Flat design is a type of interface web design without any components that give the illusion of three dimensions (such as drop shadows, gradients or textures) and is emphasized on a minimalist use of simple components, typography and flat colors.
Flat design can be known as the more sophisticated and versatile cousin of minimalism. While flat designs look wonderful when it was made within the restraints of minimalism, they can also handle a lot more complexity; these designs have a crispness and clarity that can only be achieved by stripping away three dimensional effects. there are two main aims for flat design :
Embracing the limits of the screen and working within those parameters rather than trying to disguise them.
Using this new found simplicity as a starting point for streamlining designs, and making websites faster and more functional.
Flat design to is used by most designers because it allows interface designs to be more streamlined and efficient. It is easier to quickly express information while still looking visually appealing and approachable. Furthermore, it makes it easier to design an interface that is responsive to changes in browser size across different devices. With minimal design components, websites are able to load quicker and resize easily, and still look sharp on high-definition screens. As a design approach, it is often contrasted to skeuomorphism and rich design.
Flat design owes its inspiration mainly to three styles of art, which are the International Typographic Style (also known as Swiss Style), Modernism and the styles emerging from Bauhaus The International Typographic style is often considered the most substantial influence on flat design and its emergence and popularization during the 1950s and 1960s is regarded as the starting point of flat design, although it would not make an appearance in the digital world for some time thereafter.
In 2006, Zune mp3 player was published which has elements of flat design. T The design was formed by big and bright shapes accompanied by sans-serif typography and flat images. The very clean look was completed by having the menu appear in a grid-like pattern. Because of the success of this design, Microsoft released their latest operating system,Windows 8, based on Metro, with the same flat design elements.
In 2013, Apple launched iOS 7 featuring flat UI design elements, different from skeuomorphic design.
The elements of Flat Design
No more “eye-popping” gradients or shadows
“Flat Design” removes most if not all traces of drop-shadows, flashy gradients and extraneous textures from the visual design. Everything looks “flat”, rather than beveled, bulged, clickable, or inset.
In fact, this is a good thing, because it makes designers concentrate on the content as the most central part of our design. It pushed us to think about how to present the content in such a simple and compelling way that really gets to the heart of the issues and needs of our users.
Strong emphasize on color
Another important aspect of the Flat Design style is a real concentration on color. As you know, colors are very powerful, and can mean the different ideas between an engaging design and something that offends or puts off your users.
The one thing to remember here is to not use a color just because you see it on another “cool” site. You really need to think about the company or product you are designing for, and what their message is.
Hence, don’t simply grab the value of the latest and greatest “web green” design and plug it into your design. Do some research, find out what you want to portray with your visual design and then choose your colors accordingly.
Good typography is a key foundation of Flat Design. Because you have stripped away all the extra visual “fluff and shine”, there is a lot of room for really good typography to shine.
More and more web designers are beginning to look to print for typographic inspiration. Web typography is getting better, but we still have a long way to go.Typography is one of those things that when done well really exemplifies the message of the site. Instead of drawing attention to the fonts, you are drawn to the content and purpose of the article or app.
In order to convey your message successful, as much time and effort must be spent on the typography as you spend on picking colors, and pushing-pixels to get things looking just right.
Animation is something that many “Flat” websites are placing more attention on. Simple animations can go walk a long way to making your website or application more user-friendly and engaging for your customers/users.
Flat design has functions that can make a side beautiful. It recognizes that a sense of familiarity is important to the user experience, but it creates this sense in a way that fits with the medium. At the same time, it’s able to adapt to new discoveries, trends, and ideas. Flat design brings us a step closer to a new paradigm of digital design, where the functionality and aesthetic are in complete harmony.
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-Source: Flat Design – New and prominent trend in web design.