an app developed by Luke Klinker of Klinker Apps
In late 2016, when Pulse first launched, the app was one of the earliest SMS apps on Android to offer a desktop client allowing you to send and receive messages on your computer, through your phone. I had been a fan of Klinker Apps for a while because they always seemed to be a little ahead of the curve when it came to introducing new features specific to Android updates, and their dev team was friendly and open to feedback from the community. When the app came out, I quickly installed it and was thoroughly enjoying it and its desktop counterpart. But there was one thing that didn’t sit right with me - the app’s icon just didn’t feel as current as the application itself was and, being an icon designer, I figured I might just be able to help remedy that problem. So, I reached out to Luke with my design concepts, and we quickly got to work, settling on one of the icons I had created in the beginning. Over two years later, the icon still stands, and the app has risen to the third most popular SMS app on the Play Store.
the final icon design
Featuring the iconic fold concept that was widely adopted by icon designers following the introduction of Material Design, we chose this concept because it accurately portrayed Pulse’s vision of a better SMS client with the feel of a stock app that would’ve come on your device out of the box. Featuring a classic chat bubble icon and three message lines aligned with the crease in the background shape, this was a winner and it showed. The icon came with a 17% increase in installs per page visit, which would prove to be huge in the growth of the app as it hit the ground running.
As I said earlier, these guys tend to be a bit ahead of the curve.. To my knowledge, we were the first on the scene when adaptive icons were announced and included adaptive icons within two weeks of said announcement. Of course it would take months for any user to see them in action on their device, but, like they say: “to be early is to be on time…” or something like that.
And last but not least, we’ve got the notification icons. As with any decrease in scale, you have to sacrifice some detail in order to maintain visual clarity and I was able to achieve that by reducing the number of lines in the chat bubble to two instead of three. I couldn’t use the same method of aligning the message lines to the tail of the chat bubble because of size constraints, but the relationship is still clear and strong.