Web design has seen many stylistic and technical developments over the last 20 years: from the early text-based sites of the 1990s, to the responsive mobile-optimized html5 sites of today. Not so many years ago the biggest websites in the world paraded their shaded logos and 3D designs across the world wide web. Today, we see a return to a more simplistic, minimalist form and flat design is fast becoming the hottest web design trend of the 21st century.
So what exactly is ‘Flat Design’ and how can you achieve it on your website?
Take a look at Google’s logo from 2012. The characteristic 6 colored letters appear to be leaping from the screen, courtesy of a shadow and emboss effect that would make any self-respecting Photoshop guru wince. Now look at Google’s 2014 logo – see the difference? While the colors and typeface remain unchanged, the letters now have a noticeable flat and smooth appearance.
Apply Google’s logo makeover to all web design elements and you’ve got yourself a flat design. As web design trends go, flat design looks like it’s here to stay. Here is some inspiration from 3 more major websites that have recently been given the flat design makeover:
The old logo’s overlapping letters have been replaced with a clean, flat design.
Causing quite a stir with their new iOS7 flat app icon designs, Apple’s main website is another great example of flat design. Note how there are no shadows or 3D-effects on any web elements, with the exception of the top navigation bar.
Not to be left behind by Apple, Microsoft recently modernized its website, and latest operating system, by following flat design principles. Large areas of block color, no borders and minimalist icons make Microsoft’s dedicated Windows website right on trend.
With flat design ruling the roost on our computers and mobile devices, it’s no surprise to also find it creeping onto our browsers. Rather than being a steadfast web design trend, flat design is better described as a philosophy; a commitment to minimalist layouts, unending color blocks and slender typefaces. Achieving the effect, however, is not as simple as it looks.