You may have realized that flat design is a huge trend in right now. Just a look around the web and you’ll see that companies and designers are latching onto it, even Apple and Microsoft are jumping on the bandwagon. However, is this trend here to stay?
For those of you who don’t know what flat design is, it is a style that strips all unnecessary elements from a design and leaves only the bare essentials of what is needed to navigate around a site. The end design doesn’t necessarily have to appear “flat,” but gradients, shadows and other filter type styles of the Web 2.0 era should be removed. In essence, what flat design should embody is an excellent UX.
Now, since flat design is showing up seemingly everywhere, one would argue that this aesthetic is here to stay. To a point, I would agree with that argument. The design process behind flat design is essential for good design. By stripping all the non-essential items and only working with bare necessities, you’re often left with little to actually design. However, designing with less material does not mean that your job is made easier. Often times, it means that the design ia harder to pull off.
On the other hand, I don’t think that flat design is our be all, end all solution. If we look at history, it tells us that all major design trends have a time and place, but something always comes along and shifts the aesthetic behind the design. Minimalism was huge during the 1960s and early 1970s. It was the trendy, but eventually it gave way to post-minimalism. That’s why I would argue that flat design is not here to stay as it appears today for good and that we will eventually see a “post-flat design” phase. In addition, technology changes rapidly and often changes the way we interact with the Web. In return, we come up with new ways to approach those new problems that they produce.
Lastly, flat design should be used where appropriate. Some designs live better in a more realistic aesthetic, rather than the flat minimalistic aesthetic that flat design can provide. That is why I believe that the content, context and client should dictate what design aesthetic should be used. However, I think that the design process of flat design should be applied whenever possible to stripdown a layout to its bare necessities.