When we speak of design we must always remember that it is a phenomenon that works much like the turning of a wheel. Nothing that is being done is new, it is just a reinterpretation of something that has been done before. We are influenced by the past or the past’s vision of the future. Rarely do we really design something that is altogether new. Thus we are always surprised and yet never shocked to find the seeds of our design ideas being discovered in some long forgotten milieu.
Flat design is the hot design idea of the season and its popularity is based on a number of factors. The list would be quite long since different people have different reasons for this preference and it would be an encumbrance indeed to suffer you to reads every one of them. Let’s look at the top five reasons why Flat design is so popular. Before that, let’s take a look at what Flat design really is.Flat design is when a web interface or mobile interface or any CRM or OS is designed to look like it were on a printed page instead of looking like it were outfitted with 3D objects. The most obvious example of this would be the icon design for the iOS7 compared to the those of iOS6. A better example would be the tiles used for Microsoft Windows 8.
1. One of the most important reasons why flat design is popular is that the need for identifying what can be clicked or manipulated in an OS is no longer that prevalent. Most people instinctively know what can be pressed or clicked without needing to see the glaze of glass or plastic on their buttons or the look of leather or wood on their OS dashboards. In fact that was the original reason why we needed the bevel and drop shadows on our website buttons and our mobile devices as well. To help consumers identify those parts that of a digital interface that they could interact with.
2. Skeumorphism, or the designing of web and mobile interfaces to look like a real life object has become tedious and clunky. From a design perspective it is an archaic ideology and thus the old must make way for the new. This design concept had started to gain ground with the initial models of the IPhone and quickly became all the rage. To the point where it became difficult to find a website that didn’t assault the eyes with the dozens of buttons and banners in this style.
3. Function over fancy: When Google and Microsoft began to churn out products with their minimalist design, the jaded masses lapped them up! It was proof that they no longer cared for the shine and gloss that really didn’t matter because in this time and era, a flat square with the word push on it requires nothing else to get someone to literally push it. No bevel no shadow, nothing. Why? Because the penetration of the virtual world is much greater now than it ever has been.
4. Another great reason to switch to flat design is the compatibility it offers. Switching between browsers or devices is easy for pages that display flat design since they don’t need to be rendered with the same power as a web page that has beveled, textured, or other Skeumorphism aspects to it.
There are obviously many aspects to this phenomenon and yet one thing seems to have been missed. The fact that flat design is essentially the world reverting to the time of the printed sheet. That is what a Flat Design website does look like and it is this revert to those simpler times that actually has made it so endearing to the masses. A simple interface that requires little processing power to render and is easy on the eyes, cannot be disliked.
Yet, it must be said that Flat design is a trend, and like all trends it will pass and then return again. While it is here we can all enjoy the minimalist joy it gives while waiting for the next big design trend to sweep across the Web and mobile interface design industry.