What is flat design?

What is “flat design”?

Skeuomorphism, often referred to as flat design, is a minimilastic approach to design. Skeuomorphism replaces shadows, gradients, and all that other fancy stuff with good ol’ shapes and colours.

Who uses flat design?

Flat design isn’t just found on the web, however. Microsoft was actually the first major company to introduce flat design when they introduced Zune music player back in 2006. Unfortunately, Zune wasn’t successful – but Microsoft still managed to open people’s eyes up to skeuomorphism. This kind of design was adopted by Microsoft and utilised keenly with Xbox 360’s dashboard design; Windows 8, and more. Microsoft calls “Metro”. It generally consists of coloured boxes with no radius. An example of the Windows 8 user interface can be found below:

Windows 8

This design trend was later embraced by the immensely popular electronics manufacturer, Apple. At the 2013 WWDC, Apple announced iOS 7, which used flat design. While iOS 7 isn’t fully flat, it is much flatter than the previous versions of the iOS.

iOS 7

Not only are Microsoft and Apple big players in the league of flat design, but Google has shown signs of the minimalistic design approach over the past few years. Although it hasn’t introduced a fully flat design as of yet, it’s been working it’s way towards it.

Should I be using flat design?

It all depends. There are times when flat design should be used, and times when it shouldn’t. Take a look at the League of Legends website, for example. One glance, and you know that flat design isn’t a viable option for that place. Furthermore, if you were designing a Flash game site for young children, for example, you’d want it to “pop” out.

As of now, flat design is simply a trend. It’s not going to replace regular design any time soon. As long as you make sure that your design is suitable for your target audience, everything will work out just fine.


So now you know what flat design is; you’ve seen some examples; and you know when and where it should be used. Question is: will you be using flat design?

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