What Goes Into a Flat Website Design? Which Elements and Principles are Used?
Unlike many other web design trends, it doesn’t appear that flat design is going anywhere anytime soon. It’s been around for a few years now, and it’s probably going to continue sticking around, as it offers both usability and aesthetics. The individual elements of flat design elements don’t even have to be used by themselves, but as part of a greater scheme.
What are some of the design elements that are typically associated with this style?
Here are some of the common techniques involved with flat design:
- The use of bright, bold colours is a popular element with the flat web design trend. Web designers are now getting away with using up to six different bold colours. Anything more than this, however, can confuse the visitor. Each colour can be used to highlight a specific link or user option. Vibrant, primary and secondary colours without tints or tones are often used. It’s not uncommon to find flat designs featuring retro colours.
- Minimalism certainly plays a role in this type of web design, since there really aren’t any textural or 3D elements used. Minimalism doesn’t have to mean boring, however, as good designers will still be able to come up with something creative. The content does not need to be fitted inside of a photo-realistic framework.
- Simple typography: type can be used as one of the main flat type elements. Use a typeface that is simple, clean, and easy to read, as opposed to something fancy that can be hard on the eyes. Sans Serif is a popular choice (open source sans, source sans pro with Adobe, and Roboto with Google Android OS).
- One-dimension icons and ghost buttons are both popular in flat design, as they do not have the 3D appearance that typical icons have. At most, they might have a thin outline. They can be used standalone or in a group related to similar buttons. Buttons can also have transparency, with a geometric outline and simple text as the only indicators that they are clickable. Transparent buttons, however, are typically not recommended for ecommerce sites.
- With flat design, you will have to put focus on content hierarchy within each page. The elements should not intersect each other. Everything on the page should be designed to flow naturally. One easy way to think of this style is that it involves building the page around typography, and having various boxes of text to inform the user how to interact with the page.
- The use of shadows is often found in flat design, albeit minimally. For awhile longer shadows were used on the smaller elements such as icons and buttons for the purpose of adding a bit of depth. While they are still used being used, more and more designers are opting for shorter shadows. This creates an “almost flat” design, which is a great choice if you don’t think your site will look right with a completely flat design.
If you have been considering a flat web design, you now know the principles and common elements that go into making them.