A new kind of user interface (UI) design known as “flat design” emerged in the early 2010s. The structure was essential, cutting-edge, and streamlined. Indeed, it was a daring and fascinating move. Adopting a flat design aesthetic has been rising in apps and websites since the idea was conceived. This modern design movement responds to the growing need for less complexity in an age of overwhelming data. It sounds like a flat design: it’s as flat as a pancake. Every unnecessary element is out of the plan. As a result, it seems pretty neat.
Skeuomorphism was the dominant aesthetic trend before the rise of flat design. It used realistic depictions of everyday items-for instance, the former compass logo for Safari or the first Instagram logo. It was about textures, intricate images, and fancy fonts.
- What Is Flat Design? | An Overview
- What Are The Characteristics of Flat Design
- What Are the Principles of Flat Designs?
- What are The Benefits of Flat Design?
- Few Examples of Great Flat Designs
Adopting a flat design aesthetic has led to quicker loading times, clearer text, and more engaging interfaces on the web. This is the reason several prominent companies, like Microsoft (Metro), Apple (iOS7), and Google (Gmail), have already made baby steps towards simplification. With the success of Windows 8 in 2012, flat design became increasingly popular. There has been a significant amount of continuity in the pattern. The usage of “flat design” in user interfaces, graphics, and mobile applications dates back more than a decade.
Eager to learn more? Let’s understand the fundamentals, benefits, and overview of flat design in detail!
What Is Flat Design? | An Overview
In contrast to more complex three-dimensional designs, flat designs are simplified and presented in a two-dimensional format. The Swiss influence may be seen in the style’s use of stark contrasts in color and form, as well as in its emphasis on simpler typography, great use of white space, clean lines, and regular grids.
The flat design aesthetic is a contemporary and efficient method of conveying data. It does not employ the shading, extra glare, or highlights of another design approach to create the illusion of depth in the subject matter.
This user interface eliminates the depth and perspective of any illustration. All the pieces are arranged as though they were lying on a tabletop. It doesn’t use the effects like shadows, gradients, and glow. Despite being the streamlined design, the nuances are far but straightforward. Most designers and developers feel that it is more challenging to establish the primary features in design when the interface is stripped of effects and embellishments.
This method is a stark departure compared to the three-dimensional pieces used by skeuomorphic designers. By emulating tangible objects (like drop shadows) in code, the web design technique known as skeuomorphism aims to make complex computer programs easier to use.
History of Flat Design
Flat design has yet to emerge from thin air. Its origins are often traced to the Swiss style, which design historians see as its immediate progenitor. According to the Design, this style was characterized as follows: the style stressed simplicity, readability, and objectivity. The use of sans-serif type, grids, and asymmetrical layouts was among the many contributions the two schools made. The integration of typography and photography as a medium of visual communication was also emphasized.
Fans of this style preferred basic shapes, bold and rigid typefaces with a high degree of readability, harmonious and geometrically based combinations of features, flat images, and a clear visual hierarchy, as seen by the samples of posters presented below. It gained a new lease on life in the art of the early 21st century as it rapidly gained popularity in countries throughout the globe.
Although this style took on several forms in the realm of visual design for print, such as posters, stamps, postcards, book covers, and magazines, it substantially widened its boundaries with the advent of digital innovation, particularly in the realm of user interface design. This simple and practical approach to design solutions was made possible by websites and mobile applications through the dynamic evolution of creative search. The process was given the moniker’ flat design’, which gained rapid popularity and ushered in a new age in graphic design marked by audacious skeuomorphism and ‘rich design’ as well as new problems presented by the discipline of interaction design.
- As early as 2002, Microsoft’s Windows Media Center utilized flat design principles.
- The Zune MP3 device, released in 2006, also used some flat design principles. The Zune was minimalist in its design, concentrating on big lowercase text, logos in the shape of silhouettes, and monochromatic font colors.
