App icons: You don't get a second chance to make a first impression

By Laura Nijhuis

It's Monday night and you're on your phone a little bored. You open the app store to see if there's another fun app to download; maybe a game or something to read. You start searching and are bombarded with choices: thousands of apps match your search. You briefly scroll through the top few options and then choose the app that appeals to you the most. The reason that this particular app appeals to you is probably because the icon stands out or because it looks familiar. When you yourself need an app icon for your app, the one that jumps out obviously should be your app! In the sea of apps, you want yours to stand out. And a sea of apps, it certainly is....

Apps galore!

Statista reported that the Apple App Store offered around 2 million apps in 2018, and the Google Play Store about 2.1 million apps. The company also reported that some 205.4 billion apps were downloaded in 2018, and roughly 258.2 billion apps are expected to be downloaded by 2022 - quite a lot of growth! So with the huge range of apps available, an app must be able to compete well. Otherwise, it will get lost in the mass of apps on offer and that is of course not your intention! Making a good first impression is important. You do that by having a good app icon! But how does that work exactly?

App icons

Simple and minimalist

KISS - Keep it simple, stupid! This acronym is widely used in the graphic design industry, and it stands for simplicity and minimalism. When designing an app icon, this is very important; after all, the space of an icon is small. Therefore, the limited area of an app icon should never appear too busy. The consumer must be able to understand the app in 1 glance, and if the icon is very busy this will not be possible. This is why minimalist icons are often better than very busy icons. Just look at the apps on your own phone - most apps will probably have a simple, quiet icon!

"You want to avoid a bad first impression, of course."

Premium looks

If an app icon looks cheap, the app will be thought of negatively. Consumers will think the app will not be good because it looks cheap. Just think about how many apps you didn't want to download because of the cheap-looking icon! Therefore, the app icon must look good. So How you can do this? Get a good designer! Someone with experience and who moves well with the times.

Color usage

Using a nice, eye-catching color makes an icon stand out. Of course, it's best to use your company's color, since that ties in with the branding. In addition, it also immediately establishes a connection between app and company. When your app stands out among all the other apps, a consumer is more likely to download it - and that is exactly the goal! Take a look at your the apps on your phone; you'll see that many of them use a relatively bright, eye-catching color.

"Test your icon on different backgrounds."

Stand out everywhere

You don't just want to stand out in the app store, you also want to stand out on the consumer's device! It often happens that an app is downloaded, but then not used. You want to prevent that. This can be accomplished by making the app attractive on different backgrounds. By testing an icon on different backgrounds, you can find out if the icon is suitable.

The bottom line is that you only have one chance to make a first impression - so make sure it's a good one! If you get it right, you will stand out in the sea of apps for all the right reasons. Still finding it difficult to design a good app icon? Then you're always welcome to give us a call.

Written by
Laura Nijhuis

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