01 Feb Flat design: history and development


Since its inception, flat design, first of all, was a logical response to such manifestations as 3D, skeuomorphism and realism. Each of them carried a certain aesthetic orientation, and, of course, pros and cons. These kinds of design at the beginning of formation of the virtual environment and graphical user interface, become a kind of guide for the user, helping to navigate the new reality.

But the area of ​​design, like any other, is not standing still. After some time, a lot became clear that neither skeuomorphism or three-dimensional images and even realism can not meet the demands of the time. If before they were acceptable to use, now began to seem ponderous and complicated the work.

This situation has become a suitable moment for a “revolution” in the design environment. Flat design has become precisely the concept that change and improve the direction of the graphical interface.

In order to more fully disclose the essence of this trend, and what principles it professes to explain a little about the above precursors, which radically differ from it. Flat design, in the modern sense of the word, refused to use the characteristics of these species.

3D effects


Three-dimensional image effect is visually means “possible” interface depth, thereby allowing the most to understand what will be the main element, and which recede into the background.

Accordingly, all the elements are divided into two categories:

-are convex. They create a sense of visual clickabiliuty or click on them. This technique is intended to highlight the interaction between the buttons on the screen of the site.

-built elements are used to fill in the text part. Using a technique isolated entry forms or the search bar.

With the advent of the first graphical interface designers began to use shadows, lighting effects and gradients to enhance the role of the intuitive user interaction to the level. But given the fact that the potential of the first computer graphics leave much to be desired, such methods (eg, the use of massive shadow in the running Windows-95) after the lapse of years, began to look too rough and unattractive.



Been replaced 3D visualization comes skeuomorphism. This is a special design element that represents objects that are close to the real world. Skeuomorphism was another step towards the improvement of the interface. Its main advantage is that it immediately prompted people how to work this or that element, turning their “expertise” to the higher intuitive level.

We think, many people know, that Apple has long been a supporter of this design is, until the appearance of IOS7 in 2013. Amazone, an early version of the Kindle Fire tablet based on Android  used skeuomorphism in the development of a “virtual” bookshelf.

But, as in the case of 3D, use skeuomorphism elements was “burdening” the applications. Many designers began to abandon the “metaphoric” imitation parts interface, thus revealing its own, without the objects based on the “real” user experience.

Period of of realism


Realism – the next stage in the development of design. Yes, it is similar to skeuomorphism, but still has its distinctive features. Moreover, realism becomes a transitional stage between skeuomorph and flat design.

A key feature of this type – smaller functionality. If skeuomorphism emphasizes function objects that mimic the realism of their properties. It is worth noting that this imitation of little noticeable, because the interface becomes “realistic features” only the visual and aesthetic level.

The emergence of the flat design


2011 was the starting point for a decisive invasion of flat design in the digital world. Company Microsoft introduced Windows 8, based interface Metro.

He drew attention to typography, forms-definition images and the use of bright colors. Flat design Metro was a complete opposite of skeuomorphism, waive the right to display the objects of the world.

The main principles of the flat design:

-correct operation with fonts That flat design uses simple elements, does not mean that the fonts should be as simple as possible, and complicated remain banned. Just in case the graphical interface should be designed in the spirit of minimalism;

-easy used items;

-flat design tends to minimize the lack of parts and complex visualization;

-harmonious color accents.


Apple – the main opponents of the flat design, up to exit IOS 7, using traditional techniques skeuomorphism. But with the growing popularity of “flat” trend, decided on a change of priorities.

If in 2012 was dominated by skeuomorphism design elements, the 2015 of them was gone: the whole structure became completely flat, there is not a trace of the usual shadows and textures.


The Evolution of the flat design

 Over time, the flat design has become subject to a test of strength. It is worth noting that it found deficiencies, the main of which is considered too radical a departure from realism interface. Many developers have come to realize that the original version of the flat design is not quite easy to use, and began to look for new forms of expression.

Option, which appeared recently, but has already managed to leave the ranks of the trend – a Google Material Design. Transformation of a flat design of Google – the harmonious arrangement of priorities, and “returning again” the use of shadow and layers that help to better perceive the balance of the elements in the interface.

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Today material design can be considered a reincarnation, changed the virtual reality. It incorporates the best of the flat design, while not forgetting about the practicality of use. It is the ability to combine the popular trends and competent work GUI lies the clue success material design.

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