If your app is an album the app icon is the cover art.
With nearly 65% of users downloading apps through app stores, it’s never been harder for your app to stand out from the get-go.
Without an app icon which grabs the attention of the user while conveying what your app does, your app will have to fight an uphill battle to get downloaded.
When designing your app icon, there’s a few key points to keep in mind:
- Scalable – The app icon needs to look the same no matter where it’s displayed, whether on a billboard, a newspaper ad, a letterhead, website or in the notification bar.
- Recognizable – The app icon needs to be easily recognizable, in that it should create memories and emotions in users, at emotional and functional levels.
- Consistent – Good app icons are consistent in that they are an integral part of the overall app experience, From colors to design elements, the user shouldn’t find any dissonance between the in-app experience and the app icon design.
- Readable – It’s a good practice to avoid adding letters or text to your app icon, because they will rapidly become illegible when the size shrinks.
This article will cover 21 beautiful app logo designs to serve as inspiration as you design (or redesign) your app icon.
Want a fast browsing experience on your phone? Rocket Browser might be the app for you.
The app icon’s design communicates the core functionality by depicting a rocket mid flight. While the design is completely flat the interplay of colors in the icon convey a dynamism that’s particularly eye catchy.
If you want to go dark and wipe out all traces of your browsing activity the InBrowser app might be what the spy ordered.
The app icon of a fedora clad man smoking a pipe and wearing a coat with an upturned collar will remind you of the classic image of spooks and the cloak and dagger games they play. The icon design is all negative space, and the simplicity of the color palette doesn’t take away from basic idea that this app has something to do with secrecy.
Zoom is one of the widely used video chatting apps, and the icon does a fair job of conveying the core functionality of the service.
The design is simple enough, with the silhouette of the video camera in a blue background. There aren’t any details except for a slight change of gradient in the background which is just about enough to keep things from bland and boring.
The blue and white color scheme of Zoom works very well in business settings, which is apt as it is positioned for business users.
4. Earth Primer
This icon of an educational app takes its inspiration from the different layers of the earth’s core. The design itself stand out thanks to the bright colors and high contrast palette.
Use of shadows and subtle use of textures convey an impression of depth, almost making you feel like you are looking at something in three dimensions.
The password field in a modern browser is represented by dots. LastPass, a password manager uses this concept, along with the blinking cursor, as the core elements of its app.
The red and white color scheme is as simple and effective as it gets while the shield in the authenticator icon signals the security which the app can offer by enabling two factor authentication for your apps and services.
Duolingo is one of the most well known language learning apps and the icon design does a stellar job of using the owl mascot to signal that learning a new language needn’t be painful or intimidating.
The icon grabs attention by focusing on the eyes which look directly at the user. The reflection effect on the eyeballs and on the beak, and the shadows underneath give an impression of depth and realism to the owl without sacrificing the material design roots of the icon.
7. Runaway Toad
Unlike the toad in the fairy tale waiting for a princess’s kiss to turn it into a prince, this particular amphibian is perfectly happy in the swamp, and goes out of its way to escape princesses, owls, and other hazards.
The icon does a great job with the eyes of the toad, depicting a wide eyed look signifying surprise, and not of the pleasant kind. The subtle use of shadows on the eyeballs add depth to the image and also does a great job of introducing the central character.
This puzzle game about monsters and snowman has the perfect mascot which is both abstract enough for users to assign any kind of personality they want and humanoid enough to feel some kind of connection.
The app icon is simple but looks good because it doesn’t rely on flamboyant color schemes or other flourishes. The high contrast between the background and the central character makes the icon completely legible at multiple sizes.
Why create a design from scratch when you can save time by combining basic shapes drawn from a huge library in layers and stacks? That’s the concept behind the Assembly app, and the icon does a fine job of depicting how the picture of a kingfisher might be assembled from pre existing shapes.
The bright color scheme in this case doesn’t confuse, but merely highlight and attract interest. The app icon also benefits from the unusual shape and promises plenty of fun and creativity.
Doo is a productivity app with an interesting and novel take on icon design. Whereas the vast majority of apps in the same category have icons with a variation of the check mark Doo uses the imagery of climbing the peak of a mountain and planting the flag to signify success.
Which is, come to think of it, what it feels like when you complete your to-do list. The icon’s use of strong and contrasting color schemes ensures that it won’t get ignored by users.
Launch Center Pro positions itself speed dial for apps, and it lets you create shortcuts for frequently used actions on your phone. The rocket in the icon jives well with the name of the app and the outcome which it promises to deliver.
The use of concentric circles with different colors add depth to the icon and the chunky design of the rocket imparts a playful aesthetic.
On the face of it, the AliExpress icon looks like a paper shopping bag, with details like shadows adding a depth to the design. However, shape of the handle looks like a smile, signifying the joy a user might feel when he pays only $12.99 in a flash sale for a wristwatch normally worth $40.
Strata is a puzzle game where you have to layer colored ribbons to match a pattern keeping certain constraints in mind.
The app icon runs with the concept of layers and shows off the game mechanics. The design skillfully uses textures and shadows to impart realism and preps the user for the in-app experience.
SPL-T is a puzzle game which takes a minimalist approach towards app icon design. The stark black icon with white bars in one quadrant make this icon stand out in the Game category in the app store, where the usual app icon design go-to strategy is to use splash of colors and characters and elaborate detailing.
Prune is a game about growing trees while avoiding hostile conditions. The app icon, with its stark red ball and the silhouette of a tree in black against the light background, grabs your attention as you scroll through the app store and compels you to click on it.
This icon has no scalability issues whatsoever: you can blow it up to billboard size or shrink it down to the notification bar and it will still attract eyeballs.
Miximal is a game app based on traditional flip books designed for kids. The app icon, which looks like something a 3 year old might draw looks like a friendly monster.
The asymmetricity of the various design elements, the rough edges, and the simple color scheme all work together to evoke an emotional response in users.
Take photos, make money: that’s the basic premise of KeepSnap. The app icon, which combines a wallet with the shutter of a lens gives you an idea of the functionality of the app.
Understated details like the dashed lines representing the stitching on the wallet and the bar at the top right depicting the camera flash is what makes this app icon novel and unique.
For an app which is all about monitoring road conditions and showing users routes with better quality driving surfaces in real time, the icon which depicts connectivity in the form of the Wi-Fi like icon, and a straight open road hits the right notes.
This app icon has more colors (while, blue, yellow and grey) than most examples on this list but the end result isn’t confused or overwhelming as the blue takes up most of the real estate.
Mindfit is an app which helps users become more mindful, stay more positive, and combat stress. The app icon is extremely simple, with the main design reminiscent of a cross between a light bulb and the human head highlighting the core functionality of the app.
The no-frills design and the high contrast color palette makes this app stand out regardless of the display size.
Androidify is a fun app made by Google which let you “create, accessorize and share Android characters that look like you, your best friend, your Uncle Sal”.
The app icon gives off a relaxed, playful, and cute vibe. The contrasting color palette and the unusual design, which basically show off the app’s function ensure that it will stick out and connect immediately with the user.
21. My Budget Book
This app lets you keep track of your expenses easily so that you can balance your budget. The app design, with stacks of coins overlaid on a representation of a notebook tells the user that this app has something to do with money.
The two color palette and the addition of subtle details like the outlines of the pages give the icon a 3D look without sacrificing the material design aesthetic.
As these examples show you can design a great app icon using multiple approach in terms of design elements, as long as the basics around scalability, novelty, recognizability and consistency are met.
Do you have a favorite app icon?