Many small businesses understand the importance of investing resources in branding. They know to express their business values in their choice of logo, color palette, fonts, and more. These elements are then carried over in print, website, and social media channels.
But for whatever reason, when it comes to creating a mobile app, many businesses forget how important it is to brand that as well. They forget that the app is an extension of their digital presence and thereby their business. For this reason alone, it’s worth it to invest more in making sure your business’ distinctive characteristics, design features, and identity are also incorporated into your app.
But there are other reasons as well. For instance, did you know that if you have a well-branded and nice-looking app, it’s more likely to be accepted by the app stores? Apple in particular is very strict about an app’s appearance so it’s definitely not something to be lax about. Here are some tips to ensure that your app is well-branded and optimized for the app stores.
AN APP BY ANY OTHER NAME
The branding process begins with giving your app a name. This can present a challenge at times. While your first instinct may be to give the app the exact same name as your business, that might not necessarily be the right move. Have you ever noticed that most app names are short, taking up one line at the most? For instance, the Whole Foods Market Recipes app is shortened to simply “Recipes” in the app stores. Although technically there’s no character limit, it’s best to keep it to 11 characters so that the name doesn’t get cut off with an ellipsis (…). Also, make your app’s name as pertinent to your business as possible.
When publishing an app, be sure to identify keywords that are relevant to your product or service. Keywords help provide context for your app and let your users know if it’s what they’re looking for. Keep in mind that you can submit up to 100 characters for keywords per app. (Tip: Don’t repeat words that appear in your app name. Special keywords that are unique for your app are more valuable. No need to add the app category either.)
The Google Play Store doesn’t include a designated field for keywords, but relevant words should definitely appear in your app description. Try using your keywords to promote your app about five times in the description. Also try using popular themes for special national or worldwide occasions, like football or the World Cup.
Chances are you’ve downloaded apps onto your own mobile device. Before making your selection, you probably scrolled through the search results and chose the ones with great-looking icons and a screenshot of the home page. Keep this in mind when designing and submitting your own app.
Important visuals to keep in mind:
- The App Icon: This image should be something recognizable to your current customers that helps them easily identify the app in the app store. Make sure the icon is designed according to the app objective and its name. Be consistent with the design elements found on your website, such as your color palette and fonts. Create an app with appealing colors that will be prominent and visible on every background color to ensure maximal use. When designing the icon image, remember to keep the dimensions at 192×192 pixels.
- Launch Image (aka Splash Screen): This is the image a user sees when the app boots up on the mobile device. Once again, this is a great opportunity to reinforce your brand’s look and feel. Be sure to include your logo on this image. The image size varies by mobile device.
- Header: This is the banner that appears on every screen of your app. Feel free to add your logo and use your color palette. This is also one of the few places in the app you can use your font. Keep it as simple as possible because you don’t want it to distract users from your content. The dimensions for the header are 640×88.
- Background: This is what appears as the “wallpaper” of the app itself. Whether it’s a color or an image, less is more. Don’t use something that will interfere with your app’s user’s experience. Usability is key here. The dimensions for most smartphones are 640×960 and for tablets, 2048×1536.
- Colors: Color has been mentioned a few times here already, but don’t forget to customize the colors of your app to match your business. The exception: If you think your color choices might make it hard for your users to read something, then err on the side of caution and go with a more practical color.
- In-App Navigation: You can customize the buttons on every page of your app. Don’t miss this opportunity to once again integrate all of your brand elements as a final touch for consistency. The standard size for app buttons is 152×152.
Now that your app is properly branded, you are ready to take screenshots for the various app stores. (For iOS 8, you’ll also be able to do a short 30-second video too!) People like to shop around before they download, so aim to have one of the best-looking apps out there. Take screenshots of the home page and primary content pages so users can get a sense of what they’ll be getting.
The good news is that all of this branding and customization can be done easily if you build your app with Swiftic. The Swiftic Console makes branding simple with the Style & Navigation tab, your one-stop destination for making your app as visually appealing as possible and for managing your brand’s mobile image. Don’t wait another moment to brand your business app!