Mobile phone applications have become seamlessly integrated into almost every facet of our daily lives. We use them to locate the nearest five-star pizza joint, provide real-time snapshots of our bank accounts and pass the time by pummeling pigs with angry birds.

Seemingly, there is an app for everything, if not several. In such a saturated marketplace — one vulnerable to the whims of aesthetically aware and easily underwhelmed consumers — a great app icon design may prevent your mobile masterpiece from joining the ranks of the overlooked and ignored.

1. Keep it simple

As is with most things graphic design, less is more. Your app’s icon is meant to articulate its essence and should do so with an aesthetically appealing, yet simple and informative graphic. Since an icon’s real estate can get quickly cluttered… keep colors, patterns, images and text to a minimum.

Keep it simple apps

For more on simplifying designs, click here.

2. Use color wisely

While a little eye candy can go a long way, an app icon riddled with bright and garish colors will quickly overwhelm the viewer. Avoid patterns and restrict your palette to two or three colors. If you must use a multicolored foreground, a monochromatic backdrop will keep your icon tidy.

Use color wisely apps

For more about how to use color, and how it impacts emotions and behaviors, click here.

3. Limit text

The mobile world has little tolerance for text-heavy apps and an app icon may require no text at all. A simple graphic, like your trademark, should be enough to view what your app does. If your icon does require text, restrict it to one line. If the text doesn’t fit on one line, is illegible or is so small that it is indecipherable, avoid text all together.

Limit text app

4. Be consistent

An app’s icon should have the same colors as the body. If the app’s page features earth tones, your icon should not have neon pinks and greens.

Be consistent apps

We are a culture that highly values outward appearance and an app icon design is critical to making a good strong and lasting impression.

What is your favorite app icon design? Share it in the comments below.