The Shocking Truth About Flat Web Design

Why hiring for specific trends is a sure way to a bullet in your foot.


Have you been reading the want ads lately for Web Designers? Have you burst out laughing due to the fact that they’re asking for three different people when they’re only hiring for one?

Thanks Obama! Just kidding, as they say; “it’s the economy, stupid.”

Typically these positions are a horrific mash of social media manager, front end designer, and back end code wizard. Yes, you want to hire people with a clue, but you don’t want fragmented expertise.

The specific misconception in HR that’s driving me nuts, due in part to out of the loop managers of the “I want it now” culture, is to hire people based on trends.

Trends come and go. Have you noticed yet?

Must have examples of Flat UI

Currently the demand for “flat UI expert” is at a high. Yes, flat is here, and it’s been growing for quite sometime. But to only seek out designers that have a preexisting portfolio in this style is closed minded.

One, because out of all designs that have come before, flat is one crafted esthetic amongst many, and Benjamin Franklin is it the easiest. You mean I just turn off all my texture layers, drop shadows and gradients and I’ve got a “flat” design?

Ha, you know I just pissed off a ton of flat experts out there! Holla!

Plus, you might be an incredible designer who’s been full tilt at a company that has no use for it, but now you’re seeking work.

BTW: If you’re looking for a deeper insight into the “flat” look, Smashing Magazine has a great piece on the “Authentic Design” movement and it’s worth your time.


Focus on the Timeless and the Universal

Good designers, no, awesome designers rest their creations upon timeless infrastructure. Universal modes of visual communication that speak directly to the human psyche. Signals that guide the experiencer to the intention of the function.

Am I knocking flat design? No Way. I love it. What I’m knocking is that good designers may be overlooked by trend driven hiring practices, and that’s just dumb.

The evolution of skeuomorphic design to flat is long one. The virtualization of the real world into it’s digital parallel was a societal adoption phase that we have now passed.

Humans have now adapted to pocket sized computing, and we might no longer need reference the “real world” through digital design.

Though design, unless it’s art, is still founded on usability.

So when hiring, find a designer who can adapt. Who has empathy, taste, and a lineage of good user experience, because flat may come and it may go.


If you liked this post, hit that Recommend button. I’d appreciate it!

PS: if you don’t think I know what I’m talking about, you can always critique my portfolio!