How to Make an App Reskin Look Original

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How can a mere app reskin look and feel original? Is originality even on an app reskinner’s mind? It should be! As convenient it is to ride on a viral trend, it is not a sure-fire way to earn the top spot or even drive downloads and revenue. Aside from that, an app reskin that lack originality would cause a lot of criticism not only from other developers but also from users.


So how can things become a win-win situation between the app reskinners and app users? Here are ways to make even the most cloned app reskin into a unique creation:

  1. Only use the framework of the app: its general concept and gameplay. Sometimes, even when an app reskin is visually different from the original app, the use of similar UI elements (especially if the placement and design layout are the same) and UX design would immediately give away the fact that the app is not original.
  2. Resist the lure of imitation. There are proven and trusted design strategies; then there are original design strategies. It’s tempting to just follow a popular app design template especially if the design is considered as the de facto standard of the market. You don’t need to think of something new, just think of solutions in order to improve the existing design. Even trends don’t require every new app to be uniform.
  3. Create your own trademark and own it. Even with clones sprouting the very moment an app becomes successful, it’s worth noting that the original still stands out. It’s mostly because app studios promote apps as if they are brands. There’s either a catchy tagline or an unforgettable character and the studios build from there. They aim for memorability, a characteristic that makes the app sell itself even without aggressive marketing.
  4. Repetition can do funny things to users’ minds. Just imagine downloading an app you’ve never heard of before. It looks interesting but as you open it, there’s this nagging feeling at the back of your mind that you’ve seen this app before. It could be just déjà vu, but the font is really familiar. This usually happens with app clones and apps that emulate popular apps. Do not copy design elements from other apps if said elements do not represent the brand you want to create. Create custom color palettes and avoid using typography (especially the customized ones) prominently used by other apps.
  5. Small details matter. Sometimes injecting character or just a certain vibe about an app changes the way people perceive it. Set goals to engage users to a personal level. The main character could be a typical cute cat that is not really a standout but is animated to make different facial expressions. Interactions like this can create a unique user experience.
  6. Good quality performance is a must. “That’s an app reskin. I’m sure it’s crappy” said a good friend but he downloaded the app anyway. The app reskin was still loading after thirty seconds…then it crashed – and that’s just the beginning. As users demand more from free apps, app reskins should aim to deliver the best quality. An app reskin after all, needs to hook the audience before the time is up.

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