Many major companies are going flat. No, it’s not just the economy or consumer sentiment, but rather in design. Flat is in and it’s sweeping across the internet, but how long will this trend last?
Facebook made headlines last week with their move to a flat logo. Apple is rumored to be flattening their interface on iOS 7. Sabina Idler at Usabilla asked the question of whether this was a trend or a revolution.
We’re going to go with trend. Flat design has many advantages including speed of design, simplicity of usability, and the sheer vintage trendiness of it all, but there’s something about stunning designs with depth that will certainly make a comeback at some point in the future. We’re guessing that it’s going to come soon.
The biggest challenge with design trends is that they lose their trendiness quickly. Just like with fashion trends, people get bored with what they once adored not too long ago. Then, they go back into their bag of tricks and pull out something either new or old. Flat is old. It comes from a time before computer assisted design when it was much easier to make things flat than to try to work with the complexity of depth.
It’s like corduroy. Every couple of years it finds its way back, but it eventually becomes last month’s style. Flat, too, will fade. Today, it makes sense because the onslaught of mobile connectivity makes it easier to use flat designs from both a graphical perspective as well as a usability perspective.
In many ways, though, this trend is already falling behind the capabilities of the devices and the internet connections that drive them. Infrastructure in most developing countries has advanced to the point that there are pretty fast internet connections almost everywhere that modern civilization exists. With improved internet speeds and increased graphic capabilities of mobile devices, the flat trend will soon become unnecessary.
It’s hip. It’s trendy. It’s different. As more companies join Facebook and Microsoft, it will suddenly become not quite so hip, not nearly as trendy, and not different at all. If there’s something that no company wants to be, it’s the same as everyone else. This trend will die more quickly than Adobe Flash websites.