Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Deconstructing Modern Flat Design

Despite its sudden popularity, flat design is not just some fly-by-night trend. It’s a substantial approach to web design that’s rooted in practicality, and necessity. The balance between aesthetics and usability reflected in flat design 2.0 demonstrates that the principles behind the philosophy have true staying power.

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But how does it work? What gives it its magic? In this piece, we’re going to crack the face of flat design and see what makes it tick. We’ll analyze the core techniques and explore which techniques will carry over into the future.

What’s Inside the Flat Design Toolbox

The roots of flat design can be traced to a number of different influences. From Swiss or international design to minimalism, flat design borrows old techniques from a number of different styles while simultaneously creating new ones.

We’ve isolated five tools or techniques that have been closely connected to flat design principles – individual trends birthed from the greater trend.


1. Long Shadows 

Most commonly used on smaller UI elements such as buttons, long shadows are created with a color tone that extends beyond a graphic illustration inside of a box.

The shadow is often wide and positioned at a 45-degree angle with hard edges that are easy to identify. Applied in moderation, long shadows add depth and emphasis to otherwise flat elements.

However, this long shadow trend is lately starting to fade away in favor of subtler shadows. Keep an eye out for shorter shadows in the future. 

2. Bright Color Palettes 

One of the more fun things that has come from flat design is a re-emergence of color, specifically bright and bold color. Designers are using fun, vibrant hues in more ways than ever before.
In fact, some designers have even created a set of websites of their own devoted to these visual patterns.

3. Simple Typography 

Flat typography is not just the use of Helvetica.
Rather, it is the idea of a typeface that is simple and easy to read, which means commonly sans serif and contains a uniform stroke width. What’s great about flat typography is that it really brought the focus on lettering back into the reading experience.

While type is an artform in itself, the purpose for most designers is to create some
thing that users can read. Flat typography encourages designers to think more 
carefully about any and all type selections. Even serif typefaces have evolved 
with simpler letterforms becoming the norm.

4. Ghost Buttons 

Designed as a transparent, yet clickable, element, ghost buttons provide a visual interaction cue without obstructing the UI design.

Because a ghost button is essentially an outline and does not look like an obvious button, it allows the background to share the focus. The ghost button first emerged against design patterns with high-color backgrounds, and has since evolved to work with images and a number of other elements. These simple buttons often include crisp typography that fits the flat aesthetic, which works particularly well when paired with minimalism.

5. Minimalism 

Flat design is innately minimal. After all, when the design isn’t meant to resemble a real-life counterpart (e.g., a notebook app looking like a notebook), you strip away a lot of extraneous texture. All that’s left is the content framed by colors, gradients, shadows, shapes, and other visual subtleties. Flat design, in essence, forces designers to be more creative by saying less – designing from the content outward, instead of fitting the content inside of a photorealistic framework.

Source : UXPin


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