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JournalNotes & Thoughts

Learning to live with ‘Flat Design’

Matt Hamm

I hate the term ‘flat design’ and particularly referring to colours as ‘flat colours’. It just doesn’t make any sense to me, perhaps that’s just because I come from a print design background. But now it’s all over the internets, so it looks like we all have to live with it.

In 2011 Microsoft gave birth to the Windows Metro UI which is now called Windows 8 due to legal action taken against Microsoft for infringing on the Metro trademark by the German company Metro AG.

windows 8

Remember Microsoft Zune? It was one of the first user interfaces to incorporate this new typographic led style, which then was subsequently used for Windows mobile and Windows 8 UI.

It seems to me that what I call ‘Metro UI style’ is now being referred to as flat design, which essentially is based around the principles of typographic Swiss graphic design which was developed in the 1950’s which emphasises cleanliness, readability, grid systems and objectivity, with a particular colour palette.

Apple have now ditched skeuomorphism, which mimics real objects as an interactive cue, in their latest operating system iOS 7 in favour of what is now coined flat design. Which means that Apple is no longer the leading pre-emptive design powerhouse it once was in terms of user interface design and they are now drafting behind Microsoft to some degree, which is something I thought would never ever happen.

I suppose that I can learn to live with the term ‘flat design’ but I still can’t stand the term ‘flat colour’ isn’t this just a particular colour palette choice by the designer? What’s the next trend? Perhaps it’s long shadow design.

Rant over. Let me know your thoughts.

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