The argument has been raging in creative meetings and design reviews for months now: Flat design (minimalist design that emphasizes usability) vs. realism or “skeumorphism” (in which objects look more life-like with shadows, surfaces and reflections).
Ready to battle it out at your next design meeting? Throw down the “Flat vs. Realism” challenge with this interactive HTML5 game, created as a holiday greeting by design studio inTacto. You might not win the war for all time, but you’ll have some fun enlightening the uninitiated.
Microsoft launched Windows 8 with flat design last year, followed by Apple’s iOs7, and Google’s Android OS was on an estimated one billion devices by year’s end (WebDesignerDepot.com). With buy-in like that, flat design looks like it owns the street.
“When people were asked ideas about how they think flat design looks, words like simple, clean, modern, trendy, and colorful were some of the answers. Positive arguments for flat design are: illustrations are minimized; if an application uses this kind style, it loads faster; and the content is represented in such a way that it is simpler and easier to understand,” according to the folks at WebDesignerDepot.com, who did their own year-end infographic on the flat vs. realism debate.
Still, there are rabid realism fans in the design world, who adore skeumorphism for the polish and familiarity it brings to a project.
Like any design trend, flat design has its pros and cons. Proponents cite its ease of use, modern look, faster load times and its usefulness in responsive design for mobile devices. Critics argue it can lack personality, can be confusing on what’s clickable and what’s not, and is a challenge to execute well without being boring (WebDesignerDepot.com).
As a designer, it’s your job to know the reasons behind the design choices you make. Hopefully these fun and informative sources will help make your case stronger and up your game at your next creative conference.