With the rise of mobile technologies, the world decides that its time to move forward and focus on usability first. (Because, lets agree, this sphere is in need of strong mobile-friendly solutions accessible across different devices.) So thats where simplicity begins as a new design standard.

Flat design

This is a type of design which is stripped of any multidimensional elements. Thats to say, it makes it feel like all the objects here are lying on a single surface. Flat design just got rid of any stylistic elements like drop shadows, textures, and gradients to be more like the play of fonts, icons, and colors. But why do we need this move? Thats pretty easy.

First of all, flat design reduces the loading time of a page greatly. The absence of heavy skeuomorphic details (think layers, gradients, serif fonts) makes flat design elements much smaller, which, in part, speeds up the load time. Whats more, flat elements may look equally attractive on both high-resolution and low-resolution screens (this is exactly what I meant by a strong mobile-friendly solution).

Second, simple images deliver your message more quickly than detailed illustrations. They are schematic, they are pretty naive, so everyone can get them.

Material design

material design is rather a branded product than a spontaneously born design style which became a bandwagon. This is actually what is considered to be the main difference between these two.

What I mean when calling material design branded is that it has a set of well-defined guidelines and principles every self-respectful mobile designer has to stick to (however, Google isn't after them to do things right the way they are in the instruction). The reason why Google introduced its material design seems rather obvious: the need to make things look same on numerous Android devices. But what is the main idea of material design? Let's find out

Being functional to some extent, flat design is still thought to be a less intuitive type of design, though. The truth is, the excessive flatness of the objects on the screen can get users all mixed up (especially, if it comes to those of us who are not used to web or mobile interfaces).

Clickable elements could be easily confused with non-clickable icons and texts, which may result in a much poorer user experience. So material design tries to introduce some skeuomorphism back nevertheless, it does it in the most simplified fashion possible. It can look really flat (especially, when it comes to colors), but stays multidimensional thanks to the Z-axis approach which is always taken into consideration

Advantages of Flat and material Design

Flat Design :

  • • Minimalistic and stylish.
  • • Easily understandable. That is, your idea will be delivered to the masses better.
  • • Time- and resource-saving. Pages are loaded faster, bandwidth is consumed less.
  • • Focused on a content. No overly detailed UI elements which can distract users from really valuable things.
  • • Looks equally great on different devices, be it a PC or a smartphone browser, and makes pages responsive.
  • • Speeds up the process of website/application design by getting rid of unnecessary design strokes.

Material Design :

  • • Minimalistic and stylish as well.
  • • More intuitive. Material design is great both for experienced users and newbies.
  • • Moderately skeuomorphic. Makes everything look more real due to the usage of Z-axis (a unique Googles concept).
  • • Has a set of well-defined guidelines which are kept updated constantly. So you always can refer to them if you have any difficulty working on the project.
  • • Promotes animation for web solutions. It's useless to deny, people love action. Moreover, animation helps users grasp the UI better.

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