Why Flat Design Is the Latest Trend in Logo Design

In the design world, there are always trends that come and go. Some trends will turn out to be a flash in the pan while others have a longer and more profound impact. One trend that has been raising eyebrows in a positive way is flat design, which has been increasingly seen in everything from logo design to web design, as of late.

How would one characterize flat design? According to Wikipedia, it’s a design aesthetic that espouses minimalism and removes any impression of a 3D effect. For instance, you won’t see any drop shadows, textures or gradients in flat design because all three stylistic choices give the impression of depth. There’s even one website entirely devoted to showcasing flat design in all its glory.

Flat design is normally juxtaposed with skeuomorphism, which is the design aesthetic that promoted the prominent use of 3D in design. Apple used to be a huge proponent of skeuomorphism, but after Steve Jobs’ death, the company rejected skeuomorphism and started to embrace a flatter design for its well-known products.

We explore in greater detail why flat design is so hot right now.

Prominent Brands Switching to Flat Design

Apple is an example of a huge tech company that was well ahead of the flat design trend that’s taking the logo world by storm right now. Its current logo, which satisfies all of the requirements for a design to be flat, has been around since 1999. However, the company has until recently embraced skeuomorphism, which explains why so many Apple buttons and icons in the company’s products and website were in 3D.

After last year’s unveiling of iOS 7, it became clear that the company shifted more committedly to flat design than ever before in its entire history. It did so just at the right time, when this design aesthetic was just taking off. Still, it has to be pointed out that Apple’s shift to a flat design is more gradual instead of full-scale. For example, the icons and buttons of iOS 7 simply look flatter than any other Apple user interface of the past; technically, they’re still not 100% flat…but it’s a work in progress!

iOS 7 Apple

Why Is Flat Design Seemingly Taking Over?

One reason a trend begins to gain steam and pop up in increasing places is because of coverage. Flat design has been covered in many outlets over the past few years, from Forbes talking about Apple’s embrace of the design approach to Entrepreneur devoting a Halloween article to discuss the perks of flat design. As more people get exposed to this design philosophy, it begins to resonate with them.

But that doesn’t account for all of flat design’s “takeover” effect. The wheels were set in motion several years ago already. Take Microsoft. In 2006, it experimented with flat design with its now-defunct Zune media player; in 2010, it applied flat design in earnest to its Windows Phone 7. Naturally, the availability of these products to its customer base, albeit for a limited time, helped to make flat design take root in the collective consciousness of its customers.

That increased exposure to flat design also translated to more and more brands and companies adopting flat design for their own logos. Tech and Internet companies have been, unsurprisingly, among those most open to going flat.

Take Facebook and what it’s done with its logo design for its buttons and icons. As chronicled in this helpful comparison, Facebook, just last year, switched to flat design for the logo graphics of its various pages. Whereas pages for developers, privacy, security, universities and mobile once sported a noticeable, 3D look, they now proudly show a flat design aesthetic.

Google also jumped aboard the flat approach for its logos. For example, this screenshot of Google Now, the company’s “intelligent personal assistant,” clearly shows a flat design aesthetic.

Google Flat Design Logo

Various Advantages of Flat Design for Logos

One prominent reason that flat design has expanded in influence is because of the numerous design advantages that it brings. These advantages are quite diverse and offer purely stylistic, but also very practical pros. Let’s look at every flat design advantage in closer detail:

Cleanliness – Flat design, because of its emphasis on minimalism and simplicity, creates a clean and definitively uncluttered look. An uncluttered look is useful in logo design because it communicates what your brand’s about so much more effectively than a complicated logo. In turn, this helps your customers connect much more readily with your business.

Better on Mobile – Simply put, flat design is a lot more mobile-friendly than any other design approach, particularly skeuomorphism. This is something of a paradox because buttons and icons that were in 3D were popular in the early days of mobile phones. However, as time has worn on and developers have understood more about designing and coding, it was discovered that flat design scaled a lot more seamlessly to mobile than skeuomorphism ever did. In fact, even Digg’s design director admits that, in part, the thirst for flat design is being driven by the need to be mobile-friendly.

Bold and Vibrant Colors Make an Impression  One of the hallmarks of any flat design logo that you’ll notice is its emphasis on bold and striking colors. This is not just some stylistic choice; it’s also driven by need. Since flat design removes elements like drop shadows and gradients to indicate a 3D effect, designers have to use another method to indicate where one border or line ends and where another begins. By increasing contrast by way of loud colors, flat design is able to do just that.


Flat design has already made a huge impact, and it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. What initially began as a quiet move by Microsoft has now exploded to where more and more tech and Internet companies are jumping aboard the flat design bandwagon. It’s also interesting to note that many old-economy companies have already been sporting a flat design aesthetic in their logos for quite some time.

If you think that your brand can benefit from all of these advantages, then you should think hard about getting a talented professional to design a logo for your business that embraces this flat aesthetic. After all, it’s hip and trendy to sport this design on your logo graphics, right now. While trends don’t last forever, it’s safe to say that flat design still has a long way to go.


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