How to Make an App Icon [Step-by-Step Guide]

Are you a graphic designer and want to design an app icon effortlessly?

But, are you not able to:

  • Keep the balance of core elements in the app icon
  • Fulfill the motive of the design
  • Set the balance between different screen sizes
  • Use the minimalistic design to make it attractive
  • Select the right color hues to make it impressive

Yes, making an app icon is undoubtedly a tedious process. But, if you know the right process, you can surely make it impressive. Making a compelling app icon not only helps your client’s brand to stand out but also helps to increase downloads. Infact, according to the ResearchGate study, mobile app icons are a very impactful factor for getting users’ attention to the mobile app.

Thus, to design an aesthetic app icon, we at Space-O-Technologies have come up with an easy solution. We have curated a 7-steps guide on how to make an app icon hassle-free.

Let’s discuss.

How to Make an App Icon? [Follow These 5 Steps]

In this blog, we are not going to guide you on how to create an app icon using Photoshop or any other app designing tools. Instead, you will learn the process of making mobile application icons for all the app platforms. Being a leading mobile app development company in Canada, we have tried to make the process of creating the app icons as easy as possible.

  1. Consult Client to Understand Requirement

  2. When you connect with your client, firstly understand how the app works and what benefit it provides to the end-users. Then ask what, why, how:

    A. What?
    What is the name of the app? What type of color gradients and hues does the client need in the app? What are things you like or dislike about your competitors? What is the app’s functionality?
    B. How?
    How would the client describe the app? How the client’s brand is different from the competitors?
    C. Why?
    Why does the client want a new app icon (if they already have one)? Why the client focuses on creating a specific design – You should clearly know the intentions.

    Apart from this, understand if your client has any specific requirements like minimalistic design or text in the app icon.

    Getting answers to all these questions will help you to get understand how to make the app icon impressive. Once you get clear about the requirements of the clients, it’s time to think about the concept of the mobile app.

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  3. Analyse the Competitors on the App Store

  4. Once you understand the client’s requirements, check the competitors’ app icon design ideas. Check out what kind of app icons they have used and how you can make the icon stand out from others. Even you can ask the client to share the competitor’s list with you to get the general idea of the app icon.

    While performing the research on icons, check the following points:

    • Whether the client’s app competitors have used text (a single letter) in icons or a relevant image
    • Check which type of color scheme the competitors have used to capture user’s attention
    • Identify the details of what they have highlighted through their app icons
    • Identify which of the competitors have used the unique approach to create an app icon
    • Take a look at the elements used for making an appealing icon for the target audience
    • Check the competitors’ app icons’ borders to learn border patterns as it is important

    Going through all these little details will help you make the app icon unique and appealing.

    Additionally, you can search the relevant keywords and browse on the websites like Behance, Dribble, or Pinterest. These websites help you get an idea of the font, colors, and themes.

    Even it is crucial to understand the age group of the client’s target audience and the demographics the client wants to target. This helps you to select the age-specific color hues and gradients.

    Furthermore, check the following image of the Google Play Store to understand how you can build unique icons.

    Icon from Google Play Store

    Image Source: Google Play Store

  5. Points to Take Care Prior to Making an App Icon

  6. Before you start to create an app icon, check out the guidelines from App Store and Play Store.

    iOS App Icons: To create iOS icons for App Store, you must follow Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. It doesn’t matter whether you are going to make game app icons or icons for music apps or any other apps; following the guidelines will help you to publish the app easily.
    Android App Icons: For creating an Android app, Google focuses on UI layouts, uniform shapes, form factors, and consistency for a cleaner look. Check out the guidelines by Google to design an app icon hassle-free.

    To make it easy for you, here are some important points to take care of from the guidelines while designing an app icon for Android and iOS.

    Don’t use text or graphics that deceives the app usersDesign a beautiful app icon that distinctly matches the purpose of the app
    Don’t freely design the entire size of the app icon; instead, only utilize the keylines gridKeep the app icon simple because too much of details will end up to nothing
    Use the entire background of your asset space, so your artwork occupies entire keylinesFocus and highlight on a single point as it easily conveys the message with the application icon
    You can only create shadows within the icon artworkKeep an app’s icon similar across the platforms as it becomes easy for the target audience to identify your app
    You can only upload PNG files of your app icon in the storeIt is suggestible if you are keeping real objects in the icon then also make it look real

    Remember, the app icon should represent the brand, so make it according to your client’s app’s objectives. You can also check the top UI/UX design trends to develop the icon of the app.

    Also, here are some general points that could be helpful to you when making a mobile app icon.

    • Make app icons clear, so users easily understand and take steps further
    • Design in a way that is instantly recognizable on the search engines
    • Design your own custom app icons by keeping the brand design in mind
    • If you are designing an icon for a well-known brand, then add a logo in the app icon
    • Once you make the app icon, then conduct A/B tests to know which icon works

    Also, we’ve created a summary of each store’s guidelines on making custom icons. Check the following table to know the icon size.

