Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why flat design is soon boring, old and "flat"

The notion of flat design has seen some tremendous success in the last years (even Google is doing it). There is an abundance of sites and blogs that will tell you what flat design is and how it will revolutionize design, especially interface design. Some see flat design not as a form of style but as an inevitable development.

Flat design is as a form language and style quite interesting especially after a long period when digital technology made it possible to imitate reality in all its glory and richness. So, it is not strange that there is an attraction in the opposite, which some see as a turn towards the "real" qualities of digital material (which makes the whole question more philosophical).

Anyway, all this is fine and well. However, we will all quite soon be bored again, and flat design will be seen as "old" and maybe "flat". I have no problem with that, that is the way style and fashion in any field works.

What is somewhat problematic is when designers argue that flat design is not a choice, not a style, not one out of infinitely many possible ways to design. When they see flat design as a culmination of an evolution or as the unavoidable paradigm. Such a view is highly unfortunate. It leads to simplistic understandings of design and at the end of the day, it leads to a narrowing and streamlining of the design space which in turn lead to a deprived design landscapes and ultimately boring designs.

5 comments:

Kristy said...

Do you think that the same designers would argue that any design trend, flat or otherwise given, is not a choice? It makes me wonder if their views simply reflect their lack of desire to want to enhance where the trends are going and be part of the evolution that it will take over time. To me, a good designer would see it as a challenge...

Julie said...

This is a timely discussion for me, as we're considering how "flat" our design patterns should be now that iOS 7 is moving in that direction.

My concern with flat design in a digital landscape is that, in the extreme case, it can remove all affordance from interactive elements of a product. This seems to be my daily struggle -- working with my design team to ensure that we have a "clean" interface, which is highly desired by most stakeholders, while still giving users the affordance they need to understand the actions they can take.

nickq said...

I have to believe that trends in Design, as with trends in art, music, architecture, etc, are a reaction to what has been the dominant style. I would argue that flat design is a reaction to skeuomorphic design. I agree with you that it is unfortunate that people would consider flat design to be the inevitable. I think that potentially creates an unwavering adherence to something that is seen as truth.

Now if my assertion is correct and these styles are born as a response to prevalent trends, I would guess we would start seeing highly garish visual treatments in the next few years ;)

Anonymous said...

I am already bored with flat design... why are people such sheep? Everyone and their mother is doing it now, which can only mean that next year bevels and drop shadows will be back with a vengeance. Let's just make good design regardless of the style flavor of the month... mmmkay?

The Geeks said...

hi..Im college student, thanks for sharing :)