Mobile devices and tablets have changed the nature of the web. With these technologies in hand, user behavior (the how, the why, the when) plays an influential role in web design. And while great brands still call for great design, function has become a king among factors. Consider detailed and highly illustrative graphics: they can easily distract and overcrowd a website or application, making for an unsuccessful search experience.
So, how do we marry great design and function for the mobile format? It turns out, smaller screens are an ideal application for a new trend – flat design.
What is it?
Flat design is a minimalist approach, simplifying design elements and stripping away effects such as shadows, bevels and textures. The design style relies heavily on color and bold typography. Color palettes tend to be bolder and brighter and paired with light gray secondary palettes. Type is generally sans serif, although serif and decorative typefaces will work. With simple, flat color backgrounds, typography is given more emphasis.
Who is using it?
Apple, Microsoft, Google. Many larger companies seem to be embracing the trend. The design style is on the rise, primarily in web design, but it’s also being applied to print to provide a consistent brand experience.
The design style will likely evolve to add hints of dimension. One example is already emerging, the long shadow. Long shadows are quickly emerging as a trend and are being added to objects in flat design schemes. The shadows, which often rest at a 45-degree angle, mirror an object and add drama.