Last year, we witnessed web and mobile transition from realistic to flat UI. Today, almost every possible domain uses flat design, gaining significant ground in a short amount of time. All designers, industries and established companies have implemented, advocated and even redesigned their own website interfaces to remove unnecessary elements and support flat design. What they are left with is a platform free of unwarranted components.
What is flat design?
Flat design demonstrates the abandonment of realism in design, relying on familiar, real-world interfaces and mimicking textures of real objects. Flat design has little to no decorative detail in any of the elements that exist on a site. This means: no drop shadows, bevels, embossing, gradients or anything that adds depth to an element. Every single element from navigation tools to buttons are crisp and completely flat.
I think designing flat UI without sacrificing the impact of realistic details in each element is very challenging. It takes creative ingenuity to make it happen, but its not impossible. Thinking of going flat? Here are some basic points to consider when designing flat:
No unnecessary decorative detail
Color is a key element
Minimalism in mind
Also, check out these sites that showcase good use of flat design:
Introducing the term, “Responsive Locomotion,” Canal TP provides information and travel planning services for public transport companies and authorities. The site displays a great combination of small animations through the use of CSS/HTML, vivid colors, fun typography and seamless interactions. There are a lot of reasons why users stay on a given site, and for Canal TP, I’m pretty sure it’s due to the site’s entertaining interface. Users are encouraged to stay and be more involved on the site.
Kevintresor is a portfolio site where you’ll find flat colors and icons everywhere. Besides the use of flat design, this site also demonstrates how typography greatly affects the kind of ‘vibe’ a website exudes. Because of its fun and playful choice of font, the site seems more inviting, consequently making the graphic designer behind it seem more approachable. But, I have to say that several copy mistakes made a dent on this awesome site. I hope they are noticed and corrected.
Known for its magnificent landscapes, La Boîte à Malice is “in the heart of the Swiss Riviera.” This creative agency uses very minimal content, yet their website’s display of vibrant colors and interesting animations showcase the company’s playful and fun side. Flat colors were used, which matches well with the company’s brand. The site is also responsive, so using your mobile phone shouldn’t be a problem.
Alchemy Digital is a site that knows how to make solid use of typography and graphics. I love how the site looks very professional but also appeals to fun, playful, vibrant and creative crowds. Every graphic is well thought out, surprising audiences with quirky, unexpected animations. I’m also impressed how the site accomplishes this, yet maintains a minimalistic approach.
SurveyPlanet is a tool used for designing, sharing and reviewing surveys. Although they didn’t stick to flat design in every aspect of their site, I can still say that it works well in the areas that they did. The site is straight to the point and bears just the right amount of copy. It’s not congested but not empty, either. This isn’t to say it can’t be improved, though: they probably need to fix that area right before the footer. The icons were a bit of a letdown.
About the designer:
Rahul Kulkarni - Webonise UI/UX Designer
"Design is the conscious effort to impose a meaningful order."
It’s been 2.5 years! Working at Webonise has taught me a lot of things. Something I have really loved is working on various projects and learning about the latest design trends, such as parallax scrolling, flat UI design, responsive sites and mobile applications. But most important of all is that I learned the importance of detailed work. No matter how good a design is, if it is sloppily made, it won’t make the cut.
Outside of the office, you will find me on the cricket ground either watching a match or talking about cricket. Well, I must say I love the game of cricket! In addition, I am a wildlife lover, a traveller, a good illustrator, a good observer, and a passionate photographer that likes to capture unique moments with my camera.
Design Theme: Minimalistic, Simple and Clean
Design Rule: Keep your mind open, and your eyes will observe new things that inspire!