Five Ways Flat Web Design Differs From Material Web Design

At Integrated Solutions, we know our customers have many choices and factors to consider when it comes to optimal web design. One of the most common concerns we address is the difference between flat and material web design, as well as determining which of the two systems works best for our customers’ purposes. The reality is that both systems have their place depending on what is being built, but have several subtle distinctions that set them apart. Here are five ways material and flat web designs differ.

Material Design is More Robust Than Flat Design

One of the biggest distinctions between flat and material design is the use of the Z-axis. Material design seeks to merge the digital and real worlds with multidimensional integration. Although it may look quite similar to flat design aesthetically, material actually takes design one step further by using the Z-axis.

Material Design is More Responsive

Another important advantage in material web design is superior responsiveness. Material design seeks to react to the user’s action much like the ebb and flow of normal human conversation in the real word, while flat is more acclimated to black and white, digital interaction. Enhanced communication abilities give material design an added edge.

Flat Design is Easier and Faster Than Material

Because material design is more complex than flat design, it’s also much more time-consuming and complicated to develop. Flat design is generally easier to implement and also typically loads much faster than material. For this reason, flat design works very well for simplistic needs or purposes. If you’re building a complex system, however, it’s often well worth the time commitment and investment to develop a material design.

Flat Design is Better for Function

Unlike material, flat design doesn’t rely on skeuomorphisms. Before flat design came along, skeuomorphism was a leading trend in web design. The problem with skeuomorphism alone is that the system often produces overly realistic results that are just too much for modern devices to handle, especially mobile phones and tablets. Flat design ditches these complexities and emphasis on realistic aesthetics in order to hone in on performance and functionality. Some argue that a flat system is design in its simplest, purest form.

Skeuomorphisms Meet Physics in Material Design

Skeuomorphisms aren’t totally obsolete. In fact, material design builds upon what was started by the once popular design by integrating physics and a clean aesthetic into the equation. The result is a clean, simplified version of reality that imitates how things work in the real world.

Although material web design and flat web design have several important distinctions, both work well and produce outstanding results depending on what’s being built.

Scott Cain

As Chief Marketing Officer, Scott oversees all digital marketing strategy and implementation.

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