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design an app that sells

How To Brand & Design an App That Sells

Jun 25, 2015

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If you are wanting to design an app as apart of your marketing efforts or even as a realization of a new product, you may mistakenly skip one very important step: Taking the time to properly brand and design your app.

You may be thinking, “Well, how could I forget to design my app? If I have a developer, doesn’t that mean they will also design it?”. Oh contraire! To design an app and to develop an app are completely separate ideas. Not to mention, you must also make sure your app is developed on the foundation of a strong brand with a clear target audience. Understanding these basic principles will help to launch your app into success.

What’s the difference between app design and app development?

Just like developing a website, app development only pertains to creating the functions that make up your app, not the user experience or design. If you are hunting for an app developer you will want someone well-versed in X-Code and Objective C (for iPhone) or Java (for Android).

An app designer, in contrast, will be an expert in creating visual harmony and branded experiences. Much like in web design, you will very rarely find a really great developer who is also an equally good designer. In essence, they operate with different sides of their brain and you will likely need both parties to get the best results from your new app.

App design is a unique and sprawling industry in the design world and not just any designer will do. Some designers specialize in print while others are great at creating digital experiences like websites and apps. When you seek out a designer, be sure you look for someone with brand and app experience, specifically or find two designers if needed.

Both Apple and Android have very specific and comprehensive design specifications that are important to follow and be aware of when designing your app. Hiring an experienced app designer will ensure that your app is within regulation and fits within the standards of each these platforms’ guidelines.

Branding Your App

OK. So now what??? It can be exciting to jump right in to design an app once you have the idea for it, but this can be a costly mistake. You need to lay some groundwork before you start making decisions, and especially before you start any design or development. Just like any business needs a brand, your app will need a brand. Start with some introspection and research into your target audience to begin laying the foundation for your brand.

  • What is the objective for your app? What is your objective as a company?
  • How is your app unique? What is it’s story?
  • What type of experience do you want to create for your users?
  • Who is your audience? What is their age? What do they like? Where can you find them?
  • Which app platform is the best to reach this customer?
  • How will you market your app to your customers? Which vehicles/techniques will be most profitable or engaging?

Your app designer will likely want and need this insight in order to create the best experience and start building a brand around your app. This branding process will ensure your app is targeting the right customers and that you deliver on their expectations of what you have advertised. If the design and experience of your app doesn’t match the function and concept, you can be sure to see your app sales flatline in no time.

The process of branding your app may be different depending on what you app does, but generally speaking will include things like: color development, logo consideration, font choice, and overall style. The final deliverables of this process will be foundational assets for you to carry through and build upon in the design stage for your app.

Designing + Developing Your App

Using the assets that were developed as a part of your branding efforts, your app designer will help drive your app to fruition with their visual wizardry. They will consider the entire user experience of your app, not just the visuals, including sound, animation, usability, pacing and sequence. Thinking about the app design as an entire experience and not just as a product or service is key. Only once you have a solid design that considers all of these variables will you want to move into the actual development of your app. Your designer and developer can work together to make sure that function and design are working together harmoniously.

Selling Your App

The most important part of entering the selling and deployment phase of your app, is to make sure you come prepared with a strategy. Your strategy should heavily depend, again, on what type of app you have developed and who your audience is. All of your decisions at this stage should tie back to your brand and the audience research you developed for your app.

You may find that the best strategy is to offer your app for free but also have a paid, ad-free version. If your app is a pioneer in it’s category, you may be able to offer a higher price since no competing apps exist. There is no right answer or secret sauce that works for everyone….except to make sure the foundation of your app brand and design is rock solid. Working with a marketing consultant can help you narrow down a strategy that’s perfect for you and your app.

Need help as you design an app with branding, development or marketing? Talk to K Design Co. today!

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Editor in Chief, Designer & Founder

kristin pruis

Before I enrolled in design school, I was *this* close to switching my major to become a writer. But God had other plans, and here I am, 10 years later, designing gorgeous brands & websites while nurturing my love for writing on the side.


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Teaching others everything I've learned about branding, design, and marketing over the past 10 years is a passion that truly fills my cup. No matter where you are on your journey of owning your business, I hope you'll find something here that you can take with you and leave you feeling inspired.


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