How To Design An App

January 8, 2024

By the Alpha Bravo Development team

Have you ever wondered how to design a good app? Are you curious about what makes some apps better than others from a design standpoint? If so, keep reading to find out!We’re here to tell you everything you need to know, including the traits that all well-designed apps have and the most exciting design trends you can expect to see this year and in the future.

Good App Design: The Basics

Before we explain the specific steps you can follow to simplify the app design process, let’s break down some basic tenets of good app design.It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a dating app, a gaming app, or an app that helps you stay organized. The best apps almost always share the following design characteristics:

Good Color Choices

At first, something like color might not seem like a big deal. In reality, though, color can have a significant impact on design and how well people respond to your app.For example, if your colors are too bright, they might be a distraction or be overwhelming to your audience. If they’re too dark and don’t contrast well with your text color, they might make the information you’re sharing hard to read.

Clean Typography

Speaking of text color, typography is another important characteristic of good app design. Typography refers to the style and overall appearance of all the text used in your app. It includes things like font choice, font size, and even the spacing between lines of text.If there are issues with your app’s typography, it can seriously impact the readability of your information. This, in turn, can cause frustration and may lead to people avoiding your app after they download it (or deleting it altogether).

Designed for Different Screens

The best app designers know that not everyone is working with the latest iPhone. They recognize that people access apps from different kinds and sizes of devices. Because of this, they work hard to make sure any app they design fits a range of screen sizes and looks good on all of them.

Easy-to-Navigate User Interfaces

Good app design isn’t just about appearances. It’s also about usability.If people can’t figure out how to use your app and have no idea where things are located, they’re going to get frustrated. If enough people are frustrated with the app, they’ll delete it from their devices, leave negative reviews, and tell their friends and family not to download it. All of this impacts your business’s bottom line.


Well-designed apps are accessible to a wide range of audiences. Again, good designers are empathetic and recognize that all kinds of people are using their apps, including those who have disabilities.The best apps are accessible and include features that help members of certain populations to use them more effectively. For example, a well-designed and accessible video streaming app will include closed captions for those with hearing impairments.

How to Design a Good App

Now, let’s get specific. Here are some steps you can take when designing an app to make sure it looks great, attracts lots of users, and aligns with your business goals:

Monitor the Competition

If you know what kind of app you want to create and which businesses will be your competitors, go ahead and take a look at their apps.The purpose of this research isn’t to copy them. Instead, the goal is to see what’s working and what isn’t and to get a sense of what you like and don’t like.Taking the time to research the competition can also help you to see what kinds of design elements their apps are lacking so that you can include them in yours.

Keep It Simple

It doesn’t matter what kind of app you’re designing or what your business is. In most cases, it’s best to keep your app design simple and streamlined.What happens if you design a cluttered, complicated app that’s full of images, text, and pop-up ads? At the very least, it will be difficult for your audience to navigate it. This type of app may also cause users to give up on your app after just a couple of uses.Sticking to a simplistic approach is especially helpful when you’re new to app design. Don’t bite off more than you can chew when working on your first design project.

Use the Grid

Grids are effective tools for app designers of all levels.If you’re making plans for how you want your app to look, consider using a grid tool. This can help you figure out the spacing and placement of text, images, buttons, and other elements and make sure nothing overlaps or is crooked.Grids make it easier for you to create an app layout that is neat and organized. They also simplify the design process for those who have a hard time visualizing how their app is going to look.

Choose the Right Colors

We’ve already discussed the importance of color when it comes to app design. Make sure you’re choosing colors that align with your goals and will be appealing to your audience.If you’re not sure which colors to use, take a step back and think about why people are going to be visiting your app. For example, is it a health or fitness-related app? If so, colors associated with health like green, blue, and orange may be good choices.In addition to the background color (or colors) used in your app design, consider the colors of the text, icons, and buttons, too. In general, it’s best for text, button, and icon color to contrast with the background colors. That way, everything is easy to read and locate.Consider brand alignment, too. If you’re creating an app to complement an existing business, factor in your branding colors and style to make sure everything is cohesive.This adds a sense of credibility and helps to prevent confusion. If people see your logo and brand colors right when they download the app, they’ll know they’ve found the right one and will be more inclined to use it.

Repeat Design Elements

Speaking of cohesion and consistency, it’s best to repeat design elements across your whole app. This creates a more uniform experience and ensures that people will always know where to go when using your app. Need an example of what repetition looks like in the app design world? Let’s use your app’s home screen. The “Subscribe” button will be located in a specific place, and it will have a specific color and style.When you’re creating other pages of the app, the button should stay in the same place and look the same. This ensures that people can always find it and don’t get confused or annoyed (which may cause them to not subscribe at all).

