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The Rise of Flat Web Design

Flat design has become more and more popular over the past two years. Many Orlando web designers have adopted this design philosophy, and yet, do not know how or why it began. Flat design began as user experience relief from the more realistic skeuomorphic style. This style is the one being blamed for cluttered screens and the excessive use of images. The thought process behind this style was to give the user familiarity by using images with a heightened sense of realism.

This has now taken a back seat to the more popular flat design trend. Flat design opposes this clutter with a minimalistic design approach that focuses more on usability. It uses white space, two-dimensional illustrations, and vibrant colors to convey messages more efficiently. This functionality turns a site’s focus into the user experience, and websites using this technique are successfully regarded as being user-friendly.

Microsoft was one of the pioneers of flat design, as seen by some as a direct shot at Apple’s skeuomorphic design within its iOS interface. Instead of having a realistic camera and photo as a representation, a clean, simple icon represented its applications.


Some Challenges to Flat Design:

  • Not Easy to Pull Off- Its minimalistic approach makes it difficult to execute, and if it’s not done correctly, the entire representation may become confusing.
  • Can be Visually Boring – There is a fine line you may cross when removing all types of characters from an image to make it flat. If you remove too much, it is looks too bland; if you leave too much, it may look overdone.
  • Don’t Over Simplify- Make icons simple and elegant, not unrecognizable.

The popularity of flat design, combined with the fact that it’s a challenging design to pull off, means there are many people trying to use flat design without any knowledge of the design techniques, creating not only confusion, but also a negative following.

As flat design is evolving as we get closer to 2016, some new elements have been added to help this trend continue, also known as Flat 2.0.

  • Ghost Buttons- With a simple touch of putting a thin border around a clear CTA, it gives the visual impression of a button without interfering with the minimal feel of flat design.
  • Parallax- Even though it has been around for a while, the pairing of parallax with flat design makes an exciting addition to a clean site.
  • Long Shadows- Not your typical drop shadows (which I hope are gone forever), this long shading technique adds a bit of flair and depth while still maintaining the integrity of flat design.

Choosing Flat 2.0 as your design choice will help your website return to the basics of design. If you need help with Orlando web design for your company, contact On Target Digital Marketing at 866-998-6886, or contact us online.

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