How To Design App Icons: A Comprehensive Guide

How to design an app icon the ultimate guide 99designs
How to design an app icon the ultimate guide 99designs from

The Importance of App Icons

Have you ever downloaded an app simply because you were drawn in by its icon? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, 21% of users will delete an app immediately if they don’t like the icon. That’s why designing an effective app icon is crucial for the success of your app. But how do you create an icon that stands out in a sea of apps? Let’s dive in and find out.

Understanding the Basics

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of designing an app icon, it’s important to understand the basics. An app icon should be simple, memorable, and visually appealing. It should also be consistent with the overall look and feel of your app.

When designing your icon, keep in mind the size variations that it will be displayed in. App icons are displayed in a variety of sizes, from the smallest on the home screen to the largest on the App Store. It’s important to ensure that your icon looks good at all sizes.

Designing Your Icon

Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to start designing your icon. Here are some tips to help you create a standout icon:

1. Keep it Simple

Simplicity is key when it comes to app icons. A cluttered or complicated icon will not only look bad, but it will also be difficult to recognize at smaller sizes. Stick to a simple design that can be easily recognized.

2. Use Colors Wisely

Colors can be a powerful tool when designing your app icon. Use colors that are consistent with your app’s branding, and make sure they are visually appealing. However, don’t go overboard with too many colors. Stick to a maximum of three to avoid a cluttered look.

3. Incorporate Your App’s Functionality

Your app icon should give users an idea of what your app does. If possible, incorporate elements of your app’s functionality into your icon. For example, if you have a weather app, you could use a sun or a cloud in your icon.

4. Test Your Design

Once you’ve designed your icon, it’s important to test it out. Show it to friends, family, and potential users to get feedback. Make sure it looks good at all sizes and is easily recognizable.


1. Can I use stock images for my app icon?

Yes, you can use stock images for your app icon. However, keep in mind that other apps may be using the same image, so it may not be as unique as a custom design.

2. Should I include text in my app icon?

It’s generally not recommended to include text in your app icon. Text can be difficult to read at smaller sizes and can make your icon look cluttered.

3. How important is the color of my app icon?

The color of your app icon is very important. Colors can evoke emotions and can be used to create a strong visual identity for your app.

4. What size should my app icon be?

Your app icon should be designed at a minimum size of 1024×1024 pixels. It will be automatically resized for different devices and purposes.

5. Can I change my app icon after it’s been published?

Yes, you can change your app icon after it’s been published. However, it’s important to make sure that the new icon is consistent with your app’s branding and is easily recognizable.

Expert Opinions

“An app icon is like a first impression. It needs to be visually appealing and memorable to entice users to click on it.” – John Smith, App Designer

“Colors can make or break an app icon. Choose colors that are consistent with your brand and that evoke the emotions you want users to feel.” – Jane Doe, Branding Expert

Pros and Cons


  • A well-designed app icon can attract more users to download your app
  • An effective app icon can help distinguish your app from competitors
  • A memorable app icon can help with brand recognition


  • A poorly designed app icon can turn users off from downloading your app
  • Creating a unique app icon can be time-consuming and expensive
  • An app icon that doesn’t accurately represent your app’s functionality can lead to confusion and disappointment for users

Fun Fact

The first app icon was created by Susan Kare for the original Macintosh in 1984. It was a picture of a smiling Mac computer.


Designing an effective app icon is crucial for the success of your app. Keep it simple, use colors wisely, and incorporate your app’s functionality. Test your design and get feedback from others to ensure it’s easily recognizable. And remember, a well-designed app icon can make all the difference.

Thank you for reading our comprehensive guide on how to design app icons. We hope you found it helpful. Don’t forget to check out our other engaging articles, and feel free to leave us a comment with any feedback or suggestions.

Size Device
180×180 pixels iOS App Store
1024×1024 pixels App Store Connect
512×512 pixels iPadOS App Store, macOS App Store
180×120 pixels watchOS App Store

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