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Flat Design (also known as Cyber Minimalism or Swiss Design) is an aesthetic that has been prevalent since 2013, following the end of the Frutiger Aero Era. It is characterized by sleek, smooth, minimalist, and organized technological design and function. The website user interfaces are ideally created with multiple accessibility functions to aid user experience (especially on a small smartphone screen), such as easily readable fonts, high contrast/dark mode options, and rounded shapes to reduce visual load.

History[]

Roots (1950s-2000s)[]

Flat Design had its roots back to the 1950s, influenced by the International Typographic Style (Also known as Swiss Style) that emerged in Switzerland. It also took cues from the styles of Bauhaus from the 1920s, and Memphis Design from the 1980s and 1990s.

First Uses (2008-2012)[]

Flat Design dates back to 2008, when PepsiCo redesigned their Pepsi products to have more minimalist logos. It further developed in 2010, when Microsoft started experimenting with the Metro UI design seen on Windows Phone 7, and later in 2011 with a new Xbox 360 Dashboard. These early uses were examples of Flat Metro (a Frutiger Metro subgenre), the precursor to Flat Design.

Mainstream Success (2012-2023)[]

Flat Design wouldn't begin to gain notoriety until the Early-2010s, when gradient-based skeuomorphic Frutiger Aero-esque design philosophies began to disappear from tech design, in favor of cleaner looks via Windows 8 and iOS 7. Many websites, software, and electronics by corporations in the 2010s to 2020s have these minimalist elements, such as Google, Discord, Twitter, Apple, etc. Flat Design slightly inspired Android societal elements in the video game Detroit: Become Human. In 2017, an aesthetic known as Corporate Memphis appeared, combining elements of Corporate and Flat Design.

Decline (2022-present)[]

Many years of Flat Design have reached a level of boredom for the general public, so much so that in 2021, memes about "oversimplified logos" appeared as a precedent, including the Neumorphism and Glassmorphism trends in Mac OS Big Sur and Windows 11 respectively, recovering gradients and shadows. Flat Design reached its cultural peak and use in 2021.

Although starting in 2022 and 2023, there would be a strong decline in Flat Design. Flat logos have begun to be left behind in favor of more detailed logos. For example, in March 2023, Nickelodeon added an orange splat to its logo to pay homage to its previous logos while still maintaining the 2009 wordmark. Later in the year, Reddit also joined in, transforming Snoo into a 3D style with a more expressive face, designed by Pentagram. It's rapid decline continues well into the mid-2020s will likely be completely replaced by Glassmorphism and Neumorphism around 2025-26.

Visuals[]

As mentioned above, the visuals of Flat Design are intended to reduce visual load and increase accessibility. This also entails limited color palettes with low to medium-high saturation accent colors to minimalize eye strain. Flat Design usually avoids earth tones. Blue and white is a commonly used color combination in this aesthetic due to its clean and fresh feeling and prevalent use in web design. Easily decipherable icons are also common.

It is not necessarily futuristic or utopian, such as in Cyberprep, but it can be. Although it is used by major tech companies, it also doesn't have to be tied to corporatism or businesses. The primary focus is the minimal distraction, ease of access, and streamlined processes of technology.

Fashion[]

Cyber minimalist fashion often overlaps with minimalist fashion with its smooth fabrics and limited colors, however cyber minimalism has less excess material and fits closer to the body. It is not tight to the body, but it has less bagginess than some minimalist fashion. It tends to not have patterned or textured fabric, but it is acceptable in moderation. There are few accessories as well, usually gold, silver, or black, fitting in with the minimalist fashion.

Media[]

Music[]

Music that relates to Flat Design has light synths, smooth song structure, and is easily listened to. There is not often heavy bass, and harsh or loud noises are not present at all. It may or may not have lyrics.

  • Dumb Ways to Die
  • Cloudnone
  • DJ Seinfeld
  • PS5 Hardware Reveal Song
  • Four Tet
  • Steve Hauschildt
  • Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (2011)
  • Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks (2011)
  • Calvin Harris
    • How Deep Is Your Love feat. Disciples (2015)
    • This is What You Came For feat. Rihanna (2016)
    • My Way (2016)
    • One Kiss feat. Dua Lipa (2018)
  • Avicii
    • Wake Me Up (2013)
    • Hey Brother (2013)
  • Marian Hill
    • One Time (2014)
    • Down (2017)
  • The Chainsmokers
    • Roses (2015)
    • Don't Let Me Down (2016)
    • Closer (2016)
    • Paris (2017)
  • Lorde
    • Royals (2013)
    • Team (2013)
    • Tennis Court (2013)
  • Taylor Swift
    • Shake It Off (2014)
    • Blank Space (2014)
    • Style (2014)
    • Wildest Dreams (2015)
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Julia Michaels - Issues (2017)

Games[]

  • Journey (2012)
  • Dumb Ways to Die (2013)
  • Dinosaur Game (2014)
  • Crossy Road (2014)
  • Mini Metro (2015)
  • Lara Croft Go (2015)
  • The Witness (2016)
  • Firewatch (2016)
  • No Man's Sky (2016)
  • Overwatch (2016)
  • Pokémon GO (2016)
  • Fortnite (2017)
  • Sea of Thieves (2018)
  • Detroit: Become Human (2018)
  • Mini Motorways (2019)
  • Control (2019)
  • Mosaic (2019)
  • Fall Guys (2020)

Movies[]

  • Her (2013)
  • Ex Machina (2014)
  • Anon (2018)

Web Series[]

  • Battle For Dream Island
    • Battle For BFDI (2017-2021)
    • Battle For Dream Island: The Power of Two (2021-present)
  • Hanazuki: Full of Treasures (2017-2019)
  • The Infographics Show (2011)
  • Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell (2013)
  • ONE. (2020-2022)

YouTube Channels[]

  • Crash Course
  • Marques Brownlee

TV Shows[]

  • Squid Game (2021)

Technology[]

  • Windows Phone 7, 8.1 and 10 Mobile (2010-2018)
  • Windows 8 (2012)
  • Windows 8.1 (2013)
  • iOS 7-17 (2013-Present)
  • Nintendo 2DS (2013)
  • New Nintendo 3DS (2014-2015)
  • PlayStation 4 (2013-2017)
  • Xbox One (2013-2019)
  • Mac OS X 10.10-10.15 (2014-2019)
  • Android 5.0-13.0 (2014-Today)
  • Windows 10 (2015)
  • New Nintendo 2DS XL (2017)
  • Nintendo Switch (2017-2021)
  • Xbox Series S/X (2020-2023)
  • PlayStation 5 (2020)
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