    ParametersGoogle Play Store (Android)Apple App Store (iOS)
    Dimensions512px X 512pxiPhone: 60×60 pt (180×180 px @3x) 60×60 pt (120×120 px @2x)

    iPad Pro: 83.5×83.5 pt (167×167 px @2x)

    iPad, iPad mini: 76×76 pt (152×152 px @2x)

    App Store: 1024×1024 pt (1024×1024 px @1x)

    Format32-bit PNGPNG
    Color modesRGBP3, sRGB, or Gray Gamma 2.2
    Max icon size1024 KB1024 KB
    Shape of iconSquare – app stores automatically round of 20% shape of an iconSquare without rounded corners
  7. Create a Mock-up

  8. Once you understand the guidelines, create a sample icon for your clients. Designing two or three versions of the app icons makes the work easy for the client to select the right one.

    But how will you create a mock-up?

    Check out the below points to know the easy way of creating a mock-up.

    • Choose colors that are not too eye-catchy
    • Decide the right font for the logo depending on your client business types
    • Select colors that are familiar with the client’s industry
    • Keep in mind the color combinations given by the client
    • Create a scalable logo, meaning the color should not fade away when printed in colors or when resized. Use vector graphics to overall design your logo from business card size to billboard size without quality loss.
    • Use Adobe Illustrator, which is one of the most popular tools for creating logos and UI interfaces

    You can design five to six different icons in the mock-up as per the iconography and guidelines of app stores. Keep the minimum details in the app icons and focus only on highlighting a single point.

    Because the app icons would be seen on different platforms, you need to take care that app icons look original without getting blurred or changed.

    Let us check out some of the amazing app icons of different apps.

    Instagram iconSlack iconYouTube iconGmail icon
  9. Get Icons Validated By Your Client

  10. Once you have designed the app icon, get it finalized by the client. Take feedback on whether the app icon fits as per his industry type and requirements. And when the client sends you feedback, understand:

    • The client’s perspective and make a note of the feedback given
    • Perform necessary modifications and provide a few more samples with different color gradients and design
    • Perform the changes as per the client’s budgets and requirements until the client is satisfied

    Once the client approves your custom icon, make a different size version of the app icon for the home screen, notifications, launcher icons, App Stores, and Play Stores.

    Using this app icon creation process, we have developed popular solutions and mobile apps like video-sharing eCommerce app, meat-processing software, and roof management app. Here’s our portfolio to know we design the app icons.

Above, we have portrayed the step-by-step process followed at Space-O to create an app icon. Let’s even understand the tools used to create an app icon design.

Tools to Make a Mobile App Icon

To design a mobile app, we have listed a few tools that you can use to create an app icon design.

LogoApp Design ToolPlatform CompatibilityPriceRatings (Capterra)
adobe xdAdobe XD
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Pro: $9.99/month
741 Reviews
figma logoFigma
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Professional: $12/month
  • Organization: $45/month
331 Reviews
marvel logoMarvel App
  • Web-based
  • Pro: $8/month
  • Team $24/month
  • Enterprise: Custom
79 Reviews
invision logoInVision
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Pro: $7.95/month
  • Enterprise: Custom
647 Reviews
axure rp logoAxure RP
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Pro: $25/month
  • Team: $42/month
  • Enterprise: Custom
97 Reviews
ux-pin logoUXPin
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Web browser
  • Basic: $19/month
  • Advanced: $29/month
  • Professional: $96/month
  • Enterprise: Custom
22 Reviews
photoshop logoAdobe Photoshop
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Individuals: $20.99/month
  • Business: $33.99/month
288 Reviews

You can even use freeset tools like Canva, App Icon Maker, and Visme to develop appealing app icon designs.

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Let us now check some of the frequently asked questions users often search. Read the following section.


  1. Is it possible to create an app icon using Figma?

  2. Yes, Figma is a designing tool. You can opt for readymade templates to design your mobile app icon. Not only this, it is the ultimate tool that helps to do designing for multiple purposes.

  3. Where to find mobile app designers to create app icons?

  4. To get experienced mobile app designers, check out the following websites.

    • Dribble
    • Behance
    • 99Designs
    • Toptal
    • Upwork
  5. Where to look for free templates of mobile app icons?

  6. Here’re some of the websites to find the free templates of mobile app icons

    • Flaticon
    • Freepik
    • Icons8
    • Iconfinder

Design Attractive Mobile App Icon

In this blog, you have learned the process of making app icons, tips, tools, and websites to look for app icon designers. Now, you have all the information about designing an amazing app icon for a mobile app.

Whether you’re designing for an existing app icon or a new icon for a mobile app, following this process will help you to improve the app icon design to attract a larger audience. If you have any doubts about creating an app design, you are free to contact our UI/UX design team.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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