How To Design A Perfect Icon For Your Mobile App

You have got an idea and now you want to convert it into an app. However, developing an app that gets millions of downloads isn’t a cakewalk. There are over 2.7 million apps on Google Play and 2.2 million on Apple’s App Store but just a few stand out.

Although there is no predefined pathway for developing an app that thrives, yet there are some things that are obligatory for developing a successful app. From the app name to a perfect description and an attractive logo are some of those obligatory things. 

While the name and description are important, an app icon is even more. Why? Because an app icon is the first thing that any user would notice! 

On average, there are around 41 apps that are used by a user on a regular basis. And in order to make your app get in that list, you need an irresistible app icon. Or else, you will have a tough time in convincing people to download as well as regularly using your app. 

In this article, we’ll be talking about how to design a perfect icon for your mobile app but before proceeding with it, let’s see what an app logo really is.

What is an App Icon?

In order to create a perfect app icon, you first need to know what actually an icon is. To put simply, an icon is a visual anchor that represents your brand. It is something like a tiny piece of branding, that helps your brand to communicate the essence of your brand. 

Oftentimes people think that icons are logos but that’s not true. While both of these are certainly used for branding, they still differ a lot. A logo is a graphical representation of a company’s name usually made up of texts. Whereas as an icon is a graphical representation of about anything that helps to communicate a message instantly. 

Now that you understand what an app icon is, it’s time to show you the core aspects of an icon that is some best practices for designing perfect icons.

5 Core Aspects To Consider While Designing An App Icon-


Scalability without any doubts is one of the most important aspects of an icon. This is basically because your app icon is going to be represented at a number of places throughout the platform and of course, are different sizes. And wherever it’s shown, it has to look perfect and not distorted. 

For thus you need an icon that looks simple yet compelling. Icons overloaded with graphics or other design elements fall victim to bad scalability. 


There are zillions of apps in the app stores and each of the apps has its own icon. What’s the purpose of those icons? To make the app look unique and distinctive when someone looks for the first time to it. 

You need to spend time and money on research before you finalize an icon for your app. Look at some of your competitors and check out the features of their icon and try to design that differs with those icons so that your icon looks distinctive. 

It might sound like a daunting task at first but there are several ways to do this. Try to communicate with different people and ask for suggestions regarding how your designs look. Seek advice from your relatives, coworkers, and friends and ask what impression is your icon drawing on them. This will help you to come up with something that actually looks unique yet creative.


The primary objective of an app icon is to hook users and make them use your app. But it isn’t certainly possible if they don’t understand your idea. It is advisable to create icons that are simple, easy to remember and of course, reflects your brand. But simple doesn’t mean boring, it just means that the icon isn’t overloaded with several unnecessary elements. 

The idea here is to make it easy to remember so that the users easily get hooked to your app and downloads it without looking for other options. 


As the icon is a part of your application, it’s necessary that both work hand in hand. It’s the responsibility of the icon to describe the main features of the app and what domain is it serving. 

If someone misunderstands your app’s domain, he or she is likely to uninstall it immediately and that will leave a negative impact of your app. It’s better to not include screenshots or interference elements in any type of icons. It’s advisable to use elements that properly describes the domain as well as the objective of your app. 

Compliance With Guidelines

You might assume that the Play Store by Google and Apple’s App Store are similar but they are a lot different in reality. And so you need to have different app icons for both the platforms. Users are used to their operating system and that’s why they need app icons that completely resonates with the operating system’s guidelines. The more we understand this fact, the more we build trust.

It doesn’t mean that the icons should be completely different but rather just a few tweaks can suffice. You can tweak with the size, shape of the frame and maybe the color palettes. Just make sure that all the icons look similar so that none gets confused while hopping from one operating system to another. 

These 5 points were the core aspects that you need to focus on while designing an app icon. For developing icons as per the guidelines of operating systems, you can check out the following links:

So now we are done with the core aspects and the next part of the article is how to design a perfect icon.

How To Design A Perfect Icon For Your Mobile App

You know what in an icon and what are the things that you need to consider while designing an app but do you know how to do it?

Whenever you ask a designer, you might get different answers every time but one thing is for sure that all the answers will resonate to each other. So, here’s what most of the answers are going to be like-

Know The Design Standards

As aforementioned, both Google as well as Apple have their own set of guidelines that suggests how an icon should look like. The guidelines are created in order to maintain the industry standards and the ongoing trends. And if you follow these guidelines the chances are your app icon will receive more downloads. 

Recently, Google has implemented a new design language for Android called Material Design. Material design is basically an extensive set of guidelines that helps in designing a cohesive visual interface. For designers who love to contribute to this cohesive look and feel, a throughout document has been released by Google on Material Design. 

In the same way, Apple too has its own set of guidelines that you need to follow in order to launch an app over there. While Apple’s guidelines are handy for iOS developers they aren’t as in-depth as Google’s Material Design. 

Reflecting Your App’s Feel

So it’s quite obvious that your app icon needs to reflect the look as well as the feel of your brand. 

You need to be quite clear about what the icon needs to represent.

Let me illustrate with an example, imagine you bought a mobile of a certain brand and after you open the box, you saw that it is a different model. You must feel like you’ve been cheated. 

So, for making the feel and look of your app stay similar, you need to use a similar kind of app design and app icon. For example, if your app design follows Google’s Material Design guidelines, the icon should also be following the same.

Communicate Your App’s Features

You must-have apps like calculator, calendar or flashlight in your smartphone. These apps generally make the user feels like they got the utility under their fingertips. Your app should similarly be inspiring the sense of utility. 

Moreover, beyond this, your app icon should also instantly get recognized and communicate what the user should expect from the app. Design an icon that adheres to the described points. 

Get A Designer

While you can have an entire set of teammates who might be looking after the graphics department of your business, as a one-person business you can also hire freelancers to do the job for you.

Find a suitable designer who is handy with most of the designing software like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Inkscape. Also, make sure that he or she has experience regarding designing a similar type of icons.

Direct Your Requirements

Not that you know all the important aspects of designing an icon, it’s now your job to direct the designer about what your expectations from the final design. 

Also, let him or her know what’s your preferred operating system for launching your app or else you want different versions for different platforms.


Your app icon is one of the most important things that you need to consider while creating a branding strategy for your app. So in order to do it in the right way, you need to make sure that you’re taking all the necessary steps. 

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