15 Awesome Tips for Brilliant Icon Design


Icons are great ways of navigating people and emphasizing some key elements. Icons are just road signs, as they guide through an app or a web page. Just because about 30% of smartphone users download less than 1 app during a month, you have to be sure that it’s your app. For this purpose you need to create an awesome icon and catch attention. So, to make your work easier, here you can see 15 awesome tips for brilliant icon design.


1. Be simple

Simplicity is the key in today’s design world and it concerns icons as well. If you create too complex icons, no one will be interested in it and people will avoid clicking on it. So, when creating an icon, be simple by using simple colors, simple shapes and creative ideas.


2. Be simple but not poor

Though the previous point is crucial, it’s worth knowing that simple doesn’t mean poor. So, instead of just using a color and a shape, try to experiment and use various shades of a color, make highlights and so on.


3. Be consistent

If you have a certain project and you must design set of icons,  be consistent. For this purpose, you should have a basic style and create all the icons in the same way. This will help people to easily identify your icons.


4. Use eye-catchy colors

In order to catch attention, your icon should say something. So, try to experiment with colors and choose the ones that are standing out. Such colors grab people’s attention and make them click on the icon. However, also make sure to keep the consistency between the icon and the project. For instance, if it’s an icon for business app, don’t use too bright and outstanding colors.


5. Make your icon bold

Probably the best icons are those in App Store. If you love them, you have probably noticed that there are many bold icons, and this is something that catches people’s attention.


6. Add depth to the icon

Though it is considered that it’s time for flat icons, it doesn’t mean that you cannot experiment with deep icons. For instance, try to add some interesting shadows and shades to the elements, in order to make them stand out.


7. Compare the icon with those of competitors

In general, if someone wants certain type of app, let’s say reminder, he/she will download only one app. So, in order to be sure that it’s yours, compare your icon with those of competitors, find out the differences, strengths, weaknesses, and make it in the way that will stand out and will catch people’s attention.


8. Don’t make it transparent in iOS

In iOS, if you use a transparent background for your icon, it will just have a black background in the end and will look ugly in the app store. However, if you design for Android, you can make it transparent and it won’t change its look.


9. Do not use words

To simple and clear, make sure to not use words in your icon design. A creative image or shape can talk more about your app than the words that you put in. However, if you have something to say, put it in the description of the app, but  not in the icon.


10. Use symbols or letters

Just because you should not use words, it doesn’t mean that you cannot use letters. If your brand logo represents a symbol or a letter, go on and make your icon like it. Facebook and Skype icons have letters on them, but no one can say that these icons look ugly.


11. Use borders

It’s proven that those icons which have borders impress people more than those that don’t have. The reason is that borders emphasis the content of the icon and make it stand out. So, try to add borders of strong colors to your icon.


12. Make high quality icon

When uploading the icon to the store, there is an option of uploading it in high resolution. Go on and choose that one, because the quality is one of the main things that will separate your icon from the rest. Moreover, if users see that the icon is in high quality, they will think that the app has the same quality and will download it.


13. Choose a clear shape

Your icon is going to be seen in different sizes. It will look big in the app store, less bigger in the home screen and very small in the notification center. So make sure to choose shapes, that will be recognizable at any size.


14. Test the icon in different backgrounds

Before finishing, make sure to test your icon in different backgrounds, to see how it looks in any case. The reason is that people use different backgrounds and your icon should be compatible with every type of background.


15. Test the icon in app store

Besides testing your icon in different backgrounds, make sure to test in the app store and see how it looks with other icons. You will see the differences and will understand whether it’s noticeable or not. So, try to create something that people will see at the first glance.


So, here you have 15 great tips for brilliant icon design. Are there others in your mind? Please share them with us and let us be icon masters!


Here’s another article you might like : Top 10 Mistakes Designers Make in Icon Design