Flat design refers to a genre in the field of interface design that involves the application of simple elements of design to increase functionality (Pratas, 2014). This simplicity is characterized by the elimination of stylistic features such as gradients, faux-realistic features, and drop shadows that complicate interface designs (Clum, 2013). Many designers choose a flat design because it enables them to design websites that are user friendly by streamlining various aspects of interface design.
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Examples of common features of this genre of design include open spaces, bright colours, clearly defined edges, and unsophisticated illustrations (Clum, 2013). It goes against traditional design styles that emphasize the use of flashy illustrations, animations, drop shadows, and other styles that make deigns complex. The flat design eliminates ornamentals because they clutter interfaces and make them unfriendly to users. Designers eliminate aspects that distract users and lower the quality of their experiences (Clum, 2013).
Some design experts describe this genre as dull, boring, and highly conservative. However, this description is erroneous because designers use bright colours to grab the attention of users. The presence of a few images and illustrations contributes towards the enhancement of functionality (Pratas, 2014). Flat design has many advantages that make it the preferred style of interface design among designers. The use of simple images facilitates the conveyance of messages and thus makes interfaces easy to use (Clum, 2013).
Flat design is widely accepted because of its simplicity, effectiveness, and appreciation for design as a functional tool. It advocates the functionality of websites as opposed to their appearance. The focus on functionality means that website designers are more concerned about the quality of user experiences than the aesthetic appearance. Therefore, websites that apply this style are more likely to be described as user-friendly compared to websites that apply other design styles.
Advancements in technology have introduced several devices that access the internet. The flat design provides a method to design interfaces that enable users to access websites of varied sizes in different gadgets without encountering challenges such as long response time (Clum, 2013). Websites that possess minimal design features load faster respond swiftly to user commands and resize easily when accessed from different types of technological devices (Pratas, 2014).
Proponents of flat design criticize the genre by claiming that it is a fad that will not last for long. They argue that lack of important features such as drop shadows deny users certain experiences. Designers use bright colours and simple typography to eliminate the need for complex illustrations. In addition, they apply user interface elements that enhance the visual and functional characteristics of user interfaces. An example of flat design is Windows 8 by that was developed by Microsoft Corporation. It is characterized by the use of icon-like images to represent certain objects. Elements such as icons eradicate the need for complex illustrations that are favoured by other styles such as skeuomorphic design. Flat design is a revolutionary style that has been embraced by many interface designers.
Clum, L. (2013). A Look at Flat Design and why It’s Significant. Web.
Pratas, A. (2014). Creating Flat Design Websites. New York, NY: Packt Publishing Ltd.