Why is flat design so popular?

What do Windows and Android OS have in common? If you are using an Android smartphone, a PC or a smartphone on Windows 8, 8.1 or 10, and if you have an eye for detail, then you have probably noticed by now a particular style of their OS. These user interfaces (UI) have actually been built based on the principles of flat design.

Flat design has become largely popular in the past five years or so, so much that today it spread from our phones and computers to icons and logos and posters and all kinds of graphics. If you believe you still do not know much about flat design– what it is, where it originates from, and what the future of this design trend will be like – we suggest to keep reading our beginner’s guide to flat UI design.

What is flat design?

Flat design can be defined as a minimalistic approach to web, app and graphic design which relies on simple forms which lack third dimension. The design accentuates free space, use of bold and bright colors, the lack of details, as well as two-dimensional illustrations which all oppose the reality.

Many designers today use it for a multitude of purposes: from creating mobile apps, to web apps and websites, user interface in programs and operative systems, all the way to logo design, print graphics, restaurant menus, business cards, and even billboards and pamphlets.

The world (wide web) has truly become flat. And plans to stay that way.

The beginnings of flat design

It is considered that flat design came to existence as an answer to Apple’s skeuomorphic design. The latter was a design trend that was popular at the beginning of 2000s and could have been visible on the first iPods and iPhone back in 2007 (which used iOS6). Skeuomorphic interface largely depended on rich and flashy illustrations and details which reflected the need to present everything in the digital world as realistic as possible.

Since some designers (such as Microsoft) considered that detailed interface distracts users and completely ruins user experience (UX), it was clear that something had to be changed. And indeed change happened.

The “new” design trend was not so new after all: it appears that it was modelled on the Swiss style or the International Typographic Style. Swiss style was created in the 1920s in Russia, the Netherlands, and Germany under the name “Neue Haas Grotesk”, but gained on popularity in the 1950s Switzerland, after which it got its name. It largely emphasized typography and minimalism in content in order to deliver the message.

Widespread popularity

Fast forward to the turn of the century: Microsoft wanted to create something ‘new’ which would differ completely from Apple’s iPod style, so they offered the simple Zune media player in 2006. After getting positive reviews and being pretty much accepted by the audience, Microsoft went a step forward and created the Windows Phone 7 in 2010. The style used was named Metro design and was so powerful that even Apple decided to ditch its skeuomorphic design and used (the newly named) flat design on its new iOS7.

After that, Windows 8 and 10 followed, and the whole world (wide web) started going down the flat road. In the past five to seven years we even see major brands such as Google, Yahoo, MasterCard, Instagram, Spotify, Microsoft, etc. transforming their old company logos by following flat design principles. Google even went ahead and created material design for all Android devices (which are estimated to be no more than two billion used actively every month in the world).

flat design principles example

What flat design includes (flat design principles):

  • Clean interface
  • Minimalist illustrations
  • Accent on user experience
  • Two dimensions (lack of 3D)
  • Bright colors
  • Simple icons
  • Focus on typography
  • Simple elements
  • No added effects

Improve your website with a flat interface

If you want to follow the newest trends and create a unique flat design user interface on your website or web app, or if you simply want a flat logo redesign, you should find a professional graphic design studio which can do this for you. PopArt Studio offers flat design services and can create your brand’s unique style according to the newest trends. Our team of experienced graphic designers has a lot to offer, so do not hesitate and contact us now.

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