How to Design a Cool App Icon for Your Game?

With over three million apps on Google Play, why should people choose yours?

First impressions matter, and for apps, that starts with the icon. 

The goal of your app’s icon is to grab attention and convince users to download. It’s not just about being unique; the icon should also show what your app does. Icons in game design play a big role in how many people click to download your app.

So, how can we make your game icon design stand out?

“The ideographic nature of function icons means that icons are carriers of meaning. Each icon has its own meaning and its purpose is to express meaning”
(Research by the University of Skövde, 2022)”

Assorted game app icons featuring magical characters and skills, card game app icon

How Do You Design a Game App Icon?

When designing your game app icon, make sure it stands out and represents your game well.

Follow these simple design principles:

  1. Match Your Brand: use colors and styles that fit your game’s overall look.

  2. Work in Different Sizes: your icon should look good on all devices, so check how it appears in different sizes.

  3. Relate to Your Game: use symbols that connect with your game’s theme or features.

  4. Test for Visibility: make sure your icon is clear and visible in different backgrounds.

 

A well-designed icon helps your game attract users and tells them what your game is about.

Cartoon rabbit character in various poses with colorful game icons showcasing app design, creating a game app icon

What to Look at When Designing an Icon?

Simplify. Think about your game’s core and express it visually in a small square. Don’t overcrowd it. Keep it simple to avoid overwhelming users. Use just one symbol and a clear focus point.

Think about colors. Choose bright, contrasting colors to make your game icon pop.

Make it shorter. Skip putting the game name on the icon; it might be hard to read on mobile devices.

Borrowing and copying is not the same thing. To really stand out, be original—don’t copy others!

Collection of vibrant monster and character app icons for a mobile game in style of Temple Run

Technical Requirements for Game Icons | Gosh, it's so boring

Every store has its own rules, but on average, use a 1024×1024 non-transparent PNG for your icon. This size allows for easy downsizing without losing quality when necessary, and you won’t have to concern yourself with transparency.

For iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS, Xcode can generate various icon sizes from your 1024×1024 px App Store icon
PS:(Xcode is a tool made by Apple for building apps on their devices. It helps you write the code, design how the app looks, test it, and get it ready to use.)

Or you can provide assets for individual sizes. For macOS and tvOS, you must supply game app icons in all required sizes.

For visionOS, a single 1024×1024 px asset is needed. If you create custom versions of your app icon, ensure it remains distinguishable at all sizes (visionOS is a new operating system made for the Apple Vision Pro headset, which is used for augmented and virtual reality)

Different gemstone app icons, a desert backdrop with a moai statue, game app-icon logos

Note: iOS doesn’t support transparent backgrounds, and game icons must be square-shaped to avoid black-filling empty spaces, which could disrupt your design.

For Android, your icon artwork can either fill the entire space or incorporate logos using the keyline grid as a guide, not a strict rule.
When positioning your artwork, consider keylines as guidelines.

Make sure your mobile icon size adjusts to the following specifications: a final size of 512px x 512px, a format of 32-bit PNG, sRGB color space (standard for consistent colors in digital images across devices like monitors and cameras), a maximum file size of 1024KB, and a full square shape – Google Play dynamically masks it, with a radius equivalent to 20% of the icon size. Avoid adding shadows; Google Play manages them dynamically.

Tools for making your App Icon

Icon game design is an important part of creating a successful game.

Well-designed mobile game icons can help to attract users, make the game more usable, and create a lasting impression. Icon makers are tools or software online that people, like marketers and entrepreneurs, can use to create custom images for their visual content and branding.

To design a phone game you may want to check out the best ones and learn how to use them effectively.

  1. Adobe Illustrator is a top choice for professional designers creating icons, but it’s expensive and takes time to master. For a monthly fee of $22.99, or about $275 per year, users get powerful tools to design custom icons.
  2. IconsFlow is a web-based alternative. It lets users modify icons from a library or create their own for free. The premium plan, at $19.99 per month or around $180 per year, offers more advanced features and allows the creation of up to two sets of icons with five icons each.
  3. Iconion is a desktop program that transforms icon fonts into usable icons. It costs $68.85 for a commercial license. Despite the price, it provides diverse styles and symbols for creating unique icon sets, exportable as PNG or JPEG files.

Adobe Illustrator is powerful but expensive. IconsFlow offers a more affordable web-based option, and Iconion offers a unique way to turn good fonts into game icons for a one-time fee.

Sometimes, it’s better not to overcomplicate things and give tasks to professionals who deal with them daily. This will not only save your time but also ensure a high-quality outcome, freeing you from unnecessary hassle. Think of outsourcing as an opportunity to trust your work to others, allowing you to focus on more important aspects of your business.

Icons A/B testing - This stuff has to be tested too?

A/B testing is like comparing two things to see which one people like more. For apps or designs, it helps figure out what works better, like which icon users prefer. For making games, there are special game icon prototyping services that make it easier to test and improve your game ideas.

Try out A/B testing for different icons using “Store Listing Experiments” on Google Play Console.

Send half of your traffic to one icon (option A) and the other half to a different one (option B). See which icon users prefer. Make sure you have enough users in your test to get reliable results. 

Game Icons VS Game Logos | What is the Difference?

People often call a famous and easily recognizable logo “iconic,” like those of Apple, McDonald’s, and IBM. However, it’s important to understand that logos and icons are not the same. 

A game app icon is not the same as your game’s logo. They share some branding qualities, but they are not identical. These are two distinct elements of graphic design that contribute to your overall brand. Game icons are specifically for app stores, while logos represent your game globally.

A logo stands for a business or organization, like Apple’s straightforward apple or Nike’s abstract “swoosh.” Logos can be simple or abstract, but they represent a brand and are often used in advertising on banners, medals, and so on.

Icons have been used for centuries to visually represent concepts or actions. Icons bridge the gap between abstract ideas and practical actions. In simple terms, an icon is a graphic that summarizes an operation and communicates it to the user. Unlike logos, icons represent actions.

For instance, the Instagram “like” icon allows users to express approval quickly without using words. So, while logos are about branding and advertising, icons are about representing actions or concepts visually.

Let us know your preferences, and we’ll create game title design that resonates with your game story.

Popular game app icons from App store, iconic app games

Summarizing about Designing App Icons

Now you know how to make a great icon for your mobile game.
Remember, a cool game icon is essential for making your game stand out. Follow guidelines, design an icon that fits your game, and consider getting help from a design studio if needed. A unique icon can really help your game become more popular than others.

How to make mobile games? It’s simpler if you have a team of specialists who can help you.

Consider the possibility of consulting a specialized studio for app icon design to save time and effort.

PS: We’re here to assist you with that :)