Can we learn from a simpler approach?

There’s currently a lot of talk in the industry about flat design, a minimal design approach that uses lots of white space, bright colours, bold typography and flat illustrations to create a simpler and cleaner visual style.

Flat design tends to avoid gradients, textures, patterns, shadows and other techniques which designers have traditionally used to suggest realism.

It’s a trend born out of minimalism, an age old philosophy where the focus is on using fewer design elements to get a message across.

Flat design has become very popular over the last year or so with Microsoft, Google and Apple adopting and reworking it in their branding, product design and interfaces.

The old and new Google logos

In fact more and more companies are now starting to use this cleaner, minimal approach to design, so when it comes to your small business is it worth paying attention to this current trend?

Normally I’d suggest staying clear of design trends but as flat design has it’s roots in minimalism there’s potentially a lot we can learn from it.

Advantages for logo and web design

If there’s one place to embrace minimalism and avoid design trends it’s in your logo. Nothing dates a logo more than throwing the latest cool effects at it, so keeping things simple and memorable should help protect your initial investment for years to come.

Once you have a design in place you can freshen it up with minor tweaks if you feel it’s starting to date. It might be a cliched example but Coca Cola’s distinctive logo has survived for over 100 years with only minor tweaks to its core design, helping the brand project a consistent image and stay clear of passing trends.

Incorporating a minimal approach can also go a long way to improving a user’s experience of your website. Keeping things visually simple can help shift more of the focus onto your content and have the added effect of improving loading speed and performance.

Techniques like using flat background colours for your pages rather than repeating graphic textures can make a big difference and supporting graphics with flat backgrounds, like icons, also tend to be smaller in file size than those with textured or effects heavy backgrounds.

The Flat UI Design Website

Summary

As always it’s important to think about your audience and whether a particular design approach is likely to appeal to them but there’s a lot to be said for taking inspiration from the flat design trend and employing a style that reduces visual clutter.

As digital consumers the amount of information we’re expected to absorb these days is staggering so if you can get people to your messages and content in a quicker, easier way it’s going to give you a real advantage.

You can see some fabulous examples of flat design currently being used on the web at the Flat Design UI website and of course If you’ve got a question about branding or web design you can give me a call on 07548 591797 or Send me an email.