A Glimpse into Future of Flat Design – Pros and Cons

Flat Design is everywhere! You may love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it.

Flat Design is ruling the website design trends from quite some time, and is getting stronger with every passing year. This concept of flat design started gaining ground back in the mid-2000s, and is present everywhere now-a-days. This minimalistic design approach that focuses on usability, has gradually emerged as an important aspect in the contemporary design trends.

This visually simplistic design is fluff-free and has its roots in simplicity. Flat design has existed for a long time, but entered the hall of fame only in the year 2012 and 2013. Credits to the release of Windows 8, and iOS 7, as flat design significantly evolved during the period. Windows modular layout is filled with vibrant blocks of color and simple elements. Along with, Apple’s use of clean & simplified icons caught-up the attention of one and all. Flat design, thereafter, became highly visible and recognizable style of designing.

Let’s take a deep dive into the concept of flat design. Before we begin, let’s know what exactly a flat design is.

What is Flat Design?

Flat Design is the use of simple design elements such as shapes, high-color contrasts, and blocks. The flat design features open space, clean, crisp edges, bright colors, along with two-dimensional illustration. The main intent of this design pattern is to simplify the user-interface. It relies more on typography than graphic design; and works without including any flashy animations, embellishments, illustrations, and textures.

The design gets its name from the usage of two-dimensional characteristics, including use of flat shapes. Distractions are eliminated because minimalism is deeply rooted in flat design, due to which it can deliver a clean and friendly user-experience.

Microsoft – an IT giant – was one of the company that first applied flat design style to its interface. The design was considered as a backlash against the trendy skeuomorphic style of design which was introduced by Apple with its iOS interface. Rather than converting a real-life item like calendar, into a small realistic illustration, flat design advocates to keep apps with simple, icon-like images. Moreover, flat design illustrates a clear segregation between technology and apparent items, instead of bringing aspects of real-life to an interface.

Future of Flat Design

Pros and Cons of Flat Design

Ever since the flat design became popular, there is a debate regarding the sustainability of this design trend. So let’s take a look at this trendy design style that is enjoying the center stage presently.

Pros: Flat Design is modish & trendy

With fresh look, simplistic approach and contemporary feel, flat design is sweeping all over the web design. Different forms and variations of flat design are being widely used by designers; be it a logo design, website design, or mobile app. Being a designer or developer you are advised to keep abreast with the latest trends. So, joining the flat design bandwagon will surely be a good deal.

Cons: Sustainability is the concern

On the flip side, sustainability is a major concern attached with this amazing design style. It is evident that you will surely like to design or develop something that sustains for a long time and has an extended shelf life, instead of developing something that is trendy or in- the- moment but may become obsolete soon.

Pros: UI is user-centric

The nature of flat design is simple, clean, and sharp. In flat design, if any particular element does not serves any functional purpose then it is just a glorified mess. It believes in doing away with unnecessary decorations and distractions. It ensures an easy and clean navigation. Moreover, it emphasizes on functionality over looks or style. And that is why it has become a preferred option for mobile app designs. On the other hand, bright and contrasting colors make illustrations buttons pop from backgrounds, grabs the users’ attention easily and guide their eyes.

Cons: Compromised Usability

In an attempt to streamline flat design style, clean concept, designers often compromise on the usability. They tend to focus too much on overall aesthetics that adversely affects the usability of web or mobile design. Again, as everything is flat like images, it becomes hard for the users to find out what is clickable and what is not. In the pursuit of simplicity, features and actions are often hidden from the view.

Pros: Compatible with Responsive Design

Flat design continues to dominate in the web design and mobile trends for many good reasons. This simplistic style is compatible with responsive design. It is all about the grid-based layouts, blocks, or cards. All these elements feature uniform geometric shapes because these shapes can be easily applied to other design categories.

To make resizing easy, this tool comes with a flexible framework. It can adjust to fit different screen sizes & different devices without distortion. As opposed to other design styles such as skeuomorphic that have lots of shadows and highlights, flat design style can easily be accommodated to any device whatever the size may be. Whereas, the skeuomorphic design style often gives hard time when enlarged or shrunk down to fit various screen sizes.

Cons: Limited Creative Freedom

Another downside of the flat design is that designers get little to no creative freedom. In flat design, concept designers need to stick to a narrowly defined visual style. Due to this, it often results in designs that are too similar and lacks distinctiveness. Thus, this does not give businesses or brands enough options to display the unique qualities of their project.

Pros: Engaging Colors & Clear Typography

Flat design features contrasting & vibrant color palettes to create a stunning visual appeal. Designers make use of minimalism approach to create lines, shapes, and to make design engaging & exciting. Besides, in flat design, designers have to approach typesetting in a unique way. They don’t pick any random decorative typography, rather go with the subtle ones. More user-friendly and readable typography are preferred. Clear and bold typography, coupled with sharp visuals, make the flat design clean and easy to comprehend.

The stripped down design styles had to emphasize on great type. The idea, coupled with the flourishing use of better type kits and web typefaces, has made the job of the designers easier concentrating on typography online.

Con: Extreme Simplicity

It is difficult to convey a complex message with the principles of flat design. To avoid interference with the design style,you need to be careful, else it may interfere with the design style. It is difficult to design when you need to communicate a complex message with flat design.

Future of Flat Design

Is it a passing trend or going to stay? This is an obvious question that may strike anyone’s mind. Let’s dig down on several aspects to examine whether the flat design style will continue to rule years to come.

Well, whether this trend will stay or disappear is hard to say but with the time it is bound to evolve. Many designers have embraced flat design trend in the past and despite its pros and cons have adjusted accordingly.

The early flat design followed a strict visual simplicity; however, with the time it has evolved for good. Now, owing to both aesthetic and functional reasons, there is a mild reintroduction of this design.Evolved version accepts the use of effects like textures and shadows. Flat design is renamed as “Flat 2.0”, after the recent development. The new addition is a subtle attempt to balance out, as it has some skeuomorphic qualities. These qualities ensure better visibility and usability, and also give you minimalism of flat design.

Future of Flat Design

The 2.0 version of flat design style is easier to use as it incorporates the best of the flat designs and additional UI cues to help users develop design which is rich in functionality as well as good looking. Another feature that makes it a hot design style is its high adaptability that works with almost every concept. As opposed to some of the purest flat designed websites, Flat 2.0 integrates elements of flat design with little additions for improved user experience.

Over to You

While using flat design, you need to keep the message of your website and target audience in mind. For instance, if you are creating a tech startup or a design portfolio then flat design makes a good option. But if you try to create something more complex, you may experience some limitations with this design.

Remember, don not blindly follow the ongoing trends. Rather, keep your core message and functionality at the heart of your designing. Trends and styles should only be used in synch with the main goals of your project, don’t let it overpower.

Hope you’ll find this article insightful.

Cheers!!!

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