The new iOS 7 is making way for great advances in flat iOS icons. Here are seven ingenious flat-icon apps to draw inspiration from.

1. Paper by FiftyThree

Flat iOS App Icon Inspiration: Paper by FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree was voted an app of the year in 2012, and little wonder why. The design reflects the idea behind the app, which allows you to draw and paint. It looks as though someone used the app to create the icon, a great selling point.

2. Jelly

Flat iOS App Icon Inspiration: Jelly

The logo for Jelly is shaped like a jellyfish, but not just any jellyfish; its tentacles are shaped like Js, giving it a distinctive and easy-to-recognize look. Plus it uses only one color, one of Stern’s best practices, which draws in the eye.

3. Castro

Flat iOS App Icon Inspiration: Castro

The icon for Castro, a podcast app, is designed to look like a radio tower. The design perfectly telegraphs the purpose of the app.

4. Duolingo

Flat iOS App Icon Inspiration: Duolingo

The Duolingo icon is a great example of an app that doesn’t include superfluous words to try to convey its purpose. The contrasting green and orange make the app pop.

5. Vine

Flat iOS App Icon Inspiration: Vine

The app for Vine, the short-video app, is a perfect example of “less is more.” It uses the simple idea of a white letter on a colored background, an approach also used with great success by Twitter, Google Search, Pinterest and others.

6. Lumosity Mobile

Flat iOS App Icon Inspiration: Lumosity Mobile

Lumosity Mobile, a brain-games app, uses simple shapes to tell a story. The head shape is white, and there’s a yellow brain inside that draws immediate attention. Plus, the way the images are laid out, it looks as though the head is also a light bulb, with the yellow brain providing the light, a clever double play.

7. Clear

Flat iOS App Icon Inspiration: Clear

One of the most visually arresting icons, Clear uses the repetition of a check mark to show that it’s a to-do list app.


Designing for iOS 7 is different than past Apple operating systems. By keeping in mind best practices, drawing on the extensive Web resources for assistance and looking to proven designs for inspiration, you can design flat iOS icons that draw in your target audience.

About the author

Lexie Lu

Hello! My name is Lexie and I have a fervor for design, writing, and coffee. I graduated with a dual major in Creative Writing and Commercial Design, and through those grueling study hours (facilitated by coffee, of course) I always found time to write for myself.

My posts feature design trends throughout all industries and show how the field is always changing. There’s never a dull moment in the design world!

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