Anyone with a friend in Silicon Valley will know that when it comes to web design, flat is the new skeumorphic. Translation: instead of the drop shadows, gradients, and textures that result in more realistic-looking design, the new order embraces a dramatically simplified, subtly retro minimalism that's been adopted by web behemoths including Google, Microsoft, and Apple. And this trend isn't restricted to online: it's all over the typographic poster world, making it ripe for your gallery wall But how do you know if that eye-catching print you're ogling is actually flat design and not (gasp) something in-between? We've broken down the movement's central tenets below, complete with shoppable examples.
The first rule of flat design is that it's not just a clever name: everything truly is, and appears to be flat, which means it's all about 2D. The order of the day is simplifying things to their most basic elements: no shadows, no textures, just minimalist form designed to be straightforward and user-friendly.
Typography is given its due in this graphic treatment--in fact, it's entirely possible to have flat design sans any images at all. The text should, of course, echo the aesthetic honesty and simplicity inherent in the scheme--capitalization is strongly encouraged.
With all this bare-bones design being touted, it's only natural that color play a role. Give it your boldest, brightest, and most high-contrast palette: the only rule here is that clarity and readability should never be compromised.
It's all about utilizing large elements, but simultaneously stripping away anything decorative or superfluous. Fussy and detailed need not apply. Like Dieter Rams said, "less, but better."