App Icon Color Palette Analysis by Category (iOS)
Food apps are red, Finance apps are blue… We’ve done some research for you! Discover our unique app icon color palette compilation from the Top 50 Apps in the App Store categories of Game, Food & Drink, Social Networking, Finance, Shopping, and Travel.
The Methodology Behind Our Research
We started by gathering all the app icons of the top 50 apps in 6 categories on the App Store:
- Food & Drinks
- Social Networking
For each of these top apps, we extracted every single color pixel used in each icon.
We then arranged all these pixels into color groups (this process is called clustering), leaving us with 12 main colors for each category: orange, green, light green, dark green, blue, light blue, dark blue, black, white, red, light red, etc.
For each category, we compiled these main 12 colors to provide a color palette usage breakdown. We have been able to identify interesting trends. See for yourself.
Game Icons Are the Most Colorful
The first observation we made was that the Games category is very different from all the others. In this category, apps use a very varied set of colors. At the same time, app icons in this category show the least amount of white.
Game app icons are usually vivid and more complex than the others, using lots of details and items.
Interesting fact: We found 2 colors (brown and flesh-color) that are not used in any other categories. We can attribute this to the fact that lots of apps in the Games category use characters/humans in their app icon, and so this probably reflects the amount of “skin” color usage.
Food & Drinks: 25% of App Icons Are Red
The Food & Drinks category shows the highest amount of red in app icons. We found that about 25% of apps in this category had a red app icon.
This is shown clearly in the pie chart above, where red/pink are the most predominant colors of the pie.
Social Networking Apps Use Flashy Colors
When looking at the Social Networking category, we notice that the largest amount of flashy & bright colors are used here.
We also notice a huge amount of white in comparison to the other categories, which could be explained by brand logos on colored backgrounds, a practice very common throughout this category.
Finance Apps Use Dark Colors
Contrary to Social Media apps, the Finance category shows much more dark colors, with a predominance of blue and green.
Blue is well known as the most common ‘favorite color’ in the world. It is likely to inspire confidence and trust and therefore holds very important value for Business and Finance apps.
This study was not only fun to do, but it was also very insightful! We can see that the top apps’ icons definitely show trends across categories.
Make sure to benchmark your app category’s palette before creating/optimizing your own app icon. It is indeed interesting to consider the current color trends of your category in your design.
App Store visitors are used to certain color schemes/designs for each category (even subconsciously) so following trends might help you drive traffic.
At the same time, if you are just launching a new app, you may want to stand out from competing apps and create something different from what’s already out there.
Essentially, you must find the perfect balance between uniqueness and following the best practices & current trends.
If you want to get more insights on app icons, make sure to check our ASO report features!
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