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29 Apr 2014

When Commissioning an Icon, Avoid These Mistakes

The icon of your mobile game is the first thing that potential players notice before learning more about what you’re offering them. It’s the exact same principle behind the cover of a novel. If it looks cheap, uninspired, or simply boring, nobody is going to read further to learn more about your game. Especially since there are countless other mobile games available to play, you cannot afford to use an icon that isn’t going to ‘wow’ anyone that sees it. It needs to be attractive, to the point – heck, just read this post and you will understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Knowing what is needed to ensure your mobile game has a top-quality icon is only part of the battle though. When commissioning an icon for your mobile game, there are mistakes that you need to avoid in order to get the best icon for your mobile game. Avoid the following mistakes below, and you will be on the path to acquiring the perfect icon for your mobile game.


Avoid services that promise an icon for a ridiculously cheap price

You get what you pay for. If someone is promising an icon for the price of a few hamburgers, run like the wind. Your icon cannot look amateurish, and if someone is offering to design an icon for little to nothing, they are not going to take the time to truly design an icon that works for your mobile game. Moreover, don’t contract it out to a family member/friend – unless they are awesome, proven graphic designers that regularly design icons for mobile. No, you need a professional that can truly deliver, and while it may cost you a bit more than you are willing to pay for an icon, buck up and pay it anyway.

If your icon looks amateurish, so will your studio. After all, if you won’t take the time to design a great icon, why should anyone think that your mobile game is going to be awesome? Hire a professional icon designer, as it will be memorable, will make your studio look professional, and will entice those that see your icon to learn more about it (the reason to have a professional-grade icon).


Ensure the artist has a proven track record

This does not mean the artist in question has designed icons for the biggest names in mobile gaming (though if you can afford someone like this and they are interested in designing your icon, go for it). Rather, they need to have at least helped some clients with icon design – and it needs to be good too! You are looking for someone that can provide simple, memorable icons, so always ask for a portfolio before hiring someone.

If they do not have a portfolio? Do not hire them – it’s as simple as that. You want to hire someone that knows how to appropriately design an icon for your mobile game, and if they are serious about it, they will have drawn icons themselves to use as part of their portfolio. It’s a good way to weed out the artists that are serious about icon design versus those that simply want to earn a quick buck.

In the end, unless an artist blows you away with their art, always opt to hire someone that has experience designing icons for app developers. They should be able to point you to their work while pointing you to their past clients and providing you with their testimonials. If you want to truly be sure if the artist is worth hiring? Contact their past clients and ask them about their experience. If most of them have nothing but positive things to say about them, you have a winner on your hands.


Ask for a sample – and pay!

The best way to judge if an artist is a perfect fit for designing your mobile game’s icon is to ask them to create a quick sample of an icon for your mobile game. Be sure to pay them for their work too – most artists are not going to create a sample for free (and they shouldn’t either). Provide feedback on the sample and ask them to edit it if needed. Once they have created a rough concept of what the icon should be, if everything looks up to par, hire them! From there, you will be on your way to having an awesome icon for your mobile game.

The best part about this process? If you find a truly awesome artist that can design stellar icons, you can use them for future mobile games as well. Heck, depending on their experience, you may even be able to use them for designing assets of your future mobile games! A definite win-win situation.

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