10 Tips To Help You Create Magnificent Flat Web Design
It’s not a secret that web design trends come and go. Some of them, the minor ones, flash on the sky only once and fade, the others tend to evolve and have undulating popularity. Flat web design can be attributed to the latter group with no doubt. This exiting web design trend already exists for a pretty long time, but still keeps changing and making us happy and our websites popular.
In this article, I’ll briefly go over what flat design is and how it came into being. Then, I’ll share with you 10 most effective tips on creating a stunning flat design website in 2017. Are you ready to explore the assets of this trend with me? Let’s go!
The Essence of Flat Web Design
Flat design is a modern style of web design that’s based on the principles of minimalism and 2D environment. It excludes the usage of rich textures, complex colors, gradients, shadows and highlights. The aim of flat design is to create a comprehensive, easily perceptible 2D space that brings users a distraction-free content-oriented web space.
Flat design’s got a constant rivals – skeuomorphic and rich design. Skeuomorphism is preoccupied with mimicking our real world (at least some parts of it) to make online environment more like our real world. Rich design strives to amaze and entertain site guests with complex design elements and heavy graphics. On the other side, flat design does not mimic something; it creates a digital space that is the most convenient one for the target audience. So, with flat design you should forget about superfluity and concentrate on making the basics perfect.
Where does it come from?
Some people track the origins of flat design back to 80s, when computer technologies were in their infancy. Back then, there were no graphical means to create 3D or visually complex interfaces – all was flat, all was simple. I can’t call it a trend back then; this was the only way to get the thinks working in that era.
As the time passed and technologies developed, designers were trying to mimic the real world and to enrich the visuals of their websites as much as possible. Visual complexity was hard to achieve, and reaching it was the primary way to show that you’re cool. However, enough is enough, and years latter just the opposite of visual complexity appeared to be the true web design boom.
Flat design per se emerged when Microsoft came up with its Metro Design Style (the father of our flat design). In 2010 the new impetus for flat design was created – Windows Phone 7. Its UI emphasized simplicity, bright colors, sharp edges and 2D space. Later on Windows 8 and Windows 10 inherited all the advances of Metro-style flat design.
Later on Apple and Google also fall in love with the trend. It was them, who raised flat design popularity to the top. Apple incorporated new flat icons to its iOS 7, which had a huge significance due to the popularity of Apple products. At the same time, Google developed its own subtype of flat design, the so-called ‘material design’, which also became a true cult.
So, if you want to go back to the trend’s roots for inspiration, consider the three pillars: Microsoft Metro style design, Apple iOS 7 and Google Material design.
Reasons To Go for Flat Design
There is a number of flat web design advantages that have turned it into such a big trend. I won’t intimidate you with a lengthy enumeration; here are the main, the most hard-hitting points:
Simplicity. Clean and minimalist look of flat design websites allows users to quickly get around the website and find what they are looking for. Flat design limits the number of distractions and allows users to pay their attention to the content, rather than to the design of the site. Moreover, simple graphics weight way less than complex visual effects and boost website loading spread and, consequently, website’s position in search engine search results.
Vividness. Bright, simple colors of flat design make your website vivid and dynamic. They liven up the website space and make it fun to explore. Always keep in mind that colors of flat design websites are meant to create good mood and pleasant atmosphere.
Recognition. Flat websites are perceived by layman as modern. People are still used to see websites they were seeing for many years in the row, and they’re pleased with the simplified, comfy website browsing experience that’s offered to them.
10 Tips for Creating a Winning Flat Design Website
I guess it’s time to get more practical here. Now you know what flat design is, so you need a recipe for ‘cooking’ it. Let’s see what the 10 tips that can turn your website into the epitome of flat design are.
1. Mind the Structure
Main building blocks of flat web design are geometrical shapes, frames, and typography. When building your website, adhere to strict logics and know what’s main on your page and what’s secondary. For flat design, observe the hierarchy of the content: the main points go first; they are followed by additional information, then all this repeats for another block. As the number of your means to use is limited in flat design, know how to make the most of font size, dividers and frames.
I just love the design of ‘Services’ homepage section of this Interior design website. It’s a perfect example of 2017 spin on flat design.
