Apple has a very strict sense of how they want their software designed as well as developed, so much so that submitting to the App Store for approval can sometimes be a tedious back and forth process, compared to the app submission process for some of the other mobile dev ecosystems.

For many developers as well as designers, designing for the native specific requirements that Apple has set out can sometimes be tough, which is why when asked to speak at our Open Night on Design for developers I put together a few slides to aid both developers and designers in going about their iOS development projects with the right knowledge in mind.

What I covered:

  • Native Design in iOS
  • Auto Layout and Responsive Design
  • App Submissions to the App Store
Native Design in iOS

A Native App is developed for use on a particular platform or device. The advantage here is that, because a native app is developed for use on a particular platform or device, they can interact with the devices features as well as other software that is typically installed on that platform. In turn, native apps can take advantage of the latest technology available on mobile devices.

App Icons and Designing Custom Icons
There are several sources to get icons that are cool and look great, but it isn’t that simple. You can check out the Apple App Icon Guidelines, Apple have documented how app icons should look when implemented in an application but to give you a summarized understanding of what to keep in mind, you should always design icons to be:

  • Embrace Simplicity: Find a single element that captures the essence of your app and express that element in a simple, unique shape. Add details cautiously. If an icon’s content or shape is overly complex, the details can be hard to discern, especially at smaller sizes.
  • Provide a single focus point: Design an icon with a single, centered point that immediately captures attention and clearly identifies your app.
  • Design a recognizable icon: People shouldn’t have to analyze the icon to figure out what it represents. For example, the Mail app icon uses an envelope, which is universally associated with mail. Take time to design a beautiful and engaging abstract icon that artistically represents your app’s purpose.

When you submit your app to the App Store, Apple will check the use of icons and imagery throughout the application. It is best practice to stick to the Apple Icons Library for generic system icons that is used throughout the application. “Don’t reinvent the wheel, Stand on the shoulders of Giants.”

But, what if I want to design my own icons?

It’s obvious you want to create icons for your app so it gives it that unique look and feel just for your application. Apple has a page just for you with regards to custom icons and what guidelines to follow while designing your own. You can check out the guidelines here.