I’m on the road to Yellowstone, checking out the mountains, running on 4 or so hours of sleep. But, I’m all about keeping it productive, so I thought write a blog post about a new web design trend that is blowing up right now. Flat Design.
What is flat design?
Flat design is a very current trend in website design that prizes non-dimensional elements, and well separated sections of a website. Flat design takes out most bevels and shadows, and simplifies icons down to one dimension.
Why does it matter?
Flat design matters because it signals a new era of online marketing. Some elements that have brought it to ripe maturity, are the need for sites to look good on phones, tablets and desktops. Without shadows and bevels, websites can maintain the same look across the devices more easily. It works because it really brings out the content, and puts less emphasis on the design itself.
Three of my favorite flat design sites, and what they do right.
Wow this is gorgeous.
Notice the blocks of color going all the way from one side of the browser to the other? This is a clear cut example of flat design. The Rdio site design overall has nothing crazy fancy, just emphasis on the main points and simple icons. On the top part a photo captures the attention, but the site quickly moves into bare bones simplicity and calls the user to action.
The power of simplicity
What I think is great about mashable.com is that it looks so consistently good on phone and tablet as well as on desktop. It’s simplicity is deceptive, because when you’re reading an article on Mashable, you might not think about the design of it, unless you had trained your mind to (i.e. web designers and ux experts.) But this simplicity complements the sites content so well that this ability to not think about the design is actually a huge testament to the effectiveness of Mashable’s flat design. Big blocky solid colors and minimal shadows and fancy design flourishes allow for ease of navigation and quick load times.
Long scrolling, clearly separated blocks of color
One thing that has helped define the category as flat design is that many flat sites are long scrolling and give you simple things on each new ‘flat’ part of the site, usually categorized by a one color background, or image that is clearly defined from the last and the next part of the site. You have to actually go to these sites to appreciate this aspect of flat design, but lets just say this trend is growing and you’ll be seeing more of it. I’ve started incorporating some of this method in some current sites I am working on and will continue to use it, when appropriate.
Do you like flat design or… do you not? What are your thoughts?