Koku App Icon Redesign

2 July 2013


In April we released a major update to Koku that included redesigned app icons for both Mac and iOS. 


 As you can see, the new icon is a major shift from the old. The previous icons were a representation of the Japanese word “koku” – a measure of wealth defined as the amount of rice one person ate in a year. These icons were designed by FadingRed’s cofounders before I joined the team and were unique in the sea of more monetarily focused icons in the App Store’s finance category.

The impetus behind the redesign was that the rice bowl icon may cause confusion amongst users discovering Koku for the first time. While aware that some may associate the app with food and cooking rather than personal finance, we hoped the icon’s uniqueness would help Koku stand out amongst the more traditional personal finance app icons. However, after some time had passed this was proving not to be the case, and after careful consideration we decided it was time to redesign the icons with a more traditional look in mind.

The redesign process was relatively quick as we wanted to release our update in time for tax season in hopes of being included in an App Store feature (which we were!). The first step involved a brief competitive analysis of other app icons in the personal finance category. Lots of icons involving piggy banks, wallets, and other forms of money. No surprise there!

Next, I made rough sketches of a few concepts. After deciding on a concept as a team, I took photos of a few different wallets to use as reference for perspective, texture, and lighting. Yes, part of the redesign process involved me shopping for wallets at a nearby department store! Rough job, but someone has to do it.


Then came Photoshop — a lot of layers and compositing. I even made a Koku branded credit card, cash, and coins! 


Overall, we are pleased with the final look of the app icons and found the redesign to be a very worthwhile undertaking.