Case Study: Flat Design, the Hottest Trend of the Year

2013 is the year that consecrated the victory of flat design against its rival-skeuomorphic design. Apple, the biggest supporter of skeuomorphism gave it up and embraced the beauty of flatness in their latest operating system for mobile devices. Definitely, if you want to be trendy, then it’s mandatory to be flat!
There is no doubt, the “win” of flat is glorious, but there is another matter: is it just a passing trend or it will survive for many years? Well, the truth is that even the most talented and experienced web designers don’t have a clear answer- the web is evolving so fast that no predictions are credible. Altogether, there is one thing we can be sure of: the Internet users became tired with the shiny skeuomorphic elements and wanted something different- flatness being the solution adopted. I don’t want to be a new prophet, but it’s a matter of time until flat will became outdated and people will ask for something new!
The truth is that neither flat nor skeuomorphic is wrong or good- what really matters is how these two styles are applied in practice by the designers! Paradoxically, the success of skeuomorphic design determined its own fall. Apple adopted this style and many designers catch up with this approach- the effect was simple, the Internet became a realm of skeuomorphic websites, some of them well designed while others were modest. Therefore, people were fatigued with it which is actually quite normal!
Flatness is extremely appreciated and the designers are asked to create more and more flat layouts. As a result, every designer should care more about this style and learn how to apply it in the next projects. Flat design isn’t only the world with two dimensions; it has many other peculiarities that any designer should know. In order to help the ones interested in building flat websites, here are presented the most common features.

No shadows or 3D effects

As the name itself says it, flat design is characterised by the lack of shadows, highlights or 3D effects. Everything is plat and the shiny skeuomorphic buttons are history. At its beginning, flat design was considered as a step back and some people considered that the designers would create websites which are similar to those of the beginning of the last decade. Altogether, flat design gained more and more fans and nowadays it’s the king of the Internet. If you are still sceptic about it, then the next WordPress themes and website templates will convince you to pay closer attention to flatness.

Second touch


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It’s a superb fresh WordPress theme that is inspired by the latest version of iOS. It fully demonstrates that flatness is suitable for technology related websites. The theme is also responsive, so it’s a good idea to buy it for your website.

Nemo


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Nemo is a premium WordPress theme designed mostly for business purposes. It impresses due to its calming simplicity. It is a perfect example of flat layout: it has specific pure colours, no shiny buttons and the users may focus on content.

Morpheus


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Morpheus is a site template that is impossible to forget. The layout is flat and enjoyable, while the used colour scheme is really awesome. The templates is highly customisable, therefore you are able to modify the colour scheme if it is too exotic for your taste.

Wonder


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Having a flat portfolio is a very good idea, because it will help a lot in highlighting the previous works. If you are unsure about this, then Wonder is a WordPress theme that is perfectly suitable for this kind of project.

Broven


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It’s a very modern template website and everything is at the superlative level. The images used are very expressive, the page transitions are innovative and arresting, the navigation menu is extremely cool; you have many reasons to look carefully at this template.

Content is regaining its primordial statute

Every web master will state that content is the most important part of a website, a good design lacking interesting content is just a waste of time and resources. A skeuomorphic design makes harder for the users to focus on content, while a flat solution has the advantage of letting people enjoy it. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the most important features of flatness.

Colour and typography are capital

Saying that “colour and typography are capital” for flat design means that when embracing other styles of building websites, these two may be neglected. Well, the combination of fonts and colours used is very important for any online presence. The specificity of flat layouts is that these really focus on the colours and the fonts used. The designers chose only pure shades, no gradients at all which means that a poor decision may ruin a website. Using gradients for a background may “hide” a bad colour combination, while a pure colour can provide you with two possibilities: there is the option that it is appreciated by the users, while on the other hand it could make them quit visiting the website.
The same story goes with the fonts as well: as long as the content is king, the fonts used will have a pivotal role. A readable font is mandatory, but it must be suitable to the website purpose.

Simplicity is the new order

Flat design isn’t something new; it is just adapted to the contemporary situation. Nowadays, we are facing a great shift: people connect to Internet via their mobile devices rather that via their “old personal computers”. As you have already seen, mobile browsing is very different from staying in a comfortable chair at your desk. The average profile of an Internet user via smartphone needs as soon as possible a specific piece of information, therefore a simple and to the point design is welcomed. This context was the trigger that determined the adoption of flat design by web design community.
I hope that by reading this post you will have a better idea about the magic power of flatness. Of course, we are waiting for your precious opinions, so use the comment form to share your ideas with us.