For many web designers, the world is flat again. Flat design has become a hot topic after Apple’s recent unveiling of the new iOS 7, the first major redesign of the Apple operating system since its release in 2007. What does this mean for the rest of us? It could mean major design changes to websites, marketing materials, mobile apps, social media pages, even company brand standards.
Flat design refers to objects and design elements that don’t contain gradients, drop shadows and textures that typically give a design its “depth.” It is easier to understand flat design when discussing the opposing force skeuomorphic design. In skeuomorphic design, elements are made to resemble another material or object in the real world. This is why extra details of shadows, gradients, and glares are added to create the effect. In flat design, by removing these gradients and shadows it can be argued that there is less distraction and clutter. Simplicity is the key benefit of adopting a flat design.
But flat design is more than just removing shadows and gradients from particular design elements. Flat design also incorporates bright colors, big type and large icons to aid in mobile usage. Particular colors can help establish a hierarchy of the content. This communicates to a user where they are in a website or what topic they are reading about in a brochure. Parallax scrolling, fixed navigation and scaling images are technologies often combined with flat design to further enhance a website or app.
A Flat Design Case Study
Our Dallas web design shop recently gave a design facelift to a website for a client who wanted mobile responsiveness and an improved blog section for content. We took the design principles of the existing site and applied them to a new flat design site. The site scales perfectly to any device and takes advantage of larger headline type and improved content.
Before (Skeuomorphic design) After (Flat design)
Is It Time to Switch?
As more and more users get accustomed to the flat designs of popular platforms, it’ll become increasingly important to switch or at least adopt a some elements of flat design. Start small if needed. Changing a business card and a social media page might be a great way to start the transition, then move on to the more time-consuming web and application projects. Staying on top of popular design trends keeps your brand looking sharp.
Is it time for you to go flat?