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The simplest test to find out if your app icon is any good

09-19-2011, 09:10 PM
#1
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
The simplest test to find out if your app icon is any good

Here is how you do the test.


Once your app icon is on the charts, simply try to find it amongst the group of other apps where it is listed. If you scroll over it or miss seeing your icon using the "quick glance" method your icon is no good.

The icon simply blends in with either the background or the other icons you are competing with.

Two extreme examples......

You design an icon for your social networking app. You noticed most of the icons are blue imitating facebook colours. So you design a blue logo. Your great logo is lost in a see of blue. Your logo is just another blue facebook imitator.

You design a metallic clean cut icon that you place in utilities. All the apps around you are bright colours. Users simply miss your great icon because it blends in with the surroundings of the white and grey apple pages. The other logos have the pop factor and you are too plain Jane

So here is the tip that most of us ignore............

Don't just design the best icon possible and walk away. It is really important to see how your icon behaves in comparison to the surrounding icons. Even if the charts are dynamic the general pattern language of a category is present at all times.

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,
09-20-2011, 02:36 AM
#2
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,770
Send a message via AIM to kohjingyu
Sometimes minimalistic icons look the best.

09-20-2011, 06:20 AM
#3
This was my thinking when doing the icon for my game - keep it really simple and <cough> "iconic" so it stands out, while also keeping it very representative of the actual game.

When I look through the array of icons in iTunes at the Strategy "New and Noteworthy" section or whatever to see if I'm there I can always find it really quickly. Being black and white and simple it really does stand out.

My thinking was also that an icon representative of the gameplay is more suited to seeing it on your device's home screen and choosing whether to have a quick play - so often you see a generic (nice looking) icon but cannot remember what the style of the game is so don't bother playing.

I have long since had doubts about whether my icon is actually any good though -- a couple of people have said it should be improved and I agree that a 3D tank would look MUCH better and maybe attract people to view the details more, but I like its simple iconic style. And well, if it passes Syndicated Puzzles' test (which makes total sense) I'm happy with it.

* The icon is the actual game's hand-drawn 2D tank on a crumply paper background (describing it just in case you're reading this in 2012+ and my profile image above has changed!)

Apps: Lead Wars (TA Thread) | Super Grav (TA Thread)
DemonStudios Ltd | Indie Game Dev
www.demonstudios.com
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09-20-2011, 02:30 PM
#4
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 555
Some great tips here for app developers. We often think of the graphic design aspect of icon design, but seldom of the commercial context in which it will live.
09-20-2011, 03:50 PM
#5
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 30
Something that might also help you is making sure the icon also represents something when you scale it down 50% so it's still noticable when it resides in a folder on iPhone. Death Rally is a good example of this.

ROTOR GAMES dutch independent video game developer est 2010.

In development of "Final Run", 3D 3rd person driving action game for iOS since January 2011. Scheduled for release mid-February! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook!
09-20-2011, 05:19 PM
#6
Just throwing in another tip, hire a designer or artist to create a unique app for you. It's money well spent

Hey all, I am doing marketing for Betable, a new platform that gives game developers the ability to legally integrate real-money betting into their games.
09-21-2011, 12:27 AM
#7
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
Think of icon design like treading water.

Your arms ,legs and body fat (your app) are in motion trying to keep you afloat. Your head is the only thing sticking out of the water (App Icon/charts) and it isn't moving.

So the customers (speedboats with wallets instead of propellers) are cruising at high speeds in between all the heads (icons).

So the only thing you can do is scream using your voice.(colour,imagery,composition..) The problem is the speedboats are moving at such high speeds making their own noise and all the other heads sticking out of the water are screaming for the same attention you are after.

We have only one objective. We want the speedboat to slow down just enough and have the driver reach out and click on our icon saving us from drowning to the underbelly of the app store. It is rumoured to be cold, dark and none forgiving. Once there only a miracle can save you.

Sometimes you might get hooked by a fisherman and given a brief chance to be pulled back the surface again. But please don't count on this happening.

So before you jump in the water (release your app) make sure to secretly build in a flotation device that lifts your head out of the water just a little bit more than anyone else .

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,