Newest Trend: Flat Design?
The rise of the internet and now Web 2.0 can only mean that designers must be aware of upcoming trends in web and tech design. Long gone are the days of cavemen HTML which resulted in floating marques in Comic Sans font. A style that is more common nowadays is one that foregoes dimension- Flat Design. Caleb Mellas summarizes Flat Design as “Minimalism” in his article “Flat Design: Trend or Revolution.” Trends come and go, but a revolution is something that will leave a significant mark. Designers should not waste their time on a trend, so we need to figure out if Flat Design is worth studying for designers.
Image from: http://hindsiteinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Flat_Design.png
Mellas decomposes the elements of Flat Design to determine whether or not its foundations are based on the staples of graphic principles. He first explains how Flat Design removes most if not all traces of textures from visual design so that everything is “flat”. What this does is force the designer to find ways to adequately present the content. However, he warns that if designers take it to the extreme and loses user-guides and suggestions, usability of the product will fail. Mellas also points out that the minimalism will lead to strong focus on color and beautiful typography. Careful use of both these elements in Flat Design will allow designers to effectively communicate their messages and engage users accordingly. Flat Design is also very welcoming of animations. The article states that these animations can make any product more user friendly. Although Caleb Mellas examines the elements of this design style, he does not conclude that it’s a trend or revolution but leaves it up for the reader to decide with a fair warning about how it depends on how one understands design principles.
I don’t believe “Flat Design” is necessarily a trend or a revolution, but it is part of the revolution of designers understanding the importance of “User Interface” (UI) and “User Experience” (UX). Products designed with the focus placed on providing the best UI/UX will excel in our current world and the future. Users want to feel smart and welcomed by a product; well-thought-out UI/UX is able to achieve both and Flat Design ultimately is just shrewd implementation of good UI/UX. The minimalism of this design style results in great usability and understanding from users. Users are quicker to determine what graphics may represent and thus actions are intuitive- a click on a simple “mail” icon will generate a way to send a message. When a product works like how a user expects it to, users feel more in control and familiar with the product. In conclusion, upcoming designers should not necessarily study what seems to be trendy but instead what is best for UI/UX.
An example of an easy-to-use Mail App.
Image from: http://www.awwwards.com/flat-design-an-in-depth-look.html