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Colors of an app icon - 2022 edition

Back in 2015 I investigated the colors used in app icons. More than 70,000 people read that post. Over the years several people have asked for an update to see if anything has changed.

Top 200 free GP app icon colors

The Technique

Refinements

There were several flaws with my investigation 7 years ago that I was never happy with.

  1. I completely ignored black and white icons
  2. Icons were still plotted on the color wheel even if they had no dominant colors

Groupings

This time around I decided to just focus on the main dominant color in each icon. I also decided to group them into 4 categories:

  1. Mainly white icons
  2. Mainly black icons
  3. Other icons with at least one dominant color (>25% of the image) to show on the color wheel
  4. Mixed icons (no one color is 25% of the icon)

Limitations

There are a few spots where the analysis falls down:

  1. Gradients - the algorithm see multiple colors, so won't detect these well
  2. Transparency - Google Play icons can be transparent. I've assumed white background in these cases
  3. Multiple icons - this analysis only looks at the default icon

iOS Apps

I looked at the top charts (free, paid and grossing) for iOS in early September 2022. Interestingly, the results did vary.

Top 200 Free iOS Apps

The top free charts contain a lot of white icons. Google loves a white icon. Some of the 'newer' social networks like TikTok and BeReal have black icons. There's a pretty even spread through the usual suspects of red, green and blue.

Top 200 free iOS app icon colors

Top 200 Paid iOS Apps

Paid apps have noticeably fewer white icons but a similar representation of black icons. There are a lot more 'mixed' icons without a dominant color, mainly due to more games being represented. There's a real wasteland in pink for paid apps.

Top 200 paid iOS app icon colors

Top 200 Grossing iOS Apps

The top grossing charts continue the trends of the top paid apps. However, due to the domination of games in the top-grossing charts, there are even more 'mixed' icons.

Top 200 grossing iOS app icon colors

Google Play Apps

I also looked at the top charts (free, paid and grossing) for Google Play.

Top 200 Free Google Play Apps

The free charts on Google Play look very similar to iOS. Unsurprisingly, many apps are the same with the same icon. There's a similar number of white, black and mixed icons.

Top 200 free GP app icon colors

Top 200 Paid Google Play Apps

Again this chart is similar to iOS. There are slightly more black icons on Google Play. However, there appears to be much less green in use.

Top 200 paid GP app icon colors

Top 200 Grossing Google Play Apps

Again, the top-grossing chart is similar to iOS. It is very game-dominated so we see a lot of mixed icons.

Top 200 grossing GP app icon colors

Key takeaways


About The Author

Stuart is Co-founder & Co-CEO of Appbot. You can connect with him on Twitter.


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