Material Design Vs Flat Design

Material Design

Google’s material design is the buzzword among design and development professionals of today. The goal of material design is to improve the brand experiences of the consumers,  taking them one step ahead of flat design.

Material design offers a combination of flat and 3 dimensional which adds to the interactivity of the user experience.

One of core benefits of Google’s material design is the clear cut design guidelines for designers.

There are various ways in which designers can use the material design philosophy:

-Multiple elements can be stacked up for creating a unique design experience for the users

– Besides the layers, the designers can create a bold look for the users to get a pleasant overall experience

Material design is an innovative approach by google to come up with design principles that are completely unique from the earlier ones and guides on how the design on web and mobile should be.

Here are some of its key features:

  1. Movement and animation is an integral part of material design and this should be a part of real world situations
  2. The type and color in material design should be bold whereas the visuals are developed using the usual design techniques
  3. The fundamental feature of material design is that it’s as realistic as possible.
Material Design is Paper Based Design

The principles of paper based design are used in the concept of material design. Here are some of the key features:

  1. Paper can used for 2D as well as 3D designs while it can also be used for layered designs. Google’s material design principle follows this philosophy
  2. One can also use 2 pieces of paper placed on top of each other and add design to each.
  3. Similarly floating actions and tool-bars are used like there are being added to a piece of paper.

Google material design provides preset colors for each component of the application.

Interactivity Features


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Material design adds to how the app gets the users to interact with it.  It enhances the overall experience and entices the user to take action.

If we are trying to engage our user the benefits of responsive interaction are obvious. This requires giving serious consideration to every element of interaction.

Features like surface reaction, material response and radial action help the users to take action instantly and more regularly.

Material response – On touch, the user can generate new or transform existing material

Radial action – Add clarity to user input through visual reactions to user input

Here are some of the key advantages of material design:

  1. Material design combines the benefits of flat design with layered and 3 dimensional designs, adding experience and interactivity of the user.
  2. Material design comes with highly detailed set of design guidelines and principles that makes it simpler and faster to design, for the design community.
  3. Material design provides a similar experience across devices.
  4. The design form comes with a host of in-built features making the process of design much more simpler and designer-friendly.
Flat Design

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Flat design has essentially evolved from Skeuomorphism.  The concept basically means that things are shown the way they are in the real world. The challenge with this kind of design was that it was always constrained by digital usability.

Flat design came in as an evolution because it does away with the 3 dimensional feature of design. Flat design does focus on the appearance of the objects, but much lesser as compared to usability. Flat design enables web pages to load much faster and enhances their usability manifold.

Here are some key advantages of flat design:

  1. Flat design does away with unnecessary elements and improves the speed of web pages
  2. Flatter elements ensure ease of usability and readability of the web page
  3. Flat design also enables the designers to design the pages easily and at a faster pace.
  4. Flat design helps in easy conversion to responsive

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About the Author

Mantra is a Business Consultant & strategic thought leader bridging the divide between technology and client satisfaction. With 12 years of knowledge, innovation and hands-on experience in providing consultations to Startups, ISVs & Agencies who need dedicated development & technology partners. He has also lead to the delivery of countless successful projects.
Blogging is his passion & he shares his expertise here through ValueCoders.. Follow him on Twitter & LinkedIn

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