There a new trend that’s sweeping the web design industry called flat design. You might not have heard about this yet, but you’ve surely seen it. To be honest, it’s not really all that “new”, as Microsoft pretty much introduced it in 2006 with its now-discontinued Zune site design.
So why is a design “flat”?
Flat design is seen as simple, bright solid colors, plenty of white space, and the lack of drop shadows, gradients, and textures that have been a major element of a web designer’s arsenal for a while now. Often typography plays a prominent role in flat web design. Flat web design is a “smooth” solution whose aim is to eliminate as many decorative elements of a 3D type look as is feasible.
So why the move from 3D to flat design?
There are several reasons why this is taking place, but possibly the most compelling reason is that it’s an invention born out of necessity. The 2D environment that designers often have to work in, in this ever-more mobile world, demands economy of scale. It’s become more and more difficult to cram all you might want onto a 4-inch screen, making a 3D simulation somewhat disadvantageous and incompatible with a terrific user experience. Having a flat design pages load faster, are less bulky and are more responsive. In a competitive world where you have a few short seconds to win over and hook your visitors, every second counts.
Trend or is flat web design here to stay?
The jury remains out on that, but the reality is if it is a trend, parts of it may be hard to dismiss quickly. Apple is rumored to be contemplating a flat design for the next operating system, the iOS7. If it does end up being a fad, the simplicity and user-friendly functionality of flat web design might give it a longer shelf life than you might think!