The World is Flat: Understanding Flat Design

  Apple’s iOS 7

The recent launch of Apple’s iOS 7 is yet another reminder that the flat design trends of 2013 aren’t going anywhere soon. The days of skeuomorphism and 3D effects have been replaced with a more minimalistic and simpler look. So what is flat design? In short, it’s a balance of both bright and muted flat colors paired with simple typography and an overall “less is more” attitude. White space is your friend and plays a very important role in creating a minimalistic design.


In web and app design user experience is number one. You can create something beautiful, but if it isn’t user friendly, what’s the point? It is all about the end user and simplifying his or her experience. Flat design is a user experience approach that brings order to complexity. Decreasing clutter by removing unnecessary buttons and creating more whitespace is the first step. In turn, this allows the user’s focus to go where it should – to your content!

Responsive Design

The rise of mobile adoption and the need for a site to respond to its screen resolution has also influenced the popularity of flat design. The increase of tablet and smartphone users has created a need for fast loading times and layouts that shift and resize. Simple typography and design layouts using mostly Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) decrease loading times, resulting in a more user friendly experience. There is no reason to make your users wait.

So how can you make your conversion messaging stand out?

Without 3D, shadows, bevel and embossing you’ll have to go back to basic design principles – scale and placement. The placement of a button along with the scale compared to the rest of the layout will grab user attention just as much as a 3D button will. Color, as in any design trend, is a key component. Set up your palette early on to ensure that there is a range for both bold and subtle design elements. You can also use color in interaction. Drop-downs, fly-outs and button hovers are all ways of adding bold colors and grabbing user attention, while maintaining the clean and minimal look you worked so hard for.

The world isn’t flat for everyone, but integrating some aspects of this trend could definitely be worth considering.

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