Although they look similar, material and flat web design aren’t the same thing. Yes, both are influenced by minimalism, and for more on that, check out his post: The Minimalistic Undertones in Website Design.
Material design, however, adds a little depth to the equation, and while it may not sound like a big difference, we’ve been in website design in NY and NJ long enough to know that it’s worth paying attention to.
After all, Google coined the term “material” web design, and anything they’re exploring, internet marketers and SEO specialists need to be exploring as well.
How does material design differ from flat?
The two design styles do appear very similar, but there are some central differences, and it’s important to keep in mind that material design is basically an extension of flat, or the next step in its evolution.
First off, flat website design got its name because the whole objective is to strip away any three-dimensional elements like gradients, shadows, and textures so that anything on the page appears to be lying on a flat surface.
With flat design, the focus is on the relationships created between the typography, icons, and colors and on a simplified, efficient user experience.
And while material design appears flat, it does, in fact, make use of the Z-axis to create the appearance of depth using layers and shadows. It’s basically like a stack of papers that can each transform, expand, and divide rather than just a single sheet.
Why such a subtle change?
You may be wondering why Google thought it was even necessary to give a new name to a website design style so similar to one that already exists, being that both design styles are minimalistic in nature.
However, many believed that flat design had been taken to its limit as sites started getting a little carried away with the approach and ended up creating indiscernible, generic looking websites. So, material design emerged to help add a little depth and to bring some of that real-world feel back into web design.
On top of that, take it from us as longtime NY and NJ website design experts, it’s all about creating a uniform user experience across all different types of devices and platforms nowadays, and that’s one of the core objectives of material design.
Which one’s for you?
As far as choosing between material and flat web design for your site, it depends on what your goals are. For instance, if you’re looking to create a simple site that can be easily used on multiple devices, flat design may be your best bet.
If, on the other hand, you want to achieve a little more complexity and perhaps a little fanciness, or you’re planning on creating content for multiple platforms, material may be the way to go.
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