2. Go For Smart Color Choice
Color is pretty important for flat design websites. Except for creating the positive, upbeat atmosphere of the website, colors are also applied to create some kind of depth. Position brighter elements on a darker background to show that they are kind of placed on the website surface.
Color palette of flat design has no limitations: any colors that fit in are appropriate. At the same time, the texture palette of flat design is pretty poor: pure colors, dots, stripes – that’s pretty much it. Forget about intricate ornamentation and complex textures, they do not belong here.
3. No Clutter, No Visual Noise
Minimalism lies at the core of flat design. Get rid of all that you can get rid of. Under this category fall excessive ads, banners, pop-ups, extra text and buttons, image/video backgrounds (you may leave some), small widgets that look out of place, etc. Perceive your website’s page as an artist’s picture: it should be viewed from the distance. If something doesn’t make sense there – get rid of it.
For flat design, you does need this bespoken ‘negative space’. Let your contents breathe and stand apart from one another as this is the best way to add more weight and significance to every element that’s there.
4. Clickable Items Should Be Visible
On flat websites, it may be sometimes hard to distinguish clickable elements from non-clickable ones as color distinction is rarely used in this case. This not what you need, as you want site guests click on the links to explore your website’s content and convert into your clients. That’s why it’s reasonable not to forget about such basics as underlining links and surrounding your CTAs with a frame/highlighting them with the main accent color of your site. It’s not a hard thing, isn’t it?
5. Flat Icons Explain and Attract
Colorful icons constitute one of the most recognizable features of flat design. They serve as visual anchors, as meaningful dots of a dotted list. You shouldn’t underestimate the power of flat-style icons, especially when it comes to your website’s home page.
Think of icons as of road signs that let you save a dozen of words with one small image. The icons should be understandable and meaning-laden. At the same time, they should fit the style of your website and add some visual appeal to it.
6. Make Your Website Navigation Clean
Flat design is not solely preoccupied with the visual part of it all. As I already mentioned, its aim is to bring simple, streamlined browsing experience to website users. So, making your website navigation simple and comprehensive should also be one of your concerns. Strictly adhere to the hierarchy of items, order your categories and subpages, and make sure everything is included there. This is what you should do to bring your site guests the navigation that they’ll enjoy using.
7. Careful Font Selection is a Must
Not every font will do for flat design. Cast the handwritten typography and exquisite Serifs aside, and go for Sans-Serif family of fonts. The fonts that you use should ensure perfect readability of your content and do not distract from it. It’s totally ok to use uppercase lettering for headings as bold, eye-catching headings play a part in content structuring and showing what’s most important.
8. Parallax is Optional
Actually, flat design is currently evolving and stops being that exclusive. By adding some extras, typically not associated with flat design, you can get to the point of creating something new that by no means look cliché. Parallax effect can truly liven up a flat website, as the motion it creates is really eye-catching. Parallax used for a flat website typically creates the effect of some things moving up (or down) on the surface. The effect is pretty captivating and works best with such elements as stationary, gadgets, geometrical shapes, etc.
9. Don’t Forget About the Logo
If you run a flat website, but have a detail-rich, elaborated logo, the logo and your overall website design may clash. If you can afford to go for simpler flat-design inspired logo, this is just great. I’m happy to tell you that minimal logos are now extremely popular, so if you go for one, you’re bound to ripe a truly rich harvest.
10. Measure in All Things
It’s pretty hard to go overboard with minimalism and simplicity, but I still must forewarn you. Keep in mind that flat design doesn’t mean visually poor design that is stripped of images, videos and other things that modern websites do have. To create your perfect flat website, exercise caution and thorough consideration. If you give your flat website a decent amount of thought, you’ll come up with something that’ll stick to golden middle.
Flat design is a powerful web design trend, the potential of which is far from exhaustion. To create a perfect flat website, you should cast aside visual tricks and rich textures and go for simple, minimal look and feel. I believe that following these 10 simple tips is not that hard, and you’ll cope with it with ease.
Have I missed something? If you know some more topic-related tips or have any suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments section below. I’m always happy to participate in a discussion.
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