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With any trend cycle, doing the opposite of what is popular can completely flip the script and become the next hot thing. In the past few years, web and UI design have experienced a transformation towards “flat design”. First off, what is it? Flat design omits the usual gradients, pixel perfect shadows, and skeuomorphism. Skeu-who, skeu-what??  Skeuomorphism is essentially a realistic digital representation of an object… make the object look like it would in real life just for ornamental reasons. For example, the bookcase in Apple’s iBooks looks like wood.

More sites are cropping up with this noticeably sleeker, minimalist design. Much of the high gloss look is stripped away for a more simple approach – no bevels, no shadows, muted colors, etc. Until recently, it seemed highly inevitable that with the increase in tools to achieve bold lifelike designs it would not lean in that direction.

Interesting fact: a certain popular site that has about 1 billion users has and has always had a pretty flat design. Maybe you’ve heard of it? The one and only Facebook. Sure, it’s not necessarily the reason for its’ popularity but having a clean look doesn’t hurt, right?

Some associate the increased popularity of flat design to the rise of touch screen mobile devices and tablets. Why would these devices have anything to do with flat design? For starters, the illusion of a shiny 3D button can be somewhat unfulfilling to touch on a screen that will always remain flat. Another factor is load time. Minimalistic designs are typically much lighter and can be loaded faster on devices where a solid wifi connection may not be available.

Bevels, textures, and drop shadows can still definitely catch the eye but with any specific trend, too much of it can become redundant, perhaps even cliche. Even the almighty Apple, who undeniably popularized the minimalistic trend, has endured quite a bit of criticism due to its overuse of skeuomorphism within many of their products. Bear in mind that as with anything subjective, it is not a firm rule across the board. Whatever your preference on aesthetics, good design comes down to a few basics.

– Make the clickable elements stand out
– The layout should have a natural flow
– It should be user friendly without a lot of clutter
– Keep in mind the target audience

Incredible Marketing’s passion for style and functionality assures you that we are always current with the latest and greatest of design trends.

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