Understanding the Principles of Flat Design

added by Jibari Daniels on
Jul 14, 2014

understanding flat design principles - design decoding

Understanding the Principles of Design are a must for any one who calls themselves a designer. These Principles, which are Unity/Harmony, Balance, Hierarchy, Scale/Proportion, Dominance/Emphasis, Similarity and Contrast are the foundations of all art. When it comes to Flat Design, which is explained as the flatness of style, or simplification of user interface elements, The Principles of Design vary slightly.

Understanding the Principles of Flat Design could get tricky but by mastering these principles you will ensure you have a thoroughly and complete design.

The Principles of Flat Design Are the Following:

1) No Added Effects

The basis of flat design comes from the simplistic and minimalistic aspect of a 2-dimensional piece of artwork that is simply flat. In order to make this work you should stay away from any shadows, gradients, bevels, or any other filter that would create depth.


2) Simple Elements

When creating elements for flat design stay away from elements that encourage the Skeuomorphism or Realism effect, which is described as designing an object accurate and detailed, but push more towards elements that are visually minimal and embrace the flat style of simple shapes and flat colors.

3) Focus on Typography

Typography play a major role in the development of Flat UI design. Typefaces should be based on the simple aspect of flat design plus match the overall layout of the design. Consider using simple clean thin sans-serif fonts and complement it with one novelty font or serif font. Learn more about The Top 20 Best Flat UI Design Web Fonts here.

4) Focus on Color

Color plays a major role in Flat Design. Stick to using colors that are much brighter and more colorful then ones on standard websites. Pick hues that are from the primary and secondary color scheme with low tints and tones. A great guide for the most popular flat design colors can be found on the Flat UI color website.

5) Minimalist Approach

Stick to simple design standards which basically is a overall minimalistic design approach. Avoid using complex shapes or design elements.


6) Almost Flat Design Aspect

One style that almost every designer agrees on, is the Almost Flat Design Aspect. Which is creating a basic theme that is flat and adding some effects to the overall design scheme. Designer tend to use the approach because it adds more depth to the overall design layout.


Understanding the Principles of Flat Design Sum Up

These flat design principles should be followed but can be adjusted depending on the audience you are trying to serve. Understanding the Principles of Flat Design will not only help you when designing for Flat UI Website but on standard websites as well. Overall, have fun and use which ever concept suits your designs, whether it is the almost flat design layout or complete flat design layout.

Written by Jibari Daniels


  1. […] Before we get into the great flat design examples, let me give you a little background into flat design and it’s history. Flat design is explained as the flatness of style, or simplification of user interface elements. Flat Design is created by removing the extra element such as textures, 3 dimensional elements, gradients and shadows. Flat design exploits the use of minimalistic icons while following the Principles of Design along side the Principles of Flat Design (you can read more about the Understanding the Principles of Flat Design h… […]

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