Before 2010, many company sites were maximalist. The trend of the time was more, more, more – pre-loading animations, flashy graphics, realistic textures, drop shadows, etc.
The trends have changed – maximalist sites are now widely perceived as cluttered, tacky, and unprofessional. Most sites these days favor flat design instead.
What is Flat Design?
Flat design is minimalistic, simple, and clean. It’s called “flat” design because it does away with the 3-dimensional textures and drop shadows we mentioned earlier.
Elements often found in sites that use flat design include:
- Simple shapes
- Clean lines
- Bold, bright, contrasting colors
- A minimal amount of text
Possibly the biggest reason why flat design has overtaken skeuomorphic design (using textures and shadows and such to make a computer display look as much like a real life environment as possible) as the hot trend is that flat design adjusts much better to a mobile device, and more people are browsing the internet on their mobile devices than ever before.
In addition to its mobile-friendliness, another benefit of the flat design is that it keeps visitors on your site. A cluttered design makes it difficult for visitors to find what they’re looking for – and if visitors can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’re going to back out and go to another site (probably one of your local competitor’s site). A site with flat design is simple and easy to navigate. It doesn’t drive people away.
For these reasons and more, flat design may not be a trend at all – rather, it looks like it’s here to stay.
“I believe flat design is not just a trend; but part of the evolution of content delivery in its simplest form, which in turn enhances the ability for us to more easily absorb the information,” says Payman Taei, founder of Visme. “Unless a new trend gives way to further improving this perception, I believe flat design (and in a larger spectrum minimalism) will be around for some time.”
Should My Site Use Flat Design?
Even for all of its aforementioned benefits, flat design isn’t for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all look when it comes to web design. What the right design for your company depends on what your company does.
There are indeed scenarios where flat design isn’t the right call. For example, consider the case of a restaurant equipment supply company. Their clients don’t care about aesthetics. They want detailed content. What seems cluttered to some is actually helpful to others.
But, for most companies, flat design is the right design.