Flat Design Vs Material Design, What’s the difference?

Shannon McNamara
Jul 28, 2017 · 3 min read

People typically confuse Flat Design with Material Design as they share many similarities. But, have you ever wondered what actually the difference is? Or which one is more suitable for your clients?

Starting off, we need discuss the term Skeuomorphism.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term Skeuomorphism, in the design world, Skeuomorphism refers to design that resembles the tangible world. Typically, this catches the style of accessible apparatus to resemble global modifications.

Now that we have gotten the technical term and the boring stuff out of the way, lets get into what we are here for, the difference between Flat Design and Material Design.

Starting off with Flat Design. Flat design is the bare minimum design. It does not count for the 3D effect that can be added to graphics including the use of textures, shadows and even the use of gradients. It primarily focuses upon colour and typography. With flat design, the overall appearance is not too important. Instead, it focuses on what the designs functionality will be. The advantage to using this design is simplicity, load time and the fact you can’t exactly mess the design up.

If you like to keep your graphics and icons simple, I recommend you chose Flat Design.

Like most things, there are disadvantages to using Flat Design including:

  1. You are extremely limited to what you can do with your designs.
  2. Such a simple design trend can actually be difficult to produce an idea.
  3. It might not compliment the web application you will be using them for.

Finally, we have Material Design. So what exactly is Material Design? Well, Material Design was created by Google! It is flexible and takes grid-bases layouts, animations, padding and responsiveness into consideration.

“Unlike real paper, our digital material can expand and reform intelligently. Material has physical surfaces and edges. Seams and shadows provide meaning about what you can touch.”

Usually, Material Design is the standard used to create mobile applications for Android. With this type of design, it allows interaction between the application and the user. Overall providing this design with an advantage of user-friendliness. It is also a lot more specific and can be tailored for your users needs and is suitable across all Android devices.

In comparison to Flat Design, Material Design has far less disadvantages but the main disadvantage does play its part. Material Design is typically inseparably attached to Google. Also, you must comply to Google’s guidelines when creating applications therefore being limited what you can do overall with your design skills.

Both designs do take into account the overall user and how the design can affect the user. Preferably, my preferences lies with Flat Design. But what is yours? Do you prefer Flat Design or Material Design? Why do you prefer one over the other? Or can you not choose between the two.

Shannon McNamara

Written by

24, #Irish 🍀, Graphic Designer, Unicorn Developer🦄 #Creative 🎨, #backenddevelopment 💻 , #FlatDesign❤️ , #ImagineDragons 🐲

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