With the release of Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS7, just around the corner, a new design revolution is afoot. A Flat Design revolution to be specific. The term “Flat Design” can be misleading. It sounds plain or quite boring, but it solves for a great need in all good design: functionality. Often times things on screen will try to mimic their real world counterparts, using skeumorphic design. Ever look at the Notes app on an iPhone? Or the subtle shaded keys of the Calculator. Do we need ruled legal paper and a cartoonish font? The practitioners of Flat Design don’t think so.
Flat Design calls for a simplification of elements, providing streamlined clarity and function over form — a design principle for the ages. So what happens to the gradients, drop shadows and bevels that are the standards of traditional skeumorphic design? Gone, gone and gone.
When a leader in design such as Apple embraces a new look, expect these changes to roll out all over the place (Everyone remember those iMac inspired Bondi Blue Toasters?) For me, it’s a welcome refresh. I look forward to a simplified approach to design, where greater emphasis is put on delivering content in a clear and meaningful way. It’s a time for hierarchy to shine and for designers to be rational in their choices. In a world of subjectivity, Flat Design calls for clear contextual choices to be made. And after all, what could be more simple than great design?
So let’s raise a glass to celebrate a new trend in design. Catch you on the flat side.