Branding

When your company is widely recognized, using a brand logo for an icon will increase audience loyalty. It will help build a strong image and attract as many users as possible. However, if your company has low brand awareness, you should use the logo cautiously. 

How to improve your app icon design if your company is not widely popular? It is good if your cover image reveals the program's functions. Otherwise, it will be difficult for potential customers to understand its content. Then a straightforward icon will be more advantageous than an unknown logo.

With years of experience in mobile app creation and branding, Arounda knows how to emphasize business personality. Whether it's a delivery service, fintech, or wellness app, we always know how to make the design functional and attractive. Explore our case studies for detail. 

Update Your App Icon For Seasonality

App icon best practices offer mobile devices icon design for every major holiday, such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc. Seasonal updates attract users and let them know that the developers update the product regularly. They also highlight customer care. Your audience sees that you spend time on small but meaningful innovations.

You don't have to completely redesign it to make a seasonal icon. Add some distinctive elements, such as snowflakes/garlands/bows, during winter holidays. It will allow both in-house and freelance designers to get the job done faster, and the effect will remain the same. 

Localize Your App Icon Across Markets

People tend to trust local products more than foreign ones. Therefore, take care of localization. How to design your app icons for foreign consumers? Apart from the language of the interface, adapt the picture of the app according to the region:

  • North America
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Australia 

Think about which hues, elements, and symbols are most relevant for each market. Understanding user psychology will reduce distrust and increase your loyal customer base. You will also be able to stand out from the competition. 

For example, users in Asia tend to prefer a cartoonish style and bright colors in the interface. To reach the global market, many Asian companies make their app icons more low-key and minimalistic.

Differentiate Your App Icon from Competitors

Before you start the design process, do a market analysis. It will be helpful for those wondering How to make your app icon different from others. We advise taking care of this as early as the discovery stage. Study the competitors' offers and consider which solution will bring the best result. By studying similar applications in the niche, you can get valuable ideas and protect yourself from mistakes. 

Think about what styles and techniques will emphasize brand value. Avoiding competition is impossible because the market is constantly filled with new players. So choose an icon that contrasts with other companies. For example, if you notice that most of your competitors use black and blue, choose pink and white. However, mind your app type: for more ‘serious’ ones (like office or financial applications), opting for a calmer palette would be a wise choice. 

The human eye always clings to something bright and unusual. And the more unique your aesthetic is, the more users you will attract.

Learn from Your Competitors and Implement A/B Tests

A/B tests help you understand which smartphone icon cover option will be more successful without risking your business. The fact is that when a brand tests images in a "live environment" (such as the AppStore), it takes about nine days for the store to approve changes. It results in unnecessary waste of time and resources. What tools are most common for A/B testing? 

  • "Five-second test." 
  • UsabilityHub 
  • Pickfu
  • AppTweak 

In addition to the A/B test, we advise you to pay attention to multivariate testing. The point is that the first kind of test involves comparing two types of icons. In a multivariate test, you can compare several images at once.

If you're looking for how to design your app icons, request a consultation from Arounda experts. We'll analyze your brand thoughtfully and study your target audience and competitors to come up with solutions that will bring in the highest conversions.


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FAQ on UI/UX design services

How do I make a good icon design?

A good design is the one that brings in the most downloads. To succeed, use the app icon best practices we listed above. The logo should be simple and clearly explain the benefits of your product. Take care of the clarity of the image, style, and font. They should relate to the industry but be different from the rest.

How do I make my App icon stand out?

In short, six top tips help create a memorable cover. Research analogs, think of a unique symbol, keep it simple, avoid words, pick bright colors, do A/B testing to choose the best version

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