Unless you had a lot of money for expensive web design, in the old days (say, five years ago!) you had to settle for a look that looked a bit, er, dated.
Or, shall we say, inexpensive?
And if your website looks cheap then you know what your web visitors will think about you and your company. It’s not pretty.
Fortunately, these days, with WordPress and improved design resources from themes to plugins, smaller businesses can now launch websites that look completely up to date.
There’s just one catch.
You need to forget about some of the stylistic elements that many people found attractive on websites five years ago:
- drop shadows
- any other type of design that is meant to make the element feel three-dimensional
Welcome to the world of “flat design.”
Less is more
Flat design is where your web design doesn’t try to get attention by shouting but by whispering.
Where you’ll find lots of black text on a white background but very few decorative borders, fanciful backgrounds or lines of (yikes!) flashing text. Where the pictures and the words — not the layout — are the star.
The advantage? As Amber Lee Turner writes in “The History of Flat Design”:
By removing design styles that can easily date their design (or that could quickly cause their design to become outdated), they are “future-proofing” their designs so that they become relevant for longer periods of time. Not to mention, flat design seems to make things more efficient and cuts out the “fluff.”
It’s a trend that draws on the past — with roots back to the 1920s and the Swiss Style of the 40s and 50s that gave us the beloved font Helvetica.
Flat design came to the digital world around 2006, when Microsoft came out with its Zune media player. Then, Apple adopted flat design in the iPhone. From there, flat design spread over the net, bringing not only black text on a white background but also fun, retro colors.
Trends in design, whether print or online, certainly come and go.
But given the rise of mobile devices and smaller screens, a web design that’s easy to read and highlight text and photos over decorative furniture is sure to have staying power.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group