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Flat design is great but it can’t turn a crappy product into a good one

I say a silent prayer of thanks every time I see how popular flat design has become in modern interface. As great as this minimalist design language is, however, many people seem to think that it has far more power than it really does. While aesthetically pleasing and simple, flat design isn’t enough to take a crappy product and make it good, as too many people seem to think. 

Flat design—and the ensuing rejection of excessive visual chrome and skeuomorphic metaphors—is easily one of the best things to happen to interface design in the last five years. On the whole, our websites and apps and operating systems are better off for it, as they’re easier to comprehend and scale better across multiple screen sizes. But flat design is still totally overrated. The issue isn’t as much with the theories and ideas flat design is rooted in, but rather the attitudes that surround the design practice. Motivations range from cynical to overly idealistic, but an all-too-common belief has emerged from the likes of startups, marketers, and critics who suggest that flat design has the ability to take a not-great product and make it great (or, at the very least, appealing). And that just isn’t the case.

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