The Flat Design Era

By / May 1, 2013 / Tips

Flat design is a graphic style that aims to avoid any graphic element providing no significant value to the structure of a template. This type of visual design purely avoid any form of abstract “decorative” elements. Gradients, reliefs, volumes, realistic forms are erased to make room for simple solids.

This is a minimalist visual approach where the design is smooth.

Some examples of flat designs

The Flat Design Era

The Flat Design Era

The Flat Design Era

The Flat Design Era

The Flat Design Era

What about Skeuomorphism?

Skeuowhat? What a horrible word!

Skeuomorphism is basically the way designs often borrow a particular feature from the past, even when the functional need for it is gone. Its a physical ornament or design on an object copied from a form of the object when made from another material or by other techniques.

People are slowly moving away from the skeuomorphism design, which has been very popular over the past few years. Apple introduced it in iOS and since then many designers have adopted it. Apple iBook app is a very good example, once opened you are in front of a real bookshelf.

Some examples of skeuomorphic designs

The Flat Design Era

The Flat Design Era

The Flat Design Era

The Flat Design Era

The Flat Design Era

Flat design vs Skeuomorphism

There has been precious little research conducted on the differential effectiveness of flat design versus skeuomorphic design. As a divide grows between the two schools of thought, let me point something interesting …

Just think about this : When you design a button in flat web design what are you doing? Basically you design a “flat” button that looks like a real life button, isn’t it a copy of something real? Guess what?

You’ve just figured out the inconvenient truth : Flat design is skeuomorphic.

Final thoughts

Over the coming years we will surely unearth some new schemas and mindsets related to web design. Flat UI is just another aspect of the many ways to treat information. The community has grown into a global community with designers to be found all over the planet. This means we all have access to share and research off each other’s information, regardless of skill level. There has truly never been a better era to work in the field of web design.

And you? What do you think about flat design?
Are you a flat design or skeuomorphism advocate?
Let us know your views in the comments.

About the Author

Webdesigner living in Paris, Wordpress geek. I love tweaking pixels and lay them down on some Psds. Founder of, a blog dedicated to webdesign and inspiration.


  1. Web Design Riches
    October 5, 2013

    flat designs looks beautiful that’s why everyone wants flat design now even google and yahoo logo is flat :)

  2. Giannis B
    October 23, 2013

    So many years of fabulous improvements in display technology, giant steps in computer power and clever concepts in computer aided design… all of them gone for the sake of “flat design”… So what i.e. “retina display” is for? To just notice the “serifs” of typography? Tens of thousands of pixels on every single square inch just to be filled with a… single color (or two!)

    I’d be really glad to see various and completely different types of design, surfing the web, but that dominance of the FLAT in web design is a GREAT dissappointment for me, who for ten years now have been a great enthousiast of shadows-highlights, gloss, inner lights and, generally, 3D appearance by applying some simple yet genious ideas on graphics.

    I hope soon realism (or what you call “sceuomorphism”) will be back in our computers or we can throw out our display adapter and replace it with a 16 color capable one…


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