How a designer made £89k in a week from selling app icons

Minimalist iphone Icon set
Minimalist iphone Icon set

With the release of iOS 14, Apple have finally given us all the ability to customise the app icons on our homescreen – well, as long as we’re willing to jump through a few hoops.

As soon as the feature was released, viral social posts emerged from users creating radical new looks for their phones.

When the moment arrived, designer Traf was ready. He’d previously made an alternative icon set back in 2013, when it was still possible to ‘jailbreak’ iOS devices with your own files.

Back then, he’d made just $13, but now it was open to everyone, he had a whole new market. Traf explains:

As soon as I noticed the hype, I put together some icons in my own style, downloaded some widgets, and tried it all out. I thought it looked cool, so I shared a screenshot of it on Twitter. Right away, people started asking about the icons in the screenshot. So I quickly packaged them, uploaded them to Gumroad, and embedded them on a Notion site using Super. All of this took about two hours.

The next day, the tweet had hundreds of retweets, thousands of likes, and over 100k impressions. The day after that, almost a million. The next thing I knew, it was everywhere. My icons got published on notable tech sites like Cult of Mac, iMore, AllThingsTech, and Gridfiti. I think at this time I was around the $6k mark in sales.

Then, MKBHD happened. He shared a video about all of this—using my icons for his setup, and linked them in the description. The next thing I knew, I was making $28 what felt like every 28 seconds. My phone turned into the ultimate dopamine dispenser (if it wasn’t already). I had to disable notifications.

The day after, sales jumped from $6k to about $40k, and during the time of this writing, sales are at $116,147 from 4,188 customers.

All from one. Single. Tweet.

Find out more about Traf here.

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