Flat design is the term appearing frequently in many technology forums or in the products of technology companies but before we discuss about the three aspects including pros, cons and future of this style, let’s make a brief description about it. Firstly, we want to stress that it is not 3D, only two-dimensional qualities, depth and dimension is omitted. Flat design entirely boomed and became the big trend in 2012 and 2013 thanks to the release of both Windows 8 and iOS 7. From that time until now, it has been over 3 years, quite long enough to look back in perfect clarity about pros, cons and future of flat design.
Compatibility with Responsive Design
After Windows and Apples took creative and bold moves with flat design, this step has emerged as the brand new approach to user experience, when a lot of people start to get bored with shadows, highlights or textures. Designers trust and choose flat design because its grid-based layouts as well as simple graphics are well suitable to web and mobile design, it allows to resize and rearrange to display regardless of different devices and screen sizes.
Ryan Allen, from design agency Dapper Gentlemen even affirmed that Flat design can be built to dynamically scale to a content-appropriate size far much simpler than a pixel-perfect design.
It means that designs will have compositions that are organized by uniform geometric shapes, every design element will have its own place; therefore, it is so easy and quick to scan and navigate.
Let’s talk about grid, a kind of flexible framework that allows users to organize into many configurations. Users will be totally satisfied with the arrangement that best suits and showcases their content, no limiting pre-determined layout exists.
The most obvious advantage of flat design is clean, streamlined qualities. However, this merit is the double-edged sword and can hurt designers if they emphasize too much its characteristics. The boundary between success and trap of negatively impacting a design’s usability is so fragile, any designers should pay more attention to this risk because in this case, higher risk means no return.
Lack of Distinctiveness
Being identical to the crowd is the thing that any business owners want to avoid as far as possible, especially in this fierce competitive environment. They always desire to be unique but due to some features like narrowly defined visual style or sticking to a simplistic, the finishing products will look quite similar. Or in short, choice of principles for flat design is limited.
Overly Focused on Trendy Aesthetics
Flat design has been the big technology trend for quite a long time since it is always the popular choice for designers who want their work to come across as modern or reflective of current technology. Nevertheless, this fact leads to the lack of thinking about usefulness. And if we look more deeply, we can draw the situation when this style just only creates a trendy aesthetic but usability is ignored.
The pros and cons mentioned above are all agreed by designers who have worked with flat design over the past several years. Therefore, besides a strict visual simplicity, the new leap is the subtle reintroduction of qualities that can satisfy both aesthetic and functional requirements. The result is these tweaks is amazing Flat 2.0 or it can also be called by almost- flat design. Some depth and dimension are added to the flatness by the process of layering elements, adding some color variation.
Having some characteristics in common with Flat 2.0, material design is the products of Google; it emphasizes grid-based layouts and features including deliberate color choices, edge-to-edge imagery, large-scale typography, and intentional white space.
This style impresses designers by a paper-inspired approach. It means applying visual cues that are grounded in reality and familiar tactile attributes to explain and navigate designs.