Current trends in user interface design – Flat Design

Whilst the cinema & motion video world is force feeding 3D on the public at large, current graphic design / web & user interface design trends are moving towards a flatter appearance.

This is not a new thing, clean flat designs have been the staple of graphic design for a very long time. User interfaces on the other hand have been utilising shading, shadowing, colour gradients and the like to create graphics that have a pseudo 3d-esque feel, now it’s time for ‘flat design’ to take over.

So if it’s not news, then why is it news?

Some of the biggest companies in the world today have just recently adopted the ‘flat design’ approach, in particular Google and Apple. These are not the first to do get on the band wagon, some what ironically Microsoft has been doing flat for a couple of years now.

Google redesigned their logo, very subtly, removing bevels and a general spring clean in the process. In this instance removing the 3D look to the logo has stopped it having a dated feel and makes the logo feel somewhat fresher.




Google also turned their attention to their own internal sub company YouTube, applying a similar set of changes.




Apple have adopted a flat design for their UI on the new iOS7 for mobile devices, this was met with some negative reaction by some, but having played with the OS it handles nicely and runs smoothly.


apple flatness


One thing that is apparent, it feels like Apple has conformed rather than innovated by opting in on this trend, the look and feel once you delve deeper has a very distinct Windows Phone OS feel to it, using similar fonts and styles.

Domino Affect

We have highlighted that flat design is nothing new, the significant factor with the 2 giant companies ‘Google & Apple’ is their influence, and this has already started.

You only have to look at the apps on the iPhone, they have started to change their appearance and go flat, not just from a UI point of view but from a branding point of view.

Popular app Instagram (read about it here on their blog) immediately converted and released a flat design in recognition of Apples changes, twitter also followed suit by flattening their UI (read about it here on their blog.)




This domino affect has shown that flat design goes beyond Apps, User Interfaces and Operating Systems, it has branched out and changed company branding in general, the ‘see it, want it’ mentality has kicked in.

Apple are well known for their prowess in design, a go to company for current hot trends, they may not have started the trend, but now they are a part of it, others will follow suit.


Where next for design and branding

New trends will always happen, bandwagon jumping is part and parcel of human life, it is now up to the graphic designers of this world to accept this and adapt.

We have faith that innovation & creativity will reign supreme and dearly hope the copycat mentality will not make everything the same and devoid of character.

There is a danger things will become over simplified and lose it’s identity, a great example of this is the new ebay logo, which we think has lost some of it’s brand identity, a step backwards rather than a development.




We will leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs former Big Thinker of Apple, which we think perfectly expresses our thoughts, make of it what you will…

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Steve Jobs