What Is Flat Web Design?

2d Web Design planning On Paper

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If you owned an iPhone during the early 2010’s, you’ll remember the popularity of 3D icons. This all changed when Apple swapped their icons to be flat and minimalistic, marking a stark change in how we’d view content online. Just because this trend seemed to start on mobile operating systems, doesn’t mean that’s where it stayed. We’ve noticed that flat web design has taken full grasp of the internet.

What caused flat web design to become so popular? Will 3D icons ever come back? We’ll take a dive into the 2D in our latest Search4Local blog.

What Is Flat Web Design?

You’ll probably realise that you’ve seen more flat web design than you think. Perhaps the best way to spot it is to notice what’s not there. When there’s an absence of shadows and highlights, Wordart or other similar features, you might be looking at flat web design.

Generally, websites with flat design are modern and sleek. They may use large blocks of colour and flat, 2D shapes. A lack of 3D design doesn’t have to be boring. There can be beautiful features mixed into a flat web design with enough creativity.

Why Has Flat Web Design Become Trendy?

Flat web design looks modern and stylish, but that’s not the only reason why it’s become popular. 3D icons take longer to render, and use more processing power. Therefore, 2D is favorable for faster loading times. This means that flat web design is better for SEO and retains more users. Why? Because websites that take longer than a couple of seconds to load result in more people abandoning them.

Website Loading Time, Get Faster Website Load Speed

With that in mind, we also need to consider how long it takes for web designers to produce 3D designs. 2D is far simpler to draw and render, therefore creating a flat web design can take a lot less time. This results in more cost-effective pricing for flat website design.

Where Does Flat Web Design Come From?

Many people believe that flat web design is inspired by Scandinavian design. It’s clear to see why. Minimalism with use of bold, simple shapes and block colours is synonymous with signature Scandinavian brands like IKEA.

Are There Risks Of Using Flat Web Design?

Call To Action Visualisation Of A Click On A Button

Only if you don’t use it well. Some people argue that buttons that aren’t 3D don’t look ‘clickable’, but we disagree. If a CTA (call-to-action) is clear, it doesn’t need to be 3D. For example, if you have a button that stands out on a page with ‘contact us’ or ‘call now’ written on it, it’s easy to see that it is a button to be clicked.

The job of a web designer is to ensure that all the visual elements of a site work as they are intended to. Sometimes that may mean using a shadow or highlight to make a button stand out. No matter how they do it, a good web designer will know when to use elements of 2D and 3D design for the best result.

Written by Alice Farley


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