App Icon Considerations for ASO Success

Chen Shifer Chen Shifer | 8.12.16

Updated January 2020

Choosing an app icon is an important and significant part of creating the perfect app. It provides content and aesthetics and should communicate your app’s purpose within seconds. It is the most recognizable aspect of your app and is the face of your brand. It’s what users first see when they browse the app store.  It’s also among the first things they see when a phone is opened, assuming you’re successful in getting it downloaded. When designing your app icon, always remember that first impressions matter and take every detail into consideration.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, creating the quintessential app icon is a fundamental element to App Store Optimization. Furthermore, it is an essential part of your marketing plan, namely as the face of your app.  It will appear in app stores, on websites, blogs, and press releases. While a great app icon can’t promise organic downloads or conversions, it can inspire potential users to give your app a second look.

Well thought out and purposeful design isn’t something just for new apps and companies either.  Even the world’s largest brands devote regular attention to improving their optics.  Sometimes these changes are done in the interest of sprucing up a brand that has become stale in viewers’ eyes. While other times it’s to capitalize on a new product or technology.  One such example of this is Microsoft Photo app’s revamped look, inspired by the company’s new design language, Fluent.

Microsoft Outlook Updated Fluent Design app icon
Microsoft Outlook app’s previous design and its new Fluent Design inspired update.

 


It’s important to remember that the quality of your app icon suggests the quality of your app. Therefore, it’s important to invest time in creating a design that conveys a clear and promising message to potential users. Your image needs to provide tangible value that targets the right audience.  When done correctly it will help create loyal brand ambassadors.

Tips for choosing the correct app icon design:

Make sure your app icon draws attention to the right users and stands out in a crowd. Try to keep it simple but innovative to craft a memorable impact. It should vividly stand out amongst its competitors and be recognizable. Typically app designers will embrace simplicity but attention to detail is just as important. For example, in some instances, providing the app’s name in your app icon help enhance brand recognition.  That said, it’s not an exact science and sometimes doing so can even hurt it. To see which app icon fits your target audience, always implement A/B testing for maximum optimization.

Obviously, the use of visuals should be to make our lives easier. So if your app’s sole purpose is to deliver mail, it may be a good idea to have a picture of an envelope.  If you have a music app, then perhaps a picture of headphones will strike the right note. Additionally, choose the right colors and shapes that match the theme of the app perfectly. One of our favorite tips is creating a 3D effect.  In this design, a smaller picture inside a frame, creating the effect of a logo popping off the screen.

Above all, it’s important to choose the design that converts the best,  not necessarily the one you think looks best. That’s why A/B testing is so important. It yields data-driven statistics providing insight into user behavior and performance analysis. 

Final Thoughts

When choosing an app icon try to experiment with different styles to see which yields the most downloads. Compare a few different versions and perhaps generate direct traffic to both apps. You’ll learn that the smallest attention to detail can actually make a huge difference.  Overall, take the app icon creative process seriously and don’t be afraid to sweat the small stuff. First impressions go a long way, and in today’s competitive marketplace you need to stand out to succeed.

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