Want your app to stand out from the crowd? Or maybe you want to go with something familiar to make potential users comfortable with your new app. The color of your app’s icon will be the very first thing people notice, so that’s as good a place as any to start.
Adrien Friggeri created a new app but wanted a little guidance from successful apps when it came time to design the icon. He took a look at the top 300 most popular paid iOS apps and discovered that the most popular icon colors among them are red, cyan-blue and orange. Here’s more from Adrien’s blog:
There are three clearly popular colors among those icons: pure red, an orangeish tint, and cyan-blue. Note that this figure does not take saturation and lightness into account, when we actually look at the icons themselves, the orange hue is actually often dark and unsaturated due to the presence of browns. …
For exhaustivity’s sake, I’ll just add to that that the distributions of luminosity and saturations are not specially interesting: a vast majority of pixels are fully saturated or grayscale, and the luminosity ends up being a gaussian bell skewed to higher luminosity, pretty boring stuff right here.
A little more in depth research revealed how many different colors icons tended to include (Adrien grouped colors into 11 color families to weed out shade differences). Adrien only reports on his finding for the blue color family, but it looks like most icons are pretty colorful.
More than 75% of the icons which have a blue or cyan dominant feature at least 3 different colors – including the blue/cyan. … The major secondary color when blue or cyan are dominant is white (19 out of 76 icons), and in a way this makes sense as it allows for the most contrast.
So if you’re making an iOS app and you want it to seem familiar go with a red, blue or orange icon that features at least three different colors. If you want to stand out, go with green or purple.