Remember that your icon must tell something about your app main features. It must be in line with your target audience. That's the easy part.
|Your app icon must give the user an idea of what's in there|
Now designing an icon means drawing something. If you are good with Photoshop, google up some tutorial, otherwise get ready to spend around $40 to purchase an icon design software from the following list.
You can also buy directly ready to use icons or customize them through dedicated websites such as webiconset , seanau , symbolicons or the very cheap iconshelf (how can they be so cheap?)
Whether you are designing the icon yourself or you bought it out (believe me, there's no shame in that), there are 4 principles you should respect:
- The simpler the better: don't put too many things in your icon, it will ultimately be confusing: 3 objects is a maximum
- Use universal imagery that people will understand wherever they come from
- Avoid putting text in your icon: it's a waste of space and it's hard to read anyway
- Avoid gloss, when you load your icon, Apple automatically adds gloss
|Keep it simple and universal|
Also bear in mind general design principles also apply to the app world because the eye moves throughout a design from one element to the other just like the ear with music:
- The eye associates line positions and directions with concepts: horizontal lines are calm and quiet, vertical ones suggest potential for movement and diagonal lines suggest movement and vitality.
- Straight lines are associated with human creation and work, curbs with nature and emotions
- Use familiar schemes: the eye is naturally attracted by something that is both complex and familiar, in the App Store chaos, it's a good way to make a difference. Check out this excellent article on visual hierarchy from Joshua Johnson on the subject, a real eye opener
- A good design must always be "balanced": to avoid mistakes, I found useful to use the "rule of the thirds" to build good proportions in an icon
|Thou shall not ignore design principles even on the App Store|
There so much to say about design that we could discuss it forever. But our app check list is far from over, we now need to focus on keywords and marketing pitch.