A launcher icon is a graphic that represents your application. Launcher icons are used by Launcher applications and appear on the user’s Home screen. Launcher icons can also be used to represent shortcuts into your application (for example, a contact shortcut icon that opens detail information for a contact).
As described in Providing Density-Specific Icon Sets and Supporting Multiple Screens, you should create separate icons for all generalized screen densities, including low-, medium-, high-, and extra-high-density screens. This ensures that your icons will display properly across the range of devices on which your application can be installed. See Tips for Designers for suggestions on how to work with multiple sets of icons.
A high-resolution version of your application launcher icon is also required by Android Market for use in application listings. For more details on this, see Application Icons in Android Market below.
Note: The launcher icon guidelines pertaining to all versions of Android have been re-written. If you need to review the old guidelines, see the launcher icon guidelines archive.
Application launcher icons have three primary goals:
App launcher icons are an opportunity to showcase the brand and hint at the story of what your app is about. Thus, you should:
App launcher icons are the first look that prospective users will get of your app in Android Market. A high quality app icon can influence users to find out more as they scroll through lists of applications.
Quality matters here. A well-designed icon can be a strong signal that your app is of similarly high quality. Consider working with an icon designer to develop the app’s launcher icon.
Note: Android Market requires a high-resolution version of your icon; for more details on this, see Application Icons in Android Market below.
The launcher is where users will interact with the icon most frequently. A successful app launcher icon will look great in all situations: on any background and next to any other icons and app widgets. To do this, icons should:
Below are some "do and don't" examples to consider when creating icons for your application.
|Icons should not be overly complicated. Remember that launcher icons will be used at often small sizes, so they should be distinguishable at small sizes.|
|Icons should not be cropped. Use unique shapes where appropriate; remember that launcher icons should differentiate your application from others. Additionally, do not use too glossy a finish unless the represented object has a glossy material.|
|Icons should not be thin. They should have a similar weight to other icons. Overly thin icons will not stand out well on all backgrounds.|
|Icons should make use of the alpha channel, and should not simply be full-frame images. Where appropriate, distinguish your icon with subtle yet appealing visual treatment.|
Launcher icons should be 32-bit PNGs with an alpha channel for transparency. The finished launcher icon dimensions corresponding to a given generalized screen density are shown in the table below.
(Low density screen)
(Medium density screen)
(High density screen)
(Extra-high density screen)
|Launcher Icon Size||36 x 36 px||48 x 48 px||72 x 72 px||96 x 96 px|
You can also include a few pixels of padding in launcher icons to maintain a
consistent visual weight with adjacent icons. For example, a 96 x 96 pixel
launcher icon can contain a 88 x 88 pixel shape with 4 pixels on each side for padding.
This padding can also be used to make room for a subtle drop shadow, which can help ensure
that launcher icons are legible across on any background color.
If you are publishing your application on Android Market, you will also need to provide a 512 x 512 pixel, high-resolution application icon in the developer console at upload time. This icon will be used in various locations in Android Market and does not replace your launcher icon.
For tips and recommendations on creating high-resolution launcher icons that can easily be scaled up to 512x512, see Tips for Designers.
For information and specifications about high-resolution application icons in Android Market, see the following article: