2013 saw flat design championed as the new visual language of web design. In some cases, elements of the flat aesthetic were embraced a little too readily and used a little too often and overzealously (see The Madness That Comes Along With The Long Shadow Trend). In other cases it has simply fallen flat – pun intended – lacking the playfulness and sense of excitement that tasteful skeumorphism can elicit.
2014 saw the flat design continue to dominate with a number of high-profile rebrands which followed the trend set by Apple with their iOS 7 refresh. Thankfully, a much needed restraint has begun to creep into the flat design vocabulary as it continues to evolve. Simply stripping all drop shadows, gradients and textures from a website does not necessarily constitute a productive design evolution; in fact, the overuse of the flat aesthetic can have negative impacts on usability. Facebook learned this lesson the hard way when they rolled out their new, ultra-minimalist timeline search. Many users did not even realize the subtle area at the top of a page was a search field that could take user input. Skeumorphic design has utility at least in as far as it can help trigger desired user behaviours.
That being said, flat is here for the foreseeable future. Until the next trend comes along and dethrones it from its seat at the head of the design table, let’s enjoy it. Given that it continues to get more popular and widely used, we thought it appropriate to gather a collection of well executed flat designed websites that we have seen lately.