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iPhone app icons design has come a long way since 2008, when Apple first released their app store. The majority of the first non-Apple apps to be released were from developers who were still finding their feet – and often the design or build quality wasn’t quite up to scratch. In the last 5 years, however, things have improved significantly, and now great design is a requirement, not just a “nice to have”.

Beautiful design doesn’t just apply to the app itself, of course. The icon is the first interaction a user will have with the product, as it’s the first thing they see on the app store, and then the first thing they see when it’s actually downloaded on their device. A well-designed icon is likely to result in more downloads, and more people trying out your app.

When designing an icon, keep in mind that there are a huge range of different styles that you could choose. You can opt for a minimalist, stark and clean style, or a skeuomorphic, highly detailed and realistic icon – or anything in-between). No matter what technique and style you choose, it’s possible to create something stunning with enough care and attention.

I’ve collected some examples of my favourite app icon designs to help give you some inspiration. If you’re working on an iOS app (or thinking about designing one), hopefully this post will help give you a nudge in the right direction.

1. iHomework

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Source: http://ihomework.element84.com/iOS.html

2. Currency

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Source: http://simplesimple.co/currency/

3. KitCam

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Source: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kitcam/id573928024

4. Creational

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Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1137703-Creatial

5. Billings Pro Touch

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Source: http://www.marketcircle.com/billingspro/

6. News360

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Source: http://news360.com/

7. Puzzlejuice

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Source: http://puzzlejuicegame.com/

8. Cycl

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Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/1156340-Cycl-App-Icon

9. Clear

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Source: http://www.realmacsoftware.com/clear/

10. My Tally Counter

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Source: http://www.thefuntasty.com/en/mytallycounter

11. Spotify

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Source: https://www.spotify.com/

12. MailChimp

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Source: http://mailchimp.com/

13. Iris

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Source: http://www.irisapp.cc/

14. Instapaper

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Source: http://www.instapaper.com/

15. Combination Lock

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Source: http://dribbble.com/shots/792740-Combination-Lock-iOS-Icon

16. Michel Thomas

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Source: http://www.michelthomasapp.com/

17. Screen Candy

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Source: http://screencandyapp.com/

18. Every Time Zone

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Source: http://everytimezone.com/

19. Kiwi Camera

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Source: https://itunes.apple.com/app/kiwi-camera/id389321783

20. Interior Design for iPad

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Source: http://www.interior-design-ipad.com/

Have you come across any creative, thoughtfully designed and beautiful app icons that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.

David works for Radley, who create beautifully designed handbags. Outside of work, he builds web apps and enjoys learning user interface design.