How I Got A Stunning App Icon For $25

How I Got A Stunning App Icon For $25

Everybody is aware of the importance of beautifully designed app icon. The best icons would draw more attention at themselves in the App Store, hence – more downloads and sales.

For those that possess basic design skills making an icon is not a big deal. For me it’s an unsurmountable obstacle though. It’s hard for me to design a single button or pick a color scheme, let alone an icon.

There are plenty of design studios that will offer help with the design at a hefty price. Look at these professional design services from Envato Studio. The prices for icon design vary between $50 and $500.

The problem is an indie developer cannot afford these prices. Even though I had the money, it was unreasonable to spend it before the app started making any profits. As you can see from Taxi Explorer revenue stats, that would not be justified in my case.

This is where Fiverr comes to the rescue. If you live on another planet, this is a place where freelancers offer fast gigs for $5. Sure, many of them would put as much effort as the cost is. However there are hidden gems. Take a moment and browse their design icon gigs.


There are so many gigs, how to find the best one? I’ll share my secret solution: don’t go for the best one, order several gigs and then pick the best result! Just follow my steps.

Step 1: Find your gigs

When I needed an icon for my application, this step took the most time. I logged in to Fiverr and searched for [app icon design]. I opened the first ~50 gigs in new tabs in my browser. Then I started examining those gigs one by one.

The most important criteria was whether I like the samples of previous work, that the author had shared. I closed the tabs with less exciting or mediocre work immediately.

Another criteria was user comments. I took a quick look and if I saw traces of dissatisfied customers – I closed the tab.

By this time at least half of the tabs were closed. That was the easy part.

I grouped the remaining gigs into three parts. Part one – the stars. Here I put those with the biggest portfolio and largest number of comments. The second group were the masters – those that had a particular inspiring piece of work, that had made big impression on me. The third group were the freshmen – those with beautiful work, but small number of comments. If I couldn’t determine for a gig which group it belonged, yes, that’s right – I closed the tab.

Time for the semi-finals. I went through each group and closed the least appealing gigs. Then did that again till I had up to 3 – 4 gigs in each group.

Now I had to choose a winner from each group. I used additional criteria for my final choice. The author had to offer sending the source file (psd, usually as an extra to the gig priced at $10). Some gigs had “Commercial use” clause as an extra, priced at $20. I tried to avoid that rip-off. I also tried to pick authors from different parts of the world.

Gig delivery periods may vary, but time is not important here. It’s tempting to buy 1 day delivery at additional price. This will increase the total cost for no reason. You have to be patient to get the best result.

I finally chose a gig from Sri Lanka from the stars group and a gig from India from masters group. I had the feeling that those two gigs would be enough, because their portfolio looked gorgeous. Anyway, I picked a guy from Egypt from the freshmen. He had only one previous work to show, so that was a risky bet.

Step 2: Contact gig authors

I contacted each author before gig purchase. I wrote this simple message:

Hi gig_author_name_here,

I need an icon for my iPhone app called “Taxi Explorer”. The app lists taxi and Uber-like carsharing services for a given city. The user enters start and destination point on a map, and the app estimates how much the ride will cost with these services. You may see more details on its site: The main app colors are #b14437 and #fcf0cc and I would like you to use one or both of them in the icon. I prefer to keep it simple, flat design.

I like your work and I count on your imagination. Tell me if this description is enough for you, so I buy your gig and you start the work.


The responses came pretty quickly – All authors answered within 6 hours. If you follow my steps, mind timezone differences, so leave a whole day just in case. All authors were glad to accept the work. I proceeded with buying the gigs – as I said, just the basic gig for $5, no extras at this time.

Step 3: Gather results

This was the easiest step but it felt like ages to me as I was impatient to see the results. Yet the first result from Sri Lanka came after mere 6 hours:


That was fast, but it was far from the result I expected. I requested a simple modification – to make the icon look more bright and make the location indicator smaller. I got the result again within 5 hours, really fast.

The next day I had a delivery from Mohamed – the guy from Egypt.


Well, this was amazing! And it was pretty fast too – it came 30 hours after the order. I liked this icon so much I didn’t requested any modifications. As I still expected the results from one more gig, I replied to the guy that I’d take a day or two to decide if I wanted to buy the psd file.

The next day I didn’t receive anything and I started to worry. Hopefully the day after I finally had a message from India:


This one took 75 hours from order to delivery, but it’s ok. I liked this icon and the app could do with it. However the magnifying glass was outstanding. It was the clear winner from my little competition.

I wrote to Mohamed to tell him I’ll buy the image sources. He arranged making additional custom offer at $10. I was so happy with the icon that I added $10 tip to it.

Total money spent

As I said, I bought the basic gigs at $5 each. For each transaction Fiverr took $0.5 comission, I had 3 x gigs, 1 x extra gig and 1 x tip, totally $2.5 in Fiverr fees:

Sri Lanka icon: $5
India icon: $5
Egypt icon: $5
Egypt icon sources: $10
Tip for Egypt author: $10
Fiverr processing fees: $2.5

TOTAL: $37.5

Yes, I overran the budget from the post title, but the result far exceeded my expectations. I use this icon for a year now and I’m very satisfied. I would like to recommend icon’s author, however he is no longer offering gigs on Fiverr. Anyway, if you, Mohamed, read this, thank you again very much.

You see, the results may vary from mediocre to outstanding. That’s why it is important to have a choice when dealing with design – either mobile UI, icon, logo, or website. Go to and give it a try.

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