Separate Text and Images

Make sure there’s plenty of space between words and lines of text. If words or lines are too close together, this can present readability issues. It also causes your app to look cluttered and may make it unappealing to new users.On a similar note, it’s also a good idea to take advantage of the negative space between images. Negative space refers to space around and between subjects. Negative space lets your design “breathe” and prevents the app from looking too cluttered.

Factor in Accessibility Elements

You know now how important accessibility is when it comes to app design. When you’re creating an app, make sure you factor in accessibility elements for different users. Take the buttons in the app, for example. Are they large enough that people can hit them accurately, even if they have hand tremors or a lack of motor control?What about text size? Can users change the size of the text so they can read it even if they have vision issues? Could you include a screen-reading feature so those who have trouble reading can hear the text read out loud?

Make Several Drafts

Your app isn’t going to be perfect the first time around. It’ll take several drafts before you figure out the design and are happy with how it looks and functions.Be patient and be willing to go back to the drawing board to clean things up, move things around, and get a finished product that works for your audience and helps you achieve your business goals.

Test and Retest

Part of the drafting process is testing and re-testing your app. This gives you a chance to see what’s working and what isn’t.When testing your app and evaluating the design, it’s also helpful to have several different people look at it and test it.This gives you a chance to make sure your vision is coming to life in the way you had hoped. It also allows you to assess accessibility features and make sure they work in the way you intended.

Consult a Professional

It’s okay if you’re struggling with any part of the app design process, or if you simply don’t have the time to plan and design a good-looking app. There’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional to assist you.Professional designers know what it takes to get a high-quality app that helps you achieve your business goals and give your audience what they need and want.

Top 2021 Design Trends

Before you start designing your app, it’s also a good idea to consider the design trends that brands will be using in 2021 and beyond. Here are some to keep in mind as you move forward with the app creation process:


When designing apps in 2021, one of the most important things to remember is that less is more. The more minimalistic your app design is, the easier it’ll be for users to find what they need and figure out how to use it.Minimalism also helps to reduce overwhelm, which is something many consumers today are struggling with. They’re bombarded with ads and images all day, every day.If your app can provide something different and introduce them to a simpler, more zen-like experience, it’ll stand out from others on the market.


Neomorphism is an amalgamation of two words: “new skeuomorphism.” This is a new app design trend that is making app buttons and icons more interesting.Neomorphism adds a unique, three-dimensional quality to these normally flat features. This trend keeps apps looking simple, streamlined, and minimalistic. However, it also adds a little extra flair and character.

Soothing Visuals

Minimalism is a top app design trend for 2021. It’s worth noting, though, that you can still have a minimalist design while also including graphics and visuals.The key is to make sure they’re relevant and to avoid overwhelming users with too many images at once. Another tip to maintain a minimalistic vibe and stay on-trend is to include visuals that have a soothing effect on your audience.People are stressed in 2021, to say the least. By including images that put them at ease (a boat on the ocean, tree branches waving in the wind, a freshly brewed cup of coffee, etc.), you can help to minimize some of that stress and guide people back to your app when they feel the need to recharge.

Pastel Colors

Pastel colors are also trendy for app design in 2021, and it’s not hard to see why.The great thing about pastels is that they’re easy on the eyes. When your app uses a mint green, pale blue, or soft pink background, it’s less likely to cause eye strain or overwhelm your audience.It’s also easier to make sure your text color contrasts with a pastel backdrop. You’re less likely to have text blend in with a light-colored background, and this reduces the likelihood that your users will run into readability issues.

Abstract Art

Another way to include images in your app design and stay on trend is to add abstract art. Abstract art and simple geometric shapes add a lot of interest and character to your app. They’re less likely to be overwhelming, though, compared to other types of images. They also don’t distract from the functionality and usability of the app.

Creative Data Visualization

Data visualization has been a trend in mobile app design for a while now. It involves providing people with unique graphics to understand certain types of data, from the number of steps they’ve taken per day to how much time they’ve spent on a particular activity.In 2021, app designers are going to get more creative with these data visualizations. They’ll find new ways to create graphs, charts, and other visuals that provide information while still being unique and engaging.

Upgrade Your App Design Today

At first, learning how to design an app can be stressful. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to have a graphic design or development background to get a great-looking finished product.If you keep these guidelines in mind, you’ll be able to design an app that looks good, functions well, and helps you to build a successful business.Do you need more help with app design beyond these tips? If so, get in touch with us today. We’re always happy to explain our app design and development services or to set up a consultation.

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