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Flat Design was introduced with Windows 8 and their Metro Tile System, but it really became super popular when Apple release their iOS7. What does Flat UI or Icon Design mean?
Let’s explore it and demystify design jargon. Flat UI design really means getting rid of beveled edges, any fancy gradients, deep shadows, and shiny reflections. In web design, “flat” pages never really introduce dimensionality, shadows, or textures, they rely instead on parallax scrolling and a visual clarity so the message can be better communicated.
Flat design is the opposite of fancy details with tons of texture, intricate patterns and ornaments. Basically the simpler the better the better the simpler. It is a minimal visual approach.
Skeuomorphism what? Yes, hard to pronounce, harder to explain and gosh, even harder to understand. The basic explanation is that Skeuomorphism used design elements from the past designs and incorporate those design features into the redesign or new design. Now in plain English: remember the iOS6 when the iBook app once opened looks like a real book shelf? Well here we can see how design element (a book shelf) and material imitation (the look of wood) were used to visually represent the idea of a digital bookshelf.
Is Flat not the same as Skeuomorphism?
I gave it some thought and in my humble opinion it is not. Some might argue with me and say when designing a flat icon you just make the real icon or button look like a flat representative of it hence using past elements but I differ. If I create a flat icon of an airplane, I will used the shape but no bevel nor material representation of a real airplane.
What will the future bring?
I believe Flat UI Design will marry Skeuomorphism which will make things a bit more interesting.
We can already find examples of FLAT goes out with Skeuomorphism when we look at the more detailed Flat Icon Designs
I personally love FLAT Design, either flat flat or more detailed flat. Not that I cannot appreciate the skeuomorphic designs but with a big love for simple illustrations I tend to like Flat Design more.
What is your take on Flat Design? I would love to hear your opinions.