How to create the perfect app

A Winning Icon for the Million-Download App

August 16, 2011 by Gabriel Machuret

Remember that commercial that said “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?” I don’t remember what the commercial was for, but the words really stuck with me. It’s true with apps too. The first things people see when they search for an app are the icon and the name. We’ve discussed giving your app a great name before. Today, we’re going to discuss the icon.

The icon is crucial. According to some experts, the icon may account for as much as 90% of the decision whether or not to download an app. This is one place you don’t want to skimp.

Don’t leave AppsGeyser’s placeholder icon on your app if you want your app to succeed.

Do not download one of those application where you can make an icon pixel by pixel.  You will work hard, and unless you’re an artist, the results will not be good.

Make a great icon.

You’re probably thinking that we mean you should hire a designer and spend a fortune on your icon. Don’t worry. We know that you’re working on a budget. There are ways to get a great icon on a budget. We’re going to tell you one easy way to do it.

Start by finding a picture. There are a few ways to do it:

  1. Take a picture from your app
  2. Take a photograph of something relevant to your app
  3. Draw something and scan it in (only if you’re artistic – no doodles)
  4. Search Creative Commons for shared-license pictures that you can use
  5. Search sites like iStockPhoto or ShutterStock for photos that you can buy rights to use inexpensively.

Look for a picture that is square (or very close to it) without too much detail, because remember we’re going to make it very small later. The picture shouldn’t be too small to begin with, though, because Android Market asks for a high-quality picture. If you use ShutterStock or iStockPhoto, be sure to download a photo that is 512×512 or bigger.

Next go to and round your picture’s corners to make your picture prettier.

Then, if you don’t have a graphics program that you’re comfortable with like PhotoShop  you’ll need to download a program called IrfanView.  (If you have a Mac, try Gimp instead.) IrfanView is free, and it is a great program for an app developer to have because you can use it to make any picture into any size and any graphics file format. Download IrfanView and open your picture in IrfanView.

  1. From the Image menu choose Resize/Resample
  2. Under Set New Size type Width: 72 Height: 72
  3. Click OK
  4. From the File menu, choose Save As
  5. Be sure to Save As Type: PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

You’ll need another copy of this same icon with the width and height set to 512. That one will show up in Android Market.

There you go! Now you have a custom icon, from a nice picture. You have rounded corners, just the right settings to upload to AppsGeyser for your custom icon and you can use the 512 by 512 version to upload to Android Market so that you can get millions of fans to download your app right away!

Remember that if you’re updating an app that’s already in Android Market, you’ll need to re-upload the APK file to Android Market in addition to adding the high-quality version to Android Market. You can see how to do that in the video where we explain how to add our Rate my App button.

If you’re wondering what that Duplo family is doing up there at the top, it’s just an icon I created while I was writing this post. I’m not quite sure what kind of app it fits. If it fits your app, email me at, and I’ll email you the icon so you can use it for your app.