The 4 Do's of Graphic Design for Mobile Apps (Part 1 of 2)


The 4 Do's of Graphic Design for Mobile Apps (Part 1 of 2)

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Bar-Z has seen its fair share of app graphics over the years.  Bar-Z clients can utilize our professional graphic design services or choose to create and submit their own graphics for use in their apps.  Complete flexibility in app graphics is a huge benefit of our platform, allowing apps to be customized for each client, but with this flexibility comes the opportunity for graphics to also have wide variation in quality.  Many app graphics we receive are wonderful while others can sometimes come off as a little dated or have a lot of room for improvement.   At the end of the day, we want our customers to be happy, work within their budgets and for their mobile solutions to be a success.  If you’re considering creating graphics in-house we would like to offer you some guidance for the “do’s and don’ts” of graphic design for a mobile app. This blog post will come in two parts.  This week, we will cover the "do's" with starting your project.

1. Do look at current trends

When it comes to your app, the main goal should be to determine a design for this new brand that also fits your target market.  Look at websites that have a lot of design inspiration.  Download apps to see what you find attractive.  Not only will this help inspire your own design, it can also be helpful in finding something that is trendy.  The key to designing graphics for an app is that you want something that fits with modern trends, but will also age well.  For example, those curly calligraphy typefaces will only be popular for so long.  We recommend sites like Pinterest, Communication Arts and Panda for design inspiration.  Your design is your first impression with users.  Something that doesn’t look pretty is going to deter users from even making it to your content.

2. Do get user feedback

After you’ve completed a round of graphics take them around your office and show them to a select group of people in your market.  What do people think of when they see your graphics? Is it consistent with your goals, audience and brand? Is text easy to read and buttons big enough to tap? Is the flow of your app content intuitive? It is a good idea to collect feedback from a wide age range of potential app users.  See if they have any comments and sit with them as they critique.  You might be surprised by feedback you receive.  Be sure to come prepared to ask them questions along with letting them give their opinion as a whole.  Make sure that you get a full analysis of the graphic beyond just the design.  While design is important, so is the hierarchy of your buttons and content.

3. Do be consistent

Our platform supports multiple brands and organizations within a single app with different screens or sections.  The key to creating a good user experience across these different pieces is to make sure that your graphics use consistent design elements or color schemes.  It might not be ideal to have one screen with square navigation buttons and another with circles. You don’t want users thinking they’ve entered a completely different app with every different screen or when navigating from your app icon on their phone to the inside of the app. In general, you should still feel like you are within the same unified app while still allowing for variations in branding.  It is also beneficial to have one graphic designer put together all your app screens and graphics to help with this consistency. 

4. Do outsource your design needs

While this might require more costs on your end, it is often a better investment.  Keep in mind you are outsourcing for the technical aspect of having your graphics built.  A good graphic designer is going to be your partner and still give you complete creative control.  Too often we see people attempt to teach themselves a design program in a matter of hours in an attempt to save costs.  This will just cause further delays in the process of developing your app or force you to make compromises in the quality of your graphics that can negatively impact your app usage.  Other people know the limits of their on-staff graphic designer but don’t act upon their feelings.  Some designers are better or more experienced at print design than digital design.  Find someone who knows digital design or help point your current staff member in the right direction with some inspiration on digital design.  

Stay tuned, next week we will go over the four don'ts when it comes to graphic design. Until then, don’t forget to take advantage of our expertise and experience as well; we’re here to help! Bar-Z Project Managers can offer you guidance and feedback along the way as you put together your app graphics, and if you get stuck or want to outsource from the beginning, we also have graphic design services to help you launch your app with stellar graphics according to your budget and timeline. 

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