Flat design is a minimalistic design approach that advocates for the removal of beveled edges, gradients, shadows and reflections. The first time that I remember seeing flat design being used was in an early commercial for Windows 8. I remember thinking, “why is Apple not doing something like this?” Instead, Apple is utilizing graphics called skeuomorphism to create elements that appear as if they have come directly from the physical world. Windows 8, on the other hand, uses flat color and minimal design decisions to create their interface.
Is flat design the most modern form of graphic design? In my opinion, yes, it is. However, just like any artistic movement, there are artists who eventually challenge the modern approach and create something to overwrite it. An example of this could be the distinct difference between the Bauhaus inspired modernists of the 20th century that advocated for function over form and the post-modernists (death of modernism) of the latter part of the century. It is probable that something similar will happen with flat design, as every movement eventually retires. Flat design may stay around for the next few years, but will ultimately be overridden by a future artistic focus. Perhaps it will become a blend of both skeuomorphism and flat design? I will admit that the new operating system for Apple, iOS7, incorporates both styles within it’s graphic elements. iOS7 uses beveled edges, gradients, shadows and reflections but incorporates a new minimal approach to these effects that I personally take an interest in. See for yourself.