So I’ve been checking out Forrst, Dribbble and Behance (among other places) and I’ve been noticing these designs done in a certain style, a style much more minimalistic than the web 2.0 styles that took the world by storm just a few years ago.
This type of style consists of flat colours, sharp edges (as opposed to rounded corners, and very few effects added. A very well known example of this type of style would be the all new Windows 8 interface. Personally I wouldn’t call this style minimalistic, I think it goes a little further than that. I would call it ‘flat’ to be honest, and that’s not an insult on it, I just don’t think minimalism is minimalistic for this style.
Before this style, there was the ‘web 2.0’ style or ‘polished’. Sharp gradients, rounded corners, shiny things, metallic colours, strong silvers, web banners shouting things at you like ‘FREE’ or ‘50% OFF’. ‘Flat’ design is like a parody of that.
If you are a web designer, like myself, you might have seen this ‘flat’ style around and wondered about if you should design like that. I’ll give you a little story, a few weeks ago I was creating a set of buttons for somebodies website, I worked in a ‘polished’ style because, looking at their website, it looked like they would fit in there. I show them to the person and they tell me that they hated all of the gradients and bright colours and rounded corners. They wanted something more ‘flat’. So I went back to the drawing board, then Illustrator and then finally photoshop and I made him a flatter set of buttons, they liked it, they said they liked it because everybody else had buttons like that on their sites. I still look at that site and see the buttons, they just don’t fit in, I think the more ‘polished’ set would have suited it more.
I suppose my point to that story is that you should try designing flatter stuff because even if you don’t like it, others do. But by all means you should not just copy each other, if you want to design a site in another style you should do it, just consider something ‘flat’ too. Trends aren’t always bad.