Everything needs a "face". Unless you were born with one, your "face" will either an icon, logo, or sometimes both. I am talking about, of course, mobile applications. The design of icons are often overlooked by most people as they are deemed less important in comparison to the weight of the entire product.
Well, they are wrong.
I believe icon designs must be placed at the top of the priority list and carefully crafted with utmost importance. This is because of two reasons:
1. Icons and logos define the entire product.
Yes, what your product can do is important but how your product achieve the thing your product does is far more important by comparison. Icon, in essence, define the user experience you promise to the users. You can have multiple different screens with many cool functionality but if they all have a unique look and feel, what you have is a messy, unorganized product with broken user experience. Creating the icon and logo for the product before you start designing the user interface can help you create more consistent user experience. After all, user experience is the king.
2. First impressions are hard to ignore.
"Do not judge a book by it's cover!" , my mom always used to say. The truth is, everyone does; which means you must prepare your product to be judged by its icons. Unless your product is already extremely popular, which I doubt you can get there without a decent design, icon and logo are your only weapons you have to fight against your competitor.
I don't claim to be the best designer, let alone a designer, but it saddens me when lot of developers produce great products but failed in the market due to neglecting their icon design.