Designing an icon for the app store
The icon of your app is pretty important, since it’s the first thing that a lot of your users are going to be drawn to (or not) in iTunes or the app store. For Magnus’s Online Chess, the icon needed to do a couple of things:
- Communicate that this is a chess app
- Stand out from all the other chess apps (!)
- Somehow communicate that our app is all about online chess (our point of difference)
- Look super awesome and slick
Every chess app seems to use a knight in it’s icon. There’s a good reason for that, the knight is generally the best looking piece in any given set. But to avoid blending in, we deliberately decided to avoid doing the same.
We started with some paper scribbles (like we do with everything). There were a few early options:
- A pawn/wifi transmitter hybrid
- Pieces flying around the world (to show moves being sent back and forth)
- A board that was dissolving into “cyber-ey looking” pixels
- Some kind of king/M composition that (to imply the word Magnus)
We decided that communicating the online aspect was more important than any tie ins with the name, so the last one was out. The flying pieces were a bit fiddly at small size, and the dissolving board seemed a bit too nerdy, so we settled on the “pawn antenna”.
The icon was actually the start of lots of things, including the final colour scheme. We wanted something that fit well with the rest of the iPhone OS, and felt a bit dark and serious, maybe even a bit nerdy (hey, it IS a chess app, who are we kidding)
Here’s the final icon in a few different sizes, and in context on the home screen.
One potential issue – the use of wifi style radio waves might confuse people – will people understand that you can play on 3G as well? What do you think? Let us know in the comments