All the Rage: Flat Design

by Melissa Goldstein
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.   dh-flat-design-banner-01 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.
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Instant Smile, $55, Etsy Paint The Town Red, from $99 Susan Kare Prints Shapes Illustration, $20Society6
  dh-flat-design-banner-02 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--capitalisation is strongly encouraged.
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Newton, $16, Etsy  Minimum, $20, Society6 REM 1985, $35, Fab
  dh-flat-design-banner-03 With all this bare-bones design being touted, it's only natural that colour 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.
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 Weeds, from $46, Print-Process  Bicycle, $30, Poster Cabaret Green Loves Blue, $23, Society6
dh-flat-design-banner-04 It's all about utilising large elements, but simultaneously stripping away anything decorative or superfluous. Fussy and detailed need not apply. Like Dieter Rams said, "less, but better."
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Shapes 024, $18, Society6  Tennis, from $46, Print-Process Cube, $20, Society6 

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