Flat UI

Flat design – the importance of versatility in design.

A strong brand. A strong design. What does that mean to you? Chances are you have one or two big name companies in your head, but what makes those so successful? How can you apply those conventions to your design?

The world of design is a competitive industry constantly moving forward, leaving older design to become stagnated and stripped of their relevancy.  A little preplanning is required to manifest where design is heading and what is becoming popular today.

We are seeing an influx in flat design, arguably being popularised and pushed from pioneers such as Apple’s ios7 user interface and Microsoft’s Windows 8 metro design. These ideas are extending to the design choices we make, and can often be seen in many web sites and branding today. But whilst flat ui is trending today, how do we know what the next big push in design sensibility will be? Lets consider what makes flat so popular.


People often want minimal. That’s not necessarily loosing content, but refocusing what you already have. A picture tells a thousand words, so should we be replacing images with blocks of colour and icons. Probably not. Whilst its true that in circumstances a block of colour can be just as bold as a striking image, there is always a time and a place for both.


Mainstream. It’s a question of lead or be led. Do you want what your competitors have or do you separate yourself from common conventions and clichés? Similarity is sometimes just as relevant as trying to be radical. If your website is flat it isn’t necessarily doing anything different, however it is giving out a message to your visitors that you are current and now.


After year of looking at gradients and box shadows, bold choices in blocks of colour seem like a refreshing sight. ‘Clean’ and ‘Bold’ are common words you will hear from clients describing what they want from their design, but what exactly do they mean? When you consider the flat design, it ticks all those boxes.


Individuality is important, and a strong brand does this. However on the flip side, people also like fresh and new. Keeping that balance of familiarity and new shouldn’t be a compromise. Therefore maintenance is key. A great example of this is Apple. Whilst their logo has gone through a few subtle changes since the mid 70’s, its identity hasn’t changed. Purely cosmetic, we are seeing subtle adjustments that have helped keep it relevant and fresh but still recognisable.

As subjective as it may be, flat UI is here to stay, for a while at least. Whether you should jump on the bandwagon or not is entirely up to what your message is. Being relevant often means being competitive in design. Following trends might sound like going against what we want to achieve in design, however it gives a sense of familiarity to an audience and ensures you are current and relevant. Whilst your iconography may often go under change, keeping your core focus and identity is vital. Consider flattening your design, it might give your design a new lease of life.