New Decade, New Bubble Ball IconThu, Jan 2, 2020
I released my first iPhone app, Bubble Ball, just over 9 years ago. I’ve been redesigning parts of Bubble Ball recently and figured it could use a new icon as well.
Note: I’m not a graphic designer. I’m a developer who enjoys the process of dabbling in more artistic things. I’m documenting this largely for my enjoyment.
The original icon has served Bubble Ball well for almost a decade. When I designed it, sunburst patterns in icons were very popular; Angry Birds Free—which Bubble Ball surpassed for a time on the USA free app charts—had a sunburst, and even the iTunes and App Store icons at the time had a sunburst with very thin rays.
But trends have changed and all good things must come to an end. During this Christmas break, I was enjoying being done with finals and decided to design a new icon for Bubble Ball. After retiring the sunburst of the original icon, I realized I didn’t need to have the words “Bubble Ball” on the icon: the icon is almost always adjacent to the app name, making the extra words redundant.
I did keep the ball and flag, though. The ball and flag are core elements of the game, and likely the most recognizable. In the redesign of the rest of the game, I left them untouched—and I think they’re the only graphics that are still original, aside from the Bubble Ball logo.
Previous versions of Bubble Ball had the option to change the bubble color, but this was hidden away in the options menu and probably not used by many people. The newest version rotates through the different colors throughout the levels, making it a bit more colorful. I wanted the new icon to have more color, so I also drafted some ideas that included all the bubble colors (except gray).
After designing nine ideas on four backgrounds, I conducted a very informal, statistically unsound, survey of my friends on Facebook to get feedback. The first column in the grid above is most representative of the game and was highest-voted, but people liked the variety of color in the other ideas, particularly in columns 6 and 7.
For the final result, I combined elements of the most popular ideas and used the most popular background. I kept the representative “ball rolling towards the flag” and added a few other colors to it. Again, I’m not a graphic designer, but I’m pleased with the result. :)
The rather tedious icon export and sizing process was significantly less painful with Figma than with the tools I had previously used. I had to learn about Android’s adaptive icons, since I hadn’t touched Bubble Ball’s icon since the introduction of this new icon format.
This was an enjoyable learning experience, and the new icon is now available on iOS, iPadOS, and Android in the redesigned Bubble Ball (Pro) v3.2.
Now I’m finishing the process of updating the icon everywhere on the website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
I’d love to hear what you think of the new icon and the redesigned Bubble Ball!
Try this fun physics puzzle game, where you will test your ingenuity and thinking skills to get the bubble to the goal through 156 official levels (48 free) and over 200 community-created levels. A great game for all ages!
New in version 3.2:
- New icon
- Refreshed graphics: new look, same great gameplay!
- Improved level select screen: quickly preview all 156 levels
- Community Levels improvements: play levels made by other Bubble Ball fans throughout the world with an enhanced Community Levels interface