Feeling A Bit Flat

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Image: CrassusCZ

By Alison Fulton

I don’t know about you, but by the time I formally acknowledge a design trend, I find I have actually subconsciously been applying it for a while. I believe that as designers we soak up our surroundings by a sort of visual osmosis, and this ends up permeating our work whether we’re conscious of it or not.

So it is for me with the new “flat” design trend. I became aware of it about the same time as I started noticing the popularity of infographics— not surprisingly, as the two things are complementary and possibly indivisible.

I read about the new look of iOS7 with interest and a sense of inevitability. Since 2010, when I took my first Dreamweaver class (from Professor James Hopper, who is speaking next month on Digital Storytelling at the 2013 ASBPE Kansas City Bootcamp) and I was introduced to the concept of content first, I have tried to follow that precept. Clarifying the design to get out of the way of the content has always seemed to be the obvious way to go. While distilling the design down shouldn’t be confused with simple = easy (because it isn’t!), I have found that a hopefully elegant simplicity often is the best way to achieve the goal of content first. Flat design at its best seems to be clean; but is it sophisticated or naive? I leave that to you to judge for yourself. I think I like a lot of it.

Have you started using flat design in your work? Please share examples if you have. It’s interesting to see what everyone else is up to. Here’s an example of an iPad design I did recently that pays homage to this trend, plus some links to various design topics that I found interesting or useful or inspiring. I hope you do, too, but let me know either way.






Related resources

Subtle patterns: Photoshop plugin
UX Infographic
Prototyping on iPhone
Infographics best practices
Innovative web layouts
Stunning art made from books
Designer Infauxgraphic

Regarding flat design

iOS7 design cheat sheet
Long shadow creator

Photo of Alison Fulton

Alison Fulton recently moved into emedia as a senior content specialist at Advanstar Communications following 20+ years as an art director there.

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