Everything! App icons may look really simple and basic to anyone but it's actually one of the hardest things in app development. It requires meticulous work, lots of A/B testing and iterations. Take for example, this app icon from our flagship title. The app is all about an outdoor park and we've carefully chosen a recognizable, basic and colourful element to represent our app...a tree. Plants and trees are normally what make an outdoor park fun to go to and stay for long hours. They beautify the surroundings, make the breeze colder and they give us shade. And what's better than a tree? A smiling tree!
After identifying the main subject for the app icon, the next thing is the illustration style. Since we're making a children's app, it's not that hard to make a decision--we need a simple and straightforward art style with bold lines and colourful parts. We also had to bring the tree closer to the eyes as possible so our users can see it better.
The last step (or rather the last several steps) is polishing, which can either be a short or a long iterative process. We've gone through 5 different iterations of the app icon (as you can see from the images above) before we came up with the final version. The colours of the parts have changed, a background has been drawn and the final tree is also less fluffier so that the leaves can be noticeable when you view the icon on an actual device.
Whew! This is the story behind our flagship title's app icon. We've really put a lot of love and care into it such that from the icon alone, we can already put a smile on children's faces.