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5 principles for creating a mobile app icon

The success of a mobile application is made up of various factors: appearance, quality, usefulness, uniqueness… And one of the main factors on this list is the icon. It is she who will make the first impression on the user when he sees your product in the store - and his further actions depend on what this impression will be: learn more about the application, or scroll further. In today's huge competition for the user's attention, the application simply needs to have an attractive, memorable and eye-catching icon that can reflect the idea of ​​​​the product and the image of your brand. How to create such an icon? To do this, you need to adhere to several important principles.

5 principles for creating a mobile app icon


The main rule of a quality app icon is the lack of visual clutter. You should avoid an abundance of colorful colors, a large number of graphic elements and small details. The color palette of the icon should match the palette of the application - it is best to combine no more than 2-3 colors. It is also better to stop using animated elements, photos or screenshots on the icon. The best option for an icon is a plain icon with a concise logo.

The presence of a recognizable element

In order for an application to visually stand out among dozens of others on a page in appstores, its icon should have a clear recognizable element that is associated only with a specific product. For example, everyone will immediately recognize the “M” icon on the Gmail icon, the “bird” on Twitter, or the “paper airplane” on Telegram. Such an element should reflect the essence and purpose of the application, give it personality and be combined with the background of the icon.

Minimum inscriptions

For the name of the application, its description and keywords for its search, there are corresponding columns in the appstores. But it is better not to put any inscriptions and words on the icon. Given the tiny size of the icons, labels will only create visual clutter and look blurry and unreadable. The only exceptions in this case are very short inscriptions - for example, the letter G and a hieroglyph on the Google Translate icon, or temporary updates of icons about promotions and sales - in this case, an inscription like “Sale” can be applied to the icon, but it should look organic and do not overlap the main element.

Matching Frame

Regarding the frame for framing the icon, there are no specific rules - you need to focus on a specific case. Some icons look good with well-defined borders, some are fine with thin borders, and sometimes they don't need them at all. To figure out which option is best for your icon, draw several versions - with and without a border - and compare them with each other. Edges should not make the icon heavier, and their absence should not make it blurry. In this case, the color of the icon, shape and design are of great importance.

A/B testing

When creating an icon, it is often difficult for designers to choose the most suitable option from the two in different aspects. For example, between a round or square shape, the presence or absence of a frame, a colored or transparent element, etc. To solve such issues, it is better to conduct A / B testing. One of the options for such testing is the launch of a beta version of the product with two variants of icons for two equal groups of users. Testing tools can help gather data on which icon variation received the most attention and best fits the application.

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