- Microsoft’s unveiling of the Windows Phone 7 in 2010 showed that the company was still committed to the flat design it had introduced in 2007. We started seeing menus with a gridlike layout, vivid colors, and bold, geometric forms. The Windows 8 operating system, released after Windows 7, also featured flat design characteristics such as bright colors, straightforward typography, extended shadows, and ghost buttons.
- Apple deviated from the skeuomorphic design principles it had previously followed with the introduction of iOS 7 in 2013.
What Are The Characteristics of Flat Design
“flat design” is a contemporary aesthetic that favors a pared-down, two-dimensional aesthetic. For confirmation that you’re not seeing a 3D model, keep an eye out for these six characteristics of flat design.
Contrasting Colors: Flat design depends heavily on contrasting colors to convey information to the user. These colors are typically quite vivid.
2D Styling: This is a 2D style. Thus there are no photorealistic photographs, and the forms are all flat.
Simple Typography: Flat design often employs sans-serif fonts due to their simplicity and legibility. It’s simple in design, loads quickly, and is simple to read.
White Space: White space, or negative space, is used by designers to draw attention to the parts of a page they want readers to focus on and to make the page easier to read.
Grid-Based Layouts: Symmetrical and grid-based layouts are hallmarks of typical flat design.
Minimalism: Using primary colors, no textures or gradients, relying on simple icons representing concepts.
What Are the Principles of Flat Designs?
Designers must pay more attention to fundamental best practices when creating flat-style websites. Adhering to these guidelines may make a flat design that will enhance your users’ experience.
Let’s look at some of the most fundamental guidelines designers of flat interfaces must follow.
This style is the polar opposite of skeuomorphic design because it looks barebones. This has no moving parts and aesthetically pleasing interface components or 3D effects. The balanced design movement emphasizes bold color patterns and minimal UI components to create a striking user interface.
Simple User Interface
To incorporate various UI components, designers might use simple shapes such as rectangles, circles, squares, etc. The designers can use any form that provides the optimum user interface pattern. There may be no hiccups in the performance of the multiple activity flows that are not in sync with one another.
Color and Type
The flat style does not accommodate gradients, drop shadows, and other powerful design features. Content is the central component of flat design, and the design approach holds the typography that enables creating the suitable design tone for a project. The designers can choose from a variety of typefaces featured in this design. Choosing the right font for the job may improve the final product.
There is no 3D depth in modern web design because of the prevalence of the 2D flat style. They achieved this by forgoing conventional UI features like drop shadows, strokes, and other bold embellishments. It reflects realistic visual effects with a minimum of fuss because of the design’s emphasis on simplifying pictures.
No shadows or gradients are used, making it difficult for visitors to distinguish between different items on the website and click the one they want. The designer might establish a hierarchy in the visuals to solve this issue. We can use color and font size to indicate which elements are clickable.
What are The Benefits of Flat Design?
Flat design makes it simple for viewers on desktop computers or mobile devices to read and comprehend website material. It swaps out illustrative details for (minimalist) icons and vectors. Users may quickly and easily learn any notion when accompanied by flat graphics and text.
Furthermore, sans-serif typefaces and legible typography are with priority in flat design. Also often consisting of a single contrasting hue, text backgrounds are a staple of minimalist design.
An element that adds no value to the user experience is not a part of the flat design. The idea is to direct people to the essential components of a website. Designers can redirect Users’ focus precisely where they what with ease.
Flat design relies heavily on the use of white space. Thanks to the flat style, you can easily highlight and prioritize the contact.
Faster page loading times
Websites and applications that take too long to load are frustrating, so visitors abandon them. When you need to offer customers more material but need help to grow your website, flat design or low-resolution photos and graphics are your best bets. An obvious solution would be to use a flat design style.
Sites with a flat design are quicker to load than those with plenty of photos and other visual elements. Due to the lack of skeuomorphic qualities such as gradients and serif typefaces, flat design elements are more compact. Smaller file sizes are preferable for web components since they load faster. Google adopted a sans-serif logo to speed up page loads by reducing the size of the logo.
