Some weeks ago Apple released a major update for its mobile operating system iOS and with that many developers updated their apps to make them fit into the new OS.
Most of the recent apps received a complete redesign and in addition app icons got refreshed with a more flat style.
After updating all my apps I was a little bit shocked and surprised to see a few apps which were updated with the app’s name within the icon.
”To a new user it might be confusing to have a name of an app both in the text area and in the app icon.”
Here is a quick mockup which reflects my problem:
Instead of using a complete name, I do recommend to use the first letter of the app’s name. Let me explain why this is a better solution.
The first reason is the habit of a user: On his homescreen, he expects to have an icon with a symbol and a text with the name of the app. This rule should be considered especially when your app should be attractive to new iOS users.
Secondly, Apple recommends in its iOS Human Interface Guidelines to “embrace simplicity”. As they go further on: “[…] Find a single element that captures the essence of your app and express that element in a simple, unique shape. […]”
Last but not least, many big companies, such as Facebook, Path, Google or Skype, are great examples how to use text/letters in their icons.
Summarizing, I want to mention that you should take a special view on your app icon before you upload it to the App Store.
Note: All quotations are from Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines from Oct, 12