I’ve been fascinated by app icon design for a long time – shortly after I first picked up an iPhone (I somehow managed to get the first generation shortly after it came out, which was a massive upgrade from my Motorola Razr flip phone). Over the years, app icons have only become more important. Space on the home screen is limited, and a beautiful icon is more likely to ensure that the app stays there in pride of place. There’s more to it than that, of course – these days app design is so critically important that great design needs to be everywhere that the user sees, from navigating the UI of the app to the icon that launches it.
It’s not just mobile apps that benefit from great app icons though. Desktop apps are arguably even more visible as the app icons typically take up more space (or at least, they do on my Mac taskbar) and an app that has a beautifully designed icon that fits in with the software’s own aesthetic is likely to be seen as more professional and slick than it’s competitors. App icon design, however, can be hard. It’s a bit like logo design, in that there’s often only a small canvas to work with, and that means that anything that doesn’t quite work right is magnified and much more noticeable. It’s very possible, however, to put together a beautiful, interesting and stylish app icon, and if you’re putting one together right now then this post is designed to help give you some inspiration. All of these are app icons that have been created by incredibly talented designers, and each one represents a lot of hard work, care and attention.
Hopefully you’ve found this collection of app icon design interesting and that it’s given you some inspiration for your own desktop and mobile icon projects. If you’ve created any icon designs that you’d like to show off, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!