You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge an app by its icon. That’s why this month’s 99designs inspired article is delving into the world of smartphone application icons.

Nearly half of small businesses have an app to build customer loyalty and boost brand recognition (Clutch, 2018). Apps don’t just increase company visibility; many indie businesses and online companies also rely on apps as an invaluable marketing tool.

When users search for an app, the first thing they see is its icon. This icon has to be exciting, fresh, and, most of all, show its purpose at first glance! A standout icon will encourage clicks and downloads, and customers will remember it. More urgently, it’s been reported that over 20% of users ages 23 to 38 will delete an app if the logo doesn’t appeal to them (ComScore, 2017). That’s why Foodie Survivor, an app developed to help consumers manage grocery costs and reduce food waste through recipe planning, had to be smart about the icon that would be used to represent their app. The company held a contest on 99designs, challenging designers to create the best icon.

Foodie Survivor’s winning design and other top competitors are shown below on the Silicone Cell Phone Sleeve available from Quality Logo Products®.  Having your app’s logo displayed on the backs of cell phones is a sure way to keep your business at the forefront of customer’s minds! More than 3 billion people in the world own smartphones, making promotional cell phone wallets a useful and worthwhile investment.

The winner: Design #1

Who should have won: Design #1

Why?
The winning design makes use of every opportunity to cue us in on what Foodie Survivor is about and looks cool doing it. The imagery is unique, striking, and will leave people curious to know more.

Design #1 [winning logo]

Be Eye-Catching and Inspiring

When we see an image, we subconsciously decide what we feel about it within the first three seconds of looking. A majority of those feelings are based on colors and shapes alone. What does this mean in regard to the winning logo design? The winning logo is instantly noticeable with its bright primary red background and contrasting white graphics. Red is a popular color in marketing and design, especially in the food industry. This vibrant color grabs attention and radiates high energy and desire.

The design’s stylized flame, fork, and spoon immediately send a clear message that the app has to do with cooking, and the triangular shape that the logo creates is also known to be associated with feelings of power, stability, and strength. These are all great qualities for a company to exude, especially one that guides its clients towards success and better lifestyle choices. 

Design #2

Be Easy to Understand

Logo design #2 took a natural approach to this company’s branding. Organic, curved shapes are often associated with the earth, nature, and, subsequently, food. These shapes, when used correctly, can have your audience feeling calmness, wholeness, and harmony. Sounds good, right?

So, what is this logo doing wrong? As opposed to feeling calmness, an audience will probably just feel confused. Although the logo is generally pleasant to look at, it doesn’t create a call to action or really inspire potential customers to really do anything, even download the app. If the design’s shape is meant to be abstract, it would have benefited from a few extra design elements to help communicate its intention. After looking at it for half an hour, I’m still unclear about what this logo is trying to depict or communicate.

Design #3

Design with the Business in Mind

This design features a food platter as its main focus. Although charming, the logo could cause misinterpretations of the app’s purpose. A platter (or as I first saw it, a Call Bell) indicates that someone will be served, or that some manner of service will take place.

This design could be well-suited for a Door Dash or Grub Hub type application but is ultimately not the best choice for an app made to help users shop for groceries.

Final Thoughts

When designing a logo for an app, you are representing your business and trying to sell it to customers just as with any other logo for your business. Always keep in mind the basic necessities of making a memorable first impression and presenting your business or service with clarity. After all, you don’t want your app being deleted because of a bad looking icon design.

Need some more advice on designing your logo? Take a look at our past 99designs inspired blog posts and check back in the future for next month’s tips and tricks!

References

Panko, R. (2018, February 21). Should Your Small Business Invest in a Mobile App? Retrieved from, https://clutch.co/app-developers/resources/small-business-apps-survey-2018

Comscore Whitepaper. (2017, August 24). The 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report. Retrieved from, https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2017/The-2017-US-Mobile-App-Report

About the author

Bridgette Wilhelmi

Bridgette is an honors graduate of Illustration from Grand Valley State University. While she's worked in promotional products for over four years, she's also had work published in a number of art journals and featured in juried exhibitions throughout the United States.