In web design like in anything else, trends come and go and come and go. Some fade with time, others evolve and get even more exciting. Flat design belongs to the latter group. It’s been around for a while, but it continues to grow in new directions and we are loving it.
The secret to flat design’s success is that it’s simple, it’s universal, and it produces incredible user experience (UX). The minimalist approach to content contributes to quick loading and better performance. A winning combo, all around.
But what does it mean to design “flat?” How do you translate the design principles into practice and create a website to wow all your visitors? Let’s have a look.
Flat design relies on basic geometric shapes, frames and typography to create a layout. To establish a clear content hierarchy within the layout, you need to pay attention to the order, symmetry and size of these elements. Organize them along the page in a way that guides the visitors’ view just the way you want it.
Colors are a key component in flat design. They don’t only make sites look prettier, they are also extremely valuable in determining depth. Because flat design is based on a 2D look, the usual tricks that web designers apply to create depth are out of the question here. But playing with hues and colors – light elements on darker surfaces especially – can give you a subtle depth that fits right in.
Around your house you can do whatever you want. When it comes to your website, you have to keep it tidy. Flat design and clutter do not get along well, so get to work and start clearing out the mess. Make sure you keep your page elements spaced from each other and get rid of the decorative fluff.
One issue with flat design is that it makes it difficult to tell which elements in the site are linked and clickable and which aren’t. When you conceptualize your site, think about how you want to signify to your visitors where they should click. The most common link signifiers use underlining, frames and shapes.
Unlike many web design genres, flat design is not only about the look. The simplicity of the user experience is crucial for winning flat design, and simplicity starts with navigation. Keep the site structure basic, use drop-down menus if you have many pages, and design a neat menu that makes perfect sense.
Not all font schemes fit nicely with flat design. You want to choose fonts that are straight-forward and simple, preferably from the Sans-Serif family of fonts. Here are some nice fonts that are perfect in flat.
Monochromatic design can be absolutely stunning, but flat design is first and foremost dynamic, lively and exciting. Colors are crucial to make that happen. Be bold in your color choices, mix and match, have some fun!
Remember content hierarchy? We have a terrific tool to help you with that. Full width strips break your site into horizontal sections, creating a smooth flow and a coherent structure that matches the flat look extremely well.
Icons are a pillar of flat web design. They act like road signs for your site visitors, helping them make sense of the site while adding a touch of graphic decor. Because their role in flat design is primarily functional and not aesthetic, you only want to use icons that your site visitors can easily and intuitively understand. Don’t over-complicate things if you want to keep your visitors coming.
You’re probably starting to notice that simplicity is a crucial factor in flat design. Good, because it is! If you want to commit to flat, you need to ditch all the cute effects and animations. Don’t worry, you’re not going to miss them. If you stick to the principles of flat design, you’ll have such a gorgeous website that you won’t even notice they’re gone!
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