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5 Brilliant Flat Design Trends for 2015

By on May 2, 2016 in Design Trends
5 Brilliant Flat Design Trends for 2015

Flat design has considerably changed the way in which we build websites. Without the need for depth, shadowing and gradients, content becomes the central part of our design. It forces us to think about how to present information in a more compelling way that is truly intuitive for the user.

Towards more engaging flat designs

Some of our site's sections can be best described as "almost-flat", a term coined by designer Ryan Allen and recently mentioned by UXPin's Jerry Cao in his article on the future of flat design. According to him, flat design has evolved (and will continue to evolve) towards more depth and clean animations. At Creative Market, we've brought in subtle textures and shadows that reflect our brand's identity system, but preserved the clean aesthetic and performance benefits of flat design elements.

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In this example, our homepage design uses flat elements like clearly defined color sections and flat icons at the top. We combine them with light textures and shadows to add a level of depth and warmth.

We've also experimented with almost completely flat designs, which have helped tackle content-rich projects like this 2014 roundup and our recent 1 Million Members celebration site.

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Flat design doesn't have to be monotonous. In this example we experimented with pixelated flat icons.

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To add visual interest to this timeline we created a background pattern with scattered flat shapes.

5 Trends for 2015

In his article for The Next Web, Jerry Cao takes note of 5 innovative techniques that we agree should be in every flat designer's toolbox in 2015:

1. Long Shadows

Often placed at 45º angles, long shadows bring a much-needed level of depth to flat designs. This icon set is a great example of the long shadow trend:

If you're having trouble creating your own shadows, add them with one click using this graphic styles kit.

2. Bright Color Palettes

The growing popularity of certain flat UI frameworks and templates has helped introduce some vibrant color schemes to the world of web design. These 50 color swatches are some of the most widely used:

3. Simple Typography

Readability and legibility are key in flat design, and some typefaces manage to make both possible with a simple yet sophisticated aesthetic. While many designers seem to have a preference for modern sans-serif fonts, a slab or serif can work just as well. The Texta Family, pictured below, is a great resource to keep typography simple and user-friendly.

4. Ghost Buttons

As their name indicates, ghost buttons are meant to complete a function without visually disturbing the user. We often see them as outlined, clickable links that have interesting hover effects and unintrusive inactive states. The circled arrow icons below offer the possibility of going from outlined to filled or colored to create attractive ghost buttons.

5. Minimalism

Including as many elements as necessary, but not more, helps us create uncluttered interfaces that users can easily interact with. The "less is more" principle plays an important role in web design, especially when users are increasingly exposed to visual saturation. Designing with a minimalist aesthetic does not come naturally to all of us, and looking at examples like these can help us get a better feel for how it works:

Trends come and go, but principles remain.

The idea of “Flat Design”, i.e. making things appear as if they’re lying flat on a single surface, is a popular trend. And like any trend, it’s subject to fade away and make room for others. However, keeping designs lean and easy to load are principles behind flat design that are likely to carry on for a while, as they are fundamental concepts of web design.


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Chris Madrigal is a front end engineer based in Nevada City, California. Chris makes sure that everything you see at Creative Market looks beautiful and pixel perfect. He is a technology freak, web enthusiast, and lover of tall snowy mountains.

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11 Comments

  1. Minimalism is not a trend. It's a style that has existed before any of us were alive and will continue to do so after we're all gone. It can be applied to just about any branch of design and it's sad to see every designer mention it as the "hot new trend".

  2. @Mehmet Reha Tugcu You're not wrong to say that but neither is any designer when talking about minimalism. A trend does not need to be novel to be a trend it just needs to be what is currently popular.

  3. Long shadows are at the end of their trend cycle. I remember them being popular a few years ago and now they are far too generic and out of date looking. Maybe that's just my opinion though.

  4. I'm still amazed how this flat style become so trendy and caught the hearts of many designers, mine including, while a design where ornaments and multitude of embellishment are present have been highly appreciated throughout history.

    I believe part of the reasons are of practical nature; flat designs are less time consuming while you design them, because they barely contain any effects to add that extra dimension. So I think this trend got appreciated mainly on the conceptual sphere of appreciating art, not on a deeper, emotional level. Therefore, in my opinion, it is doomed to fade away in a couple of years.

  5. It’s true that the flat design is trendy, however it’s hard to know how long a trend will last. Some users might concern about usability on mobile as well as flat design is bit too simple.

    This was also a challenge when we designed our DW Timeline Pro. Luckily, flat design itself has plus point on vibrant color palettes and typographic focus if done right.

  6. I've always liked flat design and i use it my self in my work...for me the famous say "less is more" is still strong

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