Design

Flat Design vs Material Design : Which one to Choose

Flat design is not a trend that has just come in instead ever since Microsoft came up with it, it’s been much appreciated all over the globe. In fact, a lot many companies have been following the trend. Flat design to be precise is a minimalist user interface genre that at present is being used in different graphical UI as in websites or web applications.

Now, when you talk about the material design. How do you know it is different from the flat design as one is based on another. The main difference lies in the fact that one is as mentioned above the design trend that people have adapted to while material design is not particularly the design trend instead it is a list of guidelines that designers these days are following.

Is this sufficient to state the difference between flat design and material design? Well, definitely not! Today, we chose the topic that revolves around these two design forms that might leave designers bewildered if not clearly understood.

To understand the difference between the two, we will have to get the clear idea of what exactly the flat and material design are so let us quickly take a look at the difference between the two.

What is Flat Design?

Flat design is simple and doesn’t leave much room for stylistic choices, thereby giving it the three-dimensional illusion. The focus in flat design is mostly on the interplay of the icons, its typography and the colors being used. Simplicity plays the major role in flat design; simple buttons for efficient search, simple, straightforward color combinations, simple icons and likewise.

In flat design not much of importance is given to the appearance instead functionality is of prime importance. Responsiveness where has become an important part of designing, it has become far easier for the designers and the users enjoy the ease of workflow and search in flat design.

Well, this doesn’t end here knowing certain aspects that give flat design thumbs up and thumbs down will surely help understand the difference between both flat and material design. Here they are :

flat-design

Good Features of Flat Design

1. Flat design doesn’t go beyond the limits. Whatever the screen size, it works well with them instead of trying to be like other design trends or making the content appear vague.

2. Websites that are designed keeping flat design in mind simplifies the use and are easy to make the website responsive on the designer’s part.

3. There are no unwanted graphical and animated elements that ensure the decrease in loading time.

4. As already mentioned, in flat design there are no  unnecessary design choices that automatically makes the site  design faster.

5. There are no skeuomorphic elements that ensures speedy readers’ progression through the content of the website.

Cons of Flat Design

1. Simple colors, shapes and use of simple icons can ask you to stay in limits, thereby not expanding the creative skills.

2. There are websites and applications that tend to require complex visual clues to help you follow the entire process. Lack of drop shadows and edges that are raised leave the users wandering as to which are the clickable buttons.

3. Websites with minimum features and a usual website with flat design can lead to boredom thereby not grabbing the users’ attention for long.

What is Material Design?

Now, let’s talk a bit about the material design that as we progress will slowly let you understand the difference between the both. From material design, all the skeumorphs are removed even the important ones. Material design takes layer concept from innumerable image editors thereby separating them by drop shadows, bevels, and animations.

Material design is a set of design standards guidelines developed by Google and has good number of unique and interesting features, the use of the Z-axis being one of the prominent ones.

materail-design

Good Features of Material Design

1. For having animations, material design comes with built-in animations that eliminates the need to handle it manually.

2. Material Design comes with a very detailed and specific set of guidelines so you don’t have to keep guessing.

3. As you all know in material design there is a three-dimensional arrangement that makes programs easier to interact with.

4. Material design provides unified experience across all devices that makes it all the more which will add to the user-friendliness.

Cons of Material Design

1. There are less options to make yourself stand apart to make your website or app different as all the systems won’t be able to pull off the intended frame rates.

2. Material Design as we all know is linked to Google so it won’t be an easy venture to create a unique identity to make your website or application stand apart from the crowd.

3. There are animations that are sure to drain the battery asking you to charge your mobile time and again.

To sum up, material design and flat design are identical in terms of clean and minimal aesthetic. But then, the flat websites are practical and easy to use, they load speedily rather than the websites that include animation and complex graphics. See, the conclusion part can be left open ended for the fact that it depends entirely on your choice if you want a fancy website with lot many animations or the websites that are simple and easy to work with.

Both flat design and material design have their own set of pros and cons that we have listed above. Choose for yourself, but if you ask me a flat design would be my choice. What’s your take on this? Do let us know.

5 Comments

  1. James Dowen

    May 22, 2015 at 2:42 am

    I can still not decide what to use. I love both (even though I went Material on my own website).

    • Rajni Setia

      May 26, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      James good to hear that you finally made the choice. So, how was your experience working with Material design?

  2. Bharath

    May 22, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Hi Rajni,
    I have a difference of opinion on cons of flat. Initially Flat design was without shadows but later on the concept of Diagonal Shadows were introduced. Also the buttons on flat UI are similar to a tag cloud buttons, it depends on how the User Interface designer creates it.

    Let me know if i am wrong.

    Regards,
    Bharath

    • Rajni Setia

      May 26, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      Bharath, yes you are right. It depends from designer to designer and on various design projects. Thanks for sharing your views with us.

  3. James Browning | Freelance Web Developer

    September 13, 2018 at 4:50 am

    I definitely agree and think Flat design is the right choice. I always believe accessibility, ease of use, and page speeds comes before flashy designs.

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