How to Create an Appealing iOS App Icon

App Icon - a guide for visual optimization. So, you need an application - you go to the App Store and enter your search query in the search bar, thereby forming the search results of relevant applications. In case you are not looking for a specific app (when you know precisely its name or brand), your choice will fall on the one with the most attractive visual components.

The icon and its effect on the download of the application

The icon is the reason why the application page is opened in the store. This is an extremely important visual in the App Store. Let's also remember that visual images are processed faster by our brain than textual information. That is why text optimization is for the App Store; visual optimization is for the user.

Not really - let's figure it out. A logo is a symbolic representation of a brand, its fundamental values, ​​and its goals. Sometimes an icon can contain brand elements or even consist entirely of a logo itself. But do not equate these two concepts.

As often happens, especially when we are talking about games, the logo will be the image of the brand of the developer company, and the icon will contain game elements, part of the process, or a game character. For example, the well-known company EA Games and its logo. And several application games presented on the App Store:

However, if you are a decently established, well-known brand, feel free to add your logo to the app icon in any way, but do not focus on it.

How to create app icon for IOS: App Store technical requirements

The technical requirements are fully provided in the App Store Developer Information.

Technical compliance is the most straightforward step you take towards a great app icon. Therefore, we have also collected the most valuable tips for you and tried to answer the question:

How to create the app icon as attractive as possible for the user?

  • Simple and straightforward app icon.

Clarifying, not confusing the user - this is the main thing in the icon. Don't forget about the target audience, using the correct elements and colors. Try to convey the meaning of the application in several elements.

  • Stick to your brand's color specs or color scheme.

If your app has a specific color scheme, you shouldn't design visuals outside that style. This will simplify the experience and create a coherent user experience for the application. You shape the expectations of users - what to expect when they open the application.

  • The icon is not equal to the logo.

As we discussed above, a logo is more about a brand. Therefore, the icon should reflect the application. For example, Nike swoosh makes it clear that the app is about sports. But if your logo is unknown to anyone and does not evoke clear associations, you should not use it as an application icon.

  • Add borders.

We recommend using borders in your icon. Frames make the icon stand out and make it more visible when searching and browsing stores.

  • Dark or light smartphone theme.

Adapt your icon to display it correctly on both light and dark phone themes.

  • Don't use text - leave words for text optimization.

See the first tip. The text makes it difficult to read; it makes the icon overloaded with elements.

  • Check out niche trends.

If we are talking about thematic applications, there are typical elements and color schemes specific to this segment. For example, a dream book or meditation application usually has visual colors ranging from blue to purple.

In this case, we recommend creating an icon for IOS apps in the same color palette.

  • A / B testing is a must!

To get an unambiguous answer - what kind of visual design your users will like, based on conversion rates.

  • Working with seasonality and holidays.

It is a good practice to update your icon for holiday events or changing seasons. Add associative elements - during the New Year holidays, you can add snow, snowflakes, and other attributes. It's easy to create an icon for Halloween by adding pumpkins, spider webs, or scary details. This will show users that you are continuing to use the app and can improve conversion rates.

  •  The two main strategies - to be very similar to competitors, or not to be at all.

Keep in mind, a very similar app icon to the leading competitors will allow you to adhere to niche rules and significant trends but will not make you stand out from their background. On the other hand, a completely different icon can confuse users.

  • The icon looks great at any scale - think big, but consider the size of the icon.

It must be understandable and readable at any display scale.

  •  Consider the platform specifics (App Store, Gallery, Google Play, Huawei).

Before creating an icon, carefully study the technical requirements of the platform for iOS. Don't rely on versatility. Explore the icons of competitors of different stores, and create other icons for each app store.

  •  Don't forget about icon updates and new trends.

Try new things, track changes in stores and their main directions. Don't leave the work of updating and improving the app icon.

  •  Follow the platform guidelines.

The App Store does not recommend, for example, using transparency in the icon, and we also follow these recommendations.

These were the basic tips on how to create an icon for an iOS app. To grab the attention of users, follow the current market trends, track the position of your app, compare with competitors and work on the most attractive icons. 

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