Designing a tiny little app icon for a mobile device can really be a challenge. It seems like such a small thing and therefore should take mere minutes to create, right? Well, it’s not as easy as it would seem.
Designing an app icon reminds me of trying to create the little favicon for a website, which is just the tiny little thing next to the URL in your browser. Years ago that little favicon graphic was only 16 x 16 pixels, and it’s hard to get any sort of detail with that kind of resolution so the favicon had to be as simple as possible for it to be legible or recognizable as an image. The app icons on an iPhone are HUGE in comparison, but the same theory applies to their design.
The typical size for an app icon on an iPhone 3G or and iPad is 57 x 57 pixels. The iPhone 4s retina display’s app icons are 114 x 114 px. When you think about it, that 57 x 57 size doesn’t give you much more to work with than a favicon! Even though the app icon on the retina display is twice as big, any design you create has to work on the older phones and the smaller sizes. This is what makes designing an app icon a challenge.
The App Store is saturated with apps already, and if you’re just browsing through “What’s Hot” or a category, an app is more likely to get looked at if the icon is clean and simple, designed well and stands out. I find myself checking out apps just for the icon design to see if the rest of the app is designed as well. Chances are if it’s something I’m already in the market for anyway, I’ll download it or buy it just to play with it. It’s basic marketing tactics beginning with a simple eye-catching graphic.
I try to keep the design of an app icon as simple as possible. It’s the equivalent of a logo in the App Store world, and it’s the simple designs that are recognizable and memorable. Sometimes the nature of the app is difficult to define in a simple graphic and it ends up being more complex than I would like, and sometimes the developer wants to tell a story with this tiny little graphic, so I have do my best to include what’s necessary, what’s important, what’s requested, and still try to keep it clean.
As I was organizing my files yesterday I was looking at the number of app icons I’ve designed in the last year or two, and decided to put a little slideshow up here containing a few of the apps just to show the process in designing some of these app icons. Some are quick and painless, and some we revise and revisit numerous times before we arrive at the best option. Most of the designs in this slideshow are just comps and early versions or variations of icon designs. The final icons used in the apps can be seen in my portfolio.
After months of design and development collaboration between the developer and myself, iLoader 2.0 is finally finished and was release in the AppStore this past Saturday. Check out the previews in my portfolio
Developing apps and websites for mobile devices is totally out of control, and that’s great news! It’s a new platform and new media for developers and designers, it’s fun to work on and I hope it … Read on→
Have you ever had a bunch of photos you wanted to post to Facebook on your iPhone only to get absolutely frustrated going about it one at a time through Facebook itself? It can be quite a pain in the ass. I went searching through the app store and finally found an app that does it all in one stroke, and the app is iLoader.
iLoader by Tektrify is an iPhone app for batch uploading photos and videos to Facebook. In addition to allowing you to select several images at once to upload, it also gives you the option to write captions on each image. When you’re ready to go, you can also choose to post with a comment and actually select any one of your albums to upload to. It sure makes life easier for people like me who don’t want their photos automatically going into the ‘mobile uploads’ album.
I always get excited when I find something that works well and makes my life easier. iLoader is one one of those things. If you have been looking for a way to batch upload photos to your Facebook page, I would definetely recommend checking out iLoader by Tektrify. You can also find it in Apple’s app store, just search for iLoader, and it’s cheap.
Just recently I came across another neat little app for the iPhone that I think is worth sharing. The app is called “Project 365″. It’s basically a calendar that allows you to add a photo and comments for each day.
It doesn’t sound like much based on my simplified description, but it really is a cool way to log what you do every day and be able to look back later and see what you did. Visit their website for a better description and details (http://content.photojojo.com/tutorials/project-365-take-a-photo-a-day/).
One of their suggested uses is mainly for photographers and a way to practice and develop your style. I use it to track what I’ve done all year. I couldn’t tell you what I did or what I was working on two days ago and Project 360 has helped me see just how productive I have been. I’m always busy with work or one of my many projects but I still feel lazy. After a couple weeks of tracking my days with this app, I realized just how much I actually do and couldn’t believe how many projects I had worked on in that time. Now I don’t feel so bad about taking a day off!
It’s a good learning tool for new photographers and it’s great for a visual diary of your past. I would recommend checking it out if you’re like me and have trouble remembering yesterday.