‘Flat’ design has been trending amongst graphic and web designers for some time now but how did it come about and why?
Yesterday Apple announced the release of their brand new operating system iOS7 which has an entirely new look – they’ve gone ‘flat’ crazy!
What is ‘Flat’ Design?
Flat design is a style that focuses on aesthetics being very clear, sharp and minimalistic. Lacking any kind of texture or blurry drop shadow. It focuses more on the bare essentials. The steer away from skeumorphic design is due to that everyone is now familiar with using all of these complex peices of technology and the functionality they provide. We no longer have to hold peoples hand by over designing everything. Finally switches don’t have to actually look like switches anymore!!
Flat design has very similar design principles to print design. Now we have super high definition screens with four times the amount of pixels, we don’t have to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes anymore. Screens now look like a printed page. We can now focus more on typography, colours and layout which makes for a greater user experience.
Flat design is about stripping away the superfluous to concentrate on user functionality and utility. Think of it as Liberace’s washing machine; people no longer want the elaborate to perform the elementary. Users want apps to concentrate on delivering an experience driven by functionality and clarity that utilises the full extent of digital interfaces rather than one that focuses on mimicking the analogue world.
Our Favourite 10 Examples
Flat UI Pro
When designmodo released their UI kit it blew everyone away and really set the bar, this is a great example of flat design at its best.
Flat UI Colours
Designmodo also made this awesome little microsite full of really useful Flat colour palettes.
This is a great example of beautiful typography and colour leading the entire design.
Check out the little boats animating along the screen! A great landing page by dropbox which is promoting their first developer conference.
A beautiful muted 3 colour scheme from Italian designer Lorenzo Verzini proving that sometimes less is most definitely more.
Once you get over the initial vertigo inducing camera angle you can appreciate the beauty of this website. A live camera gives a birsdeye view of the office over icons that are literally painted onto the floor. Very smart.
Simple crisp fonts and basic colours ensure this design is timelessly effective.
Minimal design; maximum functionality. A highly intuitive app, that is easy for users whilst being lovely to look at.
This site possesses a bright, dynamic colour scheme- which falls well short of garish- and striking typography combined with clever animation.
A one page website that is the portfolio of designer Justin Aguilar. Two much mixing of typography can leave a website looking messy and cluttered but this design of Novecento Wide and Source Sans Pro creates a page with a crisp, clean design.
Apple started off the craze of skeumorphic designs and I think they’ve now officially ended it. Apple are not exactly leading the flat design revolution; Microsoft Phones have always been flat. However the huge amounts of power and influence they exert in the design world means that their shift over to flat design, in my opinion, means it’s staying for good.