The Flat Design Era
When LayerVault 2 launched earlier this spring, we believed that we were taking a risk by pursuing an entirely flat interface.
Well-loved products on the web share a similar design aesthetic, with roughly the same kinds of bevels, inset shadows, and drop shadows. For designers, achieving this level of “lickable” interface is a point of pride. For us, and for a minority of UI designers out there, it feels wrong.
We certainly didn’t invent the flat style but arriving at it was a violent process. We tore through hundreds of revisions (we have the LayerVault timelines to prove it) to potential interfaces before arriving at the answer that now makes us say “of course.” The desk at LayerVault’s original headquarters (my Manhattan apartment) still has the battle scars from objects being slammed down in anger. At one point, while working on a mockup, a MacBook was slammed shut so hard it was nearly unhinged.
This is exactly how I’ve felt all my life as a designer. Each time a new wave of bubbly, beveled, glossed, gradiated, designs would appear on the web, I would sometimes feel insecure and want to go with the trend, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Just heard a Francis and the Lights song at an outlet mall in upstate NY… #randomlyawesome