Flat Design vs Skeuomorphic Design

What do you think about web design styles? Do you study them in order to make use of the best features? Do you track all latest design trends to keep your knowledge up to date?

Today we will try to compare the innovative flat and time-tested skeuomorphic trends, hoping that the experience will be interesting for you.
First of all, let’s specify the definitions to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

By flat design we mean a graphic concept characterized by simplicity, functionality and minimalism. No depth, gradients, shadows, complicated textures and superfluous decorative elements. Just clean layouts with enough negative space, vibrant colors, powerful contrasts, clear-cut edges, basic shapes, 2D elements, outlined icons and preferably sans-serif type faces.

Skeuomorphic design implies using digital elements similar to common objects from the real life. The technique is aimed to create familiar environments, where interface looks and acts just like user expects it to. Richtexture (paper, stone, wooden, leather) is another feature of skeuomorphic layouts.

Now, when we know exactly what we are talking about, let’s list few major benefits of both styles.

Flat:

  1. Better usability. Clarity, readability and lack of extra design elements help improve functionality of pages and interfaces. The users come and get exactly what they want fast and hassle-free.
  2. Digestible content. Flat designs contain concise texts, arranged hierarchically for better perception.
  3. Universality. Flat designs are suitable and look good on screens of various desktop and portable devices, which is essential in time of responsive web design.

Like There is No Tomorrow

Like There is No Tomorrow

Skeuomorphism:

  1. Cozy & familiar. Users feel more confident pushing buttons, turning over the pages and switching the toggles reminding their real-life analogues.
  2. Emotional connection. Skeuomorphic UI is able to stir different feelings depending on website idea. The effect is reached due to the previous users’ experience from the real life.
  3. Profitable. You can’t but agree that Apple’s successful experience proves that devices with skeuomorphic interfaces are popular among lots of users, which gives the developer a kind of guarantee that the investments will be repaid.

The Secret Door

The Secret Door

Beautiful examples of flat and skeuomorphic designs below will let you draw your own conclusions about the above mentioned trends. Frankly speaking, the initial comparative tone of the article can’t be considered absolutely acceptable as the choice of graphic expression depends on the task set. Both methods are suitable if they render client’s ideas and satisfy targeted audience, both of them have their serious drawbacks as well. To make your analyses deep and engaging, we suggest you to follow this link and check an interactive infographics about skeuomorphism in web design.

And now, here are some flat and skeuomorphic website designs for your inspiration.

Flat

Solasie

Solasie

Kendu

Kendu

Woodwork

Woodwork

Rozmowa

Rozmowa

Ceska filharmonie

Ceska filharmonie

Web Effectual

Web Effectual

Michel Doudin

Michel Doudin

Webworker Hannover

Webworker Hannover

Billboard

Billboard

Necon

Necon

Skeuomorphism

Handy Test

Handy Test

The Rise & Rise of David Bowie

The Rise & Rise of David Bowie

East African Bakery

East African Bakery

The Ballooner

The Ballooner

Ian James cox

Ian James cox

Zizzi

Zizzi

Rock 102 FM

Rock 102 FM

Kinder Fotografie Evi Hermans

Kinder Fotografie Evi Hermans

Pudding Rush

Pudding Rush

Boca 21 Deli

Boca 21 Deli