Even from the standpoint of the developer, flat design is more efficient. Vector or code-based graphics, used in constructing flat web pages, also aid in the brevity of download times. A company’s bottom line might be affected by how quickly its website loads. It has the potential to boost a website’s conversion rate and income.
Aids in SEO
One of the most important aspects of search engine optimization for websites is how quickly their pages load. Websites with a flat design load faster, which is suitable for their search engine results. Websites that load slowly due to their abundance of graphics have worse search engine rankings than those with a flat design.
Websites with a flat design have a better possibility of ranking well in search engine results pages (SERPs), making it easier to attract visitors with a strong interest in the subject matter. Users with a definite purpose to buy are more likely to do so. In addition, Google may soon begin labeling “slow” websites on the search engine results page (SERP) if they take too long to load.
A modern Appearance
No one visits a website and reads all of its material in a single sitting. They form opinions about a site depending on how it seems to them. When people check out a website, they evaluate it based on how user-friendly it is based on the design and user interface.
An improved initial impression is one of a flat design’s many benefits to a website. Users are pleasantly affected by the sleek, modern aesthetic of flat design whether they access a website or utilize an app.
We can say that “flat design” is currently the most popular style in the design industry. Web and mobile industry heavyweights like Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc., have embraced the flat design aesthetic. This should serve as a hint to users, who may use flat design as a standard against judging the sites they explore.
Few Examples of Great Flat Designs
Since 2012, flat design has become popular in user interfaces. There are countless examples of applications and websites that follow this aesthetic. You’ll see it virtually everywhere if you become familiar with the aesthetic. The following are websites that use flat design very well:
The Space Needle loading picture is an excellent example of the minimalist design idea of using a few design elements (color, backdrop, images, and text) to convey the intended meaning. Flat design uses Pastel hues for the website’s background, drawing attention to the main idea.
The call to action button stands out from the other side by changing from black to bright yellow when the mouse hovers over it. This considerably enhances the potential for conversion.
High Fashion Store
The clothes on this website perfectly show how high fashion and lively creative doodling can work together. The website renders the Background and buttons in a single, muted hue.
In addition to the use of opposing styles, the designer also included a light switch with two settings: bright and dim. This highlights the reflecting qualities of the clothes and gives users a more immersive experience.
You can tell this is a flat design because of the muted colors and minimalist layout. A circle of icons in the homepage’s footer follows straight lines. Moving your mouse over the icon will change color so you can identify it quickly.
The regular layout and straightforward fonts also lend an air of sophistication.
When sharing key performance indicator (KPI) data with your team, Geckboard is the website to use. The UI of the website and the product are both rendered in a flat style.
Images, text, and other visuals for the product are all presented on a white backdrop to emphasize their simplicity. The homepage demos make it clear that you’ve interacted with anything by turning the numbers to Sans serif font.
Nearly everyone has at least heard of Mailchimp, a service that helps businesses send and track emails. The company frequently tests new versions of its products. In contrast, the web interface in this iteration is stark and straightforward.
Everything that must be included in an email, such as typefaces, words, graphics, and buttons, is condensed into the center mockup of the email template.
Simple but inventive, this layout uses simple color, typeface, and geometric forms. The abstract video forms pop out against the vibrant, large-scale backdrop. The video chunks that slide across the screen are excellent and effective in fostering brand loyalty.
The current design trend in the online and mobile sectors is flat design. Although the flat design is most well-known for enhancing the user experience, it also offers other advantages, such as improved readability, faster page loads, an SEO bonus, etc. Big names in the business world have already started using the benefits of flat design.
We have also experienced a way to revive our way of presenting things in a very different manner after a long time, and this has been attended well by the modern mindsets that had been planning for some authentic change for a long. With that, it is clear that the idea of a flat design keeps rolling with fantastic elements and enhanced versions like it always happen with great ideas. They keep inspiring ideas and putting you to think more about the next until you find it all absorbed.
If these advantages make sense for your company, consider using a flat design to brand your website or app. So, don’t wait! Let’s start today.