Flat Colors and How They Have Changed Design

What’s the big deal with flat colors?  Everyone is using them these days and it feels it is only gaining momentum and not a passing fad.  Apple introduced the iOS7 and the vivid colors of its predecessor were gone, they had been replaced by flat colors.  Then we start seeing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,  and all  the other social networks changing their logos, colors, and design to be flat.

But what is flat? Flat Colors: Colors and tints that are not formulated from standard process colors. Also, color that seems weak or lifeless. [source: Mark Co. Printing].  So again, why is the design standard going towards “weak or lifeless” colors as Mark Co. has put it?

In my opinion the 3D phase came and went so quickly and with it was the vivid colors, things that popped off the screen at you and captured your attention. It wasn’t only the 3D movies but the beveled edges, shadows, and glows of icons along with the vivid colors that pulled for your attention.  The general consumer was overwhelmed with all these colors and deleted many apps from their mobile devices and computers because of the intensity.  Instead the consumer wants to see only what they are looking for and not distractions from everything else.  Flat colors pull back a long ways and separate you leaving you the consumer in more control.  Mobile device apps that have gone with the flat colors are being reinstalled so now what is popping off the screen is the image of your child on your wallpaper looking cute and you are no longer bright vidid distractions of the icons.

As a designer I now recommend to my clients to use flat colors because that is what the consumer wants to see, and what the consumer is responding to now if they know it or not.  Some clients are having a hard time with this change because they still want that eye candy that jumps out at you.  However I believe the weak and lifeless colors are stronger, and move vivid in their own ways and they will be staying around for awhile.

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