Flat Design: The Good and the Bad

It seems like, without us knowing, a new design trend has taken over the webspace.  Flat Designs have been popping up all over the web lately.  With Microsoft (look at their newly designed Windows interface) and Google as advocates for this new design approach – it seems like this design trend might be here to stay.

What is Flat Design?

Flat Design is exactly what you think it is.  It is about stripping the web designs of any three dimensional effects, which means designing without shadows, gradients or texture. The idea behind Flat Design is simplicity – it is about streamlining the elements on the page to bring attention to the details that matter.  There is one major point to clarify though – Flat Design does not mean there is no depth.  The use of pictures can actually add interest to your site, especially when used with flat buttons and text.

Flat Design makes a lot of sense to me, given that we are using our smartphones and tablets more than ever before. Having a minimalistic and clean design translate so much better to the smaller screens.  Just look at the new interface on the Windows phones and on Windows 8!  I love the colour-blocking effect combined with the crispness of the text and pictures.

Photo: cnet.com
(Photo: news.cnet.com)

The Bad: While I love the look and feel (yes, I love the minimalistic look), I’m not sure how well this design trend will be received across different industries. We’ve seen how well it has worked for the tech and creative industries, but how well will it work for..say, my industrial clients? Time will tell, I suppose. Just look at how well skeuomorphism played out! Another concern I have is that while skeuomorphism made the web experience an easier transition for beginner users (because it imitates real life), flat design is a more sophisticated approach. Designers will have to make interactive elements of a site stand out that much more!

Flat Design Inspirations

Check out FlatDesign. and Web Designer Depot for some great inspirations. Oh the possibilities!  *Sigh*

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