Flat & Thin: Designed for Simplicity

Flat design is in. It is going to stay for the long term. Flat design has grown to the point of obsession among designers. The style is characterized by a dramatic shift from 3-D and skeuomorphic to flat and minimal. It is accentuated by the minimalistic look, often muted colors, bold— typography and simple user interface elements. Flat design techniques avoid superficial elements such as bevels, embossing, drop shadows, gradients or artificial textures.

Animation is usually avoided in flat design projects and large images are used. The focus is on telling a story in a simple, compelling manner giving plenty of room to the content.

Flat design tends to highlight minimalist design, even for designers typically not using flat techniques. There has been strong emphasis on white space; color juxtapositions; emphasized grids; color.

Why the sudden change?

In the beginning of the smart-phone revolution, the focus was more towards helping users find out about the button and make them stand out. However, now that the excitement of new technologies has settled down, the focus has returned to content. Smart-phone developers have decided to make things clutter-free and easier to navigate devoid of superficial elements — making content access a breeze.

INFORMATION OVERLOAD
We are constantly analyzing, filtering and, of course, churning out content. It tends to get pretty time consuming. In addition, much of content is viewed from devices with small screens. In such cases, becoming overwhelmed with content dissemination is easy. On the other hand, reduction of clutter in a user interface (UI) can create a little visual space.

CONTENT RULES
With new technologies, come new aspirations and a frenzy on how to improve interactivity level. Once the frenzy fizzles out, the focus shifts on content. That is exactly what has happened with the flat design.

NO IMITATION
The rapidly popular flat design bids adieu to shadows and emulation of physical objects. It now makes way for simpler constructs — flat and thin.

Here are some elements with flat design interaction

Essential Elements of Flat Design

Typography
Typography is one of the most significant elements in flat design. Considering the minimalistic interface, you can strategically use typography to create the desired style and mood. Remember, if content is king, typography is queen in flat design. Look for a font family with various weights and styles. Play around and experiment with fonts of extreme differences in size and weight. Always watch out for legibility of fonts.

Color

Color in minimal interfaces is more critical than you can probably think. You are talking about a broad range of colors palette. When setting the palette, test your hues to make sure they behave in lighter and darker versions. Try to identify both subtle and high-contrast elements.

Grid

The grid attempts to establish order and make usability intuitive across a project with a restricted set of visual elements, the grid is there to help. It is important to break the grid with elements of importance to draw user attention.

When you work with a denser grid than you are accustomed to working with, you reduce the visual palette and find that the design supports a complex structure.

Shapes
Most button used regularly in design are either square button or square with round edges. You can flair up your creativity by using other shapes such as circles, triangles or custom shapes. With custom shapes, you need to maintain consistency across the interface.

Skeuominimalism: Is this the future?

Courtesy

The classic flat design vs. skeuomorphism is a battle that refuses to die. While the new flat and thin approach is a tactical move away from gradients, glossy and candy coated buttons, the cliché stereotype ‘Apple Skeuomorph’ with textures to create that real-world feel is certainly lost in the oblivion.

The year 2015 will see designers giving a spin to skeuomorphism with skeuominimalism. It is creatively combining minimalism of flat with the insightfulness of skeuomorph. This result is flat, minimalist icons conveying information using real world objects.

Finally: This year will witness contradictory concepts providing an enjoyable experience for users across diverse platforms. Designers should be ready to embrace differences to coexist.

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About the author

Todd is a Business Development Manager & Mobile App Marketing Specialist at VitebMobileApps, a company specializing in iOS, Android, Windows and Augmented Reality apps development. He is passionate about mobile app marketing, social media & new business development. 

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