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3 Great Ideas Allowing You To Develop Outstanding Icons for iPhone Apps

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that one of the most vital aspects of an iPhone app is its icon. This is because a large number of visitors browse through scores and scores of apps on the iTunes store, but are most intrigued by the apps that have an attention-grabbing icon and description. Even if your app description is not up to the mark, it is your icon, which will make them want to go through your app at least once. Therefore, you have to pay detailed attention to the design of the app’s icon.

Here are some ideas that will get you started on how to design some note-worthy icons.

1. Avoid using Text/Words

Make it a thumb rule to refrain from using words/text in your icons. Don’t forget the fact that icons are a graphical representation of the entire application and must clearly pass the idea of the app. Thus, using text/words would be a sheer waste. Avoid using up the icon space by using text as it makes the image look cluttered. Also, think for a moment, why to use text when your app will already carry the description along with the icon?

You can however, go for single letter representations, bur only when there is absolutely no way out.

2. Don’t use standard gloss in your icon

Please give the users a break from the icons with standard gloss!

In case you didn’t know, standard gloss is a default feature. When an application is built using Xcode, the icons will by default have a round beveling of their corners with a shine over the topmost part – this is the standard gloss feature. The reason this is the default option, is because it helps maintain an uniformity in the app store.

The standard gloss feature thus, totally ruins your chance of making your icons stand apart from the rest. How do you expect to be noticed if you use this unimaginative feature that is available in every other icon on the iTunes? You’ll only lose your icon among the whole lot of icons looking similar having this very effect and also because, every native icon on the iPhone devices already has it.

3. Tone it down; keep it as simple as possible

You get a 57×57 pixel space to create your icon. Utilize it to provide you maximum benefits. Make a strong concept related to your app and create your icon based on it. Keep in mind that the concept must be strong and be such that it fits aptly on the icon space; making a strong impact on the end-users/target audience.

However, don’t stuff the icon up at your will and keep it simple and minimal instead. Select colors wisely, so that your icon does not show a lack of taste. (It does not mean that you will design a plain and drab looking icon, which is again a major faux pas).

Always remember, that your icon is your first chance to impress your target users and thus, it should be convincing enough. Plan well and work out your icon to emphasize your app concept. By following the above-mentioned features, you can surely design unique icons that can grab the attention of the visitors at one glance.

Written By

Carlos Wilson is an iOS application development professional with MyFirstMobileApp. He has worked on a range of iPhone application development as well as iPad application development projects.



  1. Amanda

    May 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    The most important and useful thing is, of course, to avoid text while creating an icon. It shouldn’t be a text presentation, just as an emblem,graphic

  2. Alexandra

    May 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Mobile apps are hot today. But hiring a programmer is too expensive. I used to make apps. It’s really easy, the web service allows to make mobile apps in minutes, and without programming skills at all. If you are short of time, they can make an app for you very quickly.

  3. Melissa

    May 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Following all these pieces of advice can be the real base for the creation of the most outstanding icons, thanks a lot for sharing

  4. George

    May 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Great article. Do you have similar tips for android users?

  5. Azam

    May 23, 2012 at 2:11 am

    I have recently purchase iphone and these tips are very useful for me. Regards for sharing nice tips.

  6. TracyAnn0312

    May 23, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Simple is beautiful and as a matter of fact most people find apps that can easily be used. Of course we must also know the use of the application you have. Thanks for sharing this wonderful ideas in allowing you develop outstanding icon for iPhone.

  7. Biodun

    May 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    The way you design your iPhone application icon is an important part of the success on the iPhone platform. Yes making it simple and clear is important.

  8. Alec Farell

    May 25, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Thank you for the tips! From time to time, friends ask me to make them icons for their apps, since I am good at Illustrator (or this is what I like to believe) and I will take your advice very seriously.

  9. Peter

    May 31, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Picture speaks a thousand words. A unique icon will surely grab users attention and stand a good chance to be noticed and downloaded.

  10. David

    June 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

    That was a good post and nowadays most of the business involving iphone app development is currently booming. The iphone and also its particular applications surprisingly passed every user’s expectations towards having a smart iphone app icons its really amazing…Keep rocking….

  11. Julia Spenser

    June 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Well, it will be also great to find out about tips for Android applications) Thanks a lot for sharing

  12. Robert rufus

    June 21, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Your ideas are really useful for iPhone app developers. Your post is good. Its really amazing.

  13. Aryan Zx

    July 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Many people like me work for developing iPhone apps. These tips can be helpful for us. I have also noticed that when using text, the icon starts to lose its uniqueness. Thanks for these suggestions.

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