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10 Mar 2014

The Importance of a Top-Quality Mobile Game Icon

If you have been reading many of the posts on Game Academy over the last several months, you would know that a well-designed app icon is vital to your mobile game’s success. Just as people judge books by their covers, so too do people judge your mobile game by its icon. A poorly designed icon isn’t going to make read further into what your game is about – especially since there are so many other games out there waiting to be discovered (with many of them having well designed app icons to entice browsers to read more about their game). Here are a few things to keep in mind during the beginning stages of designing your mobile game’s icon.


Think twice about using words in your game’s icon

While using the title of your game may sound like a good idea at the time, it’s better to leave words out of your game’s icon. Work with the artist responsible for designing your game’s icon to properly represent your game graphically. For example, if your mobile game is a battle racer ala Mario Kart, consider an icon that shows a racer using a weapon on another racer. When a potential customers sees this icon, they are going to know that your game involves battling other racers to the finish line. Remember: your app’s icon can speak for itself if it is designed properly.


Simplicity is king

At the same time, nobody wants to look at an icon that is too busy. You only have a second to capture the imagination of your potential customer, and if your app’s icon causes confusion regarding what the game is about, then they’re going to become disinterested almost immediately. The goal with your game’s icon should be to make it as simplistic as possible while still allowing your game’s message to shine through to the potential customer.

One of the best examples of a simplistic yet powerful app icon is Tiger Style’s icon for Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor. Solely consisting of what appears to be a wooden door with a spider shape etched into the middle of it, this icon tells you everything you need to know about the theme of the game from the get-go: it involves a spider and a manor of some sort. Yet, the icon looks so rich and vibrant, so professional, that you can’t help but click on it to learn more about the game (and from the game’s description, that’s where the real selling point takes place). Again, app icons are gateways to get more people to read about your game, and Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor pulls this off to perfection.

And speaking of icons looking professionals…


Have a professional icon while standing out

Of course, an icon that looks top quality should be important to you. It needs to look amazing, yet you need to ensure that it stands out from the rest of the games in your niche as well. Scour through some of the bestselling games on your respective app store and discover what these games have in common. For example, do they all use a similar color scheme to make them stand out from others? If so, consider applying this to get the attention of potential customers as well.

Whatever you can do to make your game stand out from the rest (while of course ensuring the icon is of the highest quality), do it. Research and talk to your peers if you must, but find out the best ways to stand out and ensure your icon (and in turn, your game) is noticed more times than not.


Do you have advice regarding app icons and the best practices for utilizing them to attract buyers? Any questions/comments? Let us know in the comments below!

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