The flat design is probably the most fashionable trend in web design these days. Its popularity is mainly due to Microsoft with its Windows 8 design and Google with its new minimalist design.
We are used to apply for Skeuomorphism for some time now, a concept promoting the realistic appearance of 3D, which happens to be the opposite of this new trend. Flat design focuses on the simple two-dimensional appearance. It excludes any effect of depth, shadows and makes gradients and textures dissapear. It is made to be very easy to use and to refine the interface design. In other words, the different features must be very clear for the user, while maintaining a completely minimalist look.
Here are some reasons for choosing flat design:
Life after Web 2.0
We have gradually separated from the Web 2.0 mentality. Design elements such as shiny buttons and surfaces, light gradients and useless textures have become an old game.
The graphics of Web 2.0 focus on more strong and practical visual interfaces. Realistic effects of water droplets splashing the canvas, shiny plastic surfaces or dazzling glass reflections that used to be a trend, have enjoyed a certain degree of popularity because they used to remind us the attractive qualities of real world objects. Things had to be visually interactive.
In contrast, flat design avoids all the visual flourishments which became outmoded. As its name suggests, flat design allows the user to see in a “flat” way, and guides him very intuitively within the interface. Graphic elements are not trying to visually mimic the features. They focus on the essential parts for transmitting information and facilitate navigation.
Although flat design has not yet been crowned “Web 3.0”, its influence could soon be settled in the heart of many designers.
Typography is an essential element in flat design. Words are used to communicate a message, to provide tools for navigation and to tell users what to do on your website. When it comes to web design, a relevant text is worth a thousand pictures. On many websites, an elegant typography becomes the centerpiece of design. Of course, in order to maintain a certain visual consistency, it has to be well-matched with the minimalist style that dominates the interface.
Note that the use of capital letters is critical to highlight titles and navigation options.
Flat design is a colorful trend. The designers use a variety of different colours, often bold and bright. Many traditional rules on matching colors give way to rainbow shades. Generally, bright colors work well on light and dark backgrounds, creating a contrast and allowing users to obtain clear and understandable designs.
This approach of minimalist design uses large items in large spaces, in order to avoid the result of being in excess. It emphasizes the ease of use, allowing easy and intuitive visualising.
Flat design is based upon the use of a reduced number of decorative elements. The functional aspect is vital and any unnecessary visual element (able to distract the user) will be banned for obvious reasons.
To sum up: the fewer you will have, the better your website will be.
Icons and illustrations
If you are interested in flat design, you have to take seriously into consideration the usage of icons and illustrations in 2D for your website. Icons have a “flat” and simple appearance that anyone is able to notice. As for the minimalist illustrations, they allow the user to navigate easily and add a touch of unique creativity in design.
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You want to use flat design to create your website? The next examples will amaze you:
Here are some examples of websites using flat design:
83 Design Collective