When you admire an app icon on your Mac or iOS device, chances are that it may have been designed by The Iconfactory's David Lanham. I had the unique experience of having him sketch me over FaceTime for a custom avatar portrait, and he's a talented and friendly artist. The Verge's Ellis Hamburger recently interviewed Lanham about his work, his training and the reason why eye-catching icons are so important.
Lanham, who has created such classic and whimsical icons as Twitterific's "Ollie," Acorn's acorn, Coda's leaf and the gorgeous calendar for Fantastical, notes in the interview that "icons are the face and branding of an app, and they set the tone and give people an idea of what to expect for an app's purpose, quality and content. It's extremely important to really nail the message and content of the icon if you want the best chance of someone initially checking out your app as well as keeping it on their device (or at least out of a subfolder)."
Personally, I was happy to hear that Space Doggy is one of Lanham's favorite drawings, since I've used that drawing (a small fragment of which is seen below) as my Mac desktop for two years. It's a great interview with one of the people who makes working with Apple products such a joy.