Flat is the New Black
One of the most significant design philosophies to emerge over the last couple of years has been flat design. The principle of this trend is the removal of real world elements—shadows, gradients, extra textures—and replacing those attributes with basic designs in imagery, type, and color to make a more simplified digital environment. Emulating post-World War II modernism, flat design is a style that creates uniformity, structure based on grids, and simple typography.
The first big adaption of flat design was by Microsoft with their 2010 Windows 8 design. This interface really set a tone for web design and reinvented the sense of what modern digital design looks like. Then in 2013, Apple accelerated the adaption of flat design when they dropped their skeuomorphism layout, and opted for a sleek flat design with iOS 7.
Like Windows and Apple, more and more designers are ditching the idea of skeuomorphism—where objects retain their ornamental elements, derivative of something in the physical world—and gravitating towards flat design. While before a manila folder on a desktop meant you could file a document away inside of it, or the calculator on your iPhone looked like it had actual buttons, flat design has made those conventions seem outdated.
Not only does flat design offer a more striking appearance through simple and clean features, but it also makes a site more functionally efficient. That is, because content is presented in a more straightforward and clearer manner, it is usually easier for the user to experience site. This clarity of information also makes the user perceive the site as more honest. Furthermore, flat design enables the designer to implement an incredibly responsive site that is very customizable and has much faster load times.
Check out some of my favorite examples of flat design here: