5 Rocking App Icons and How to Make Your Own

Posted in February 2017 by Elisa Mourão

App Marketing

In a dark nightclub there are hundreds of boys and girls blended together. If your intention is to find a pair, you must stand out, otherwise you will be just one more in the crowd. So, what should you do? You should choose a nice clothing item that matches the type of person you are looking for and also one that goes well with the environment. Well, what does that have to do with apps? Everything.

In an app store, like in a nightclub, there are hundreds of apps and if your app doesn’t stand out, people won’t download it. Still, what does it have to do with the appearance?

Just like a person in a club, the reason why a conversation starts is because the way the person looks may attract another one. Likewise, the first thing that a person sees in an app store, even before the name of the app, is the icon. The app icon is already the first step of the experience of the user. When the icon looks attractive, the user already assumes that some care was taken while developing the app and that, consequently, he or she will have a good experience using it.

Tips for creating a successful app icon

There are some basic steps that are important to be followed in order to create a successful app icon. We have thought about what convincing app icons do have in common and have found the following tips for you. Please keep in mind, that these tips have to be followed carefully. It still comes down to your audience, what kind of app icon works the best.

Make it unique

You app icon must be easily recognizable. A user has to understand what it is as soon as he or she sees it. If the app icon is too complicated, the user won’t make an effort to understand what your app features are about.

Be careful with colors

An app icon should let your app stand out in search results. It can be colorful, but not too colorful. Make sure, it’s not visually polluted, and therefore, the potential user won’t stop to pay attention to it.

Keep it simple

Avoid photos and texts in app icons. Most usually, an app icon is shown in a small space. So photos and texts pollute too much the icon making it less attractive. Keep detailed graphics for the website or screenshots.

Show what’s inside

The icon should let the user indicate, what the app is about. Keep in mind, that the icon is the first thing, a user sees. So, make sure everyone knows immediately, that your app is what he or she is searching for.

Test it in various situations

Don’t forget to test the app in several variations. You have to find out what your users like, so A/B testing is recommendable. Also, test the icon in different backgrounds, to know how it looks like in search results, on your app page or as a launcher icon (app shortcut on the smartphone). The users must easily find your app, so that they keep on using it and don’t forget about it.

Stay consistent

The icon is your identity. People should recognize it in different situations. So, make sure your logo and icons is communicated with the identity of the app, regarding, colors, shapes, content, etc.

Make it competitive

The app icon is the strongest connection between the app and the user. It is important to check out what your competitors are doing in order to do it differently. By doing this, you are going to stand out from the crowd. Many times, a person sees an app in someone else’s mobile and gets interested in it. Later, this potential user may try to download this app, but somehow he/she can’t remember exactly its name, only what it is about. However, if the icon communicates with the app, the potential user is going to identify easily which app he is searching.


Successful cases


We chose this icon as it is both, clean and informative. Fretello is an app for practicing your guitar skills and the icon shows it. The f for Fretello reminds us of a clef and the lines in the background may represent guitar strings. With its accuracy and color scheme, the icon stands out from the other competitor ones.

fretello app icon


It is a hard game to explain, but really simple to play. That’s exactly what the icon transmits, and at the same time, it is still appealing. We love the minimal and clear design.


Device 6

It is a game of mystery inspired by literature. The icon brings this vintage vibe, and at the same time carries the colors of the game maintaining the identity.



Just because it is an app for kids, it doesn’t mean that the icon should be tacky. This one is cute enough to attract kids and maybe even their parents. It stands out in the crowd because it doesn’t follow the pattern of super colorful apps for kids. On the contrary, it has a smooth design and it isn’t exaggerated.



This icon is so pretty and lively that the user is already opening it before knowing what is it about. However, the icon has everything to do with the app that is focused on completing tasks.


The app icon is one way of optimizing your app in an app store. However, there are other types of optimization that can be crucial to the success of your app. App Radar helps you to track them and measure the performance of your app. Check out more about the fastest tool to grow your downloads: https://appradar.com/

Elisa Mourão
Elisa graduated in Communication at PUC-Rio (Brazil) and has a Master Degree in Screen Culture by University of Roehampton (UK). Even though she is the Brazilian cliché born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, she loves visiting cold places.

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