Flat design 2.0

June 23, 2018

Flat design isn’t dying, but in 2018 it’s certainly having to learn to adapt to stay relevant, believes Morr. “This new, so-called Flat 2.0 or semi-flat design, relies on adding nuance and depth to its prior ascetic identity. How is it doing that? By indulging in a few design taboos: gradients and shadows. But don’t worry, it’s only in moderation.”

Since 2007, gradients have conjured images of corporate Powerpoint presentations, 00s era web headers, and dated logo designs.

“But in 2018 they’re back, albeit evolved,” Morr continues. “Gradients are now rocking vibrant, updated colours palettes and softer, subtler transitions." 

Flat design has made an impact on brands like Instagram, Stripe, and Apple’s iOS icons, as well as playing a starring role in the high-profile redesigns of companies like Dropbox and Mastercard.

‍Dropbox's late-2017 rebrand is testament to the enduring popularity of flat design

"Thanks to headway made in web browser functionality, we’re also seeing a revival of shadows. Like gradients, shadows were shelved in favour of minimalism and 2D design. Realism and skeuomorphism are still out, but in 2018 designers will be experimenting more and more with updated, softened, and stylised shadows in their work.”

‍Flat design is giving way to semi-flat design, aka Flat 2.0

She offers the Scale website by way of example. 

“The interface has a strictly minimal layout, but features soft, oversaturated gradients, and makes heavy use of shadow-based micro-interactions,” she explains. “Not only are many of the clickable buttons accentuated with elongating shadows, but shadows also emphasise media and break up the page. Depth helps determine visual hierarchy, and can point users to input fields and calls to action on screen.” 

Flat design was a radical departure from the skeuomorphism and hyperreality of the 00s, but has the pendulum swung too far? 

“In 2018, we’ll continue towards a best-of-both-worlds situation,” Morr believes, “in which clever reintroduction of shadows and gradients can add both functionality and beauty.”

Related News