Fashions come and go in clothing and the same is true of web design. So in terms of flat design vs. gradient design – which is “best”?
Just because a particular style of web design goes out of fashion, that doesn’t mean it won’t return to become the latest hot new trend again. Just as flared trousers and mini skirts keep on making a reappearance, so too do web design trends.
For a few years now, flat design has been a buzzword amongst web designers, but just lately there’s been a resurgence in gradient design. So which is the better option for your website? To determine that, you first need to have a clear understanding of the two different design styles.
Flat design first put in an appearance with the introduction of the first iPhone. The small screen size meant that buttons had to really stand out and flat design was deemed to be the perfect approach. By paring back all extraneous decoration, shadows and detailing, buttons and icons stood out clearly, making it easy for the user to see their purpose.
Flat design quickly caught on amongst the web design community, who were quick to seize upon this streamlined, bright and clear design principle. Before long, flat design had taken hold, with the majority of websites featuring clean and uncluttered graphical elements.
Where flat design is static and clean, gradient design takes a very different approach. Here, colour is used to create shadows, light and depth, with colours merging together to create eye-catching design elements on the screen.
Colours can be bright – even eye-popping – merging together to create stunning effects and even creating completely new shades in the process. But there’s no obligation to go crazy with colour, as gradient design can also encompass soothing colours, drawing the eye exactly where the designer wants it to go.
Flat design vs. gradient design
Today, you don’t have to choose either flat design or gradient design when you create a website, as the two styles are no longer mutually exclusive. The recent Instagram rebrand is a prime example as to how the two very different design methods can actually work surprisingly well together. The Instagram logo has been recreated as a flat-design button, but with bright colours swirling and merging in the background, making it impossible to ignore.
And it’s this inability to ignore it that makes the combination of flat and gradient design styles so mesmerising. With so many apps, programs and websites to choose from, anything that makes your own offerings stand out from the crowd is worthy of consideration.
Of course, there’s much more to web design than flinging colours and styles together in the hope of creating something stunning. But knowing how to blend colours together to draw the eye in is an important aspect of the design process. So, if you’re planning to create a website of your own, it’s well worth taking the time to learn about colour and its effect on the psyche.
So the message is clear: you don’t have to choose one style over the other. There’s room on the webpage for both flat and gradient design elements, which can be combined for truly stunning effects.
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