Of course, while the shifting trend had long been apparent to trade insiders – which prompted our much-feted iOS7 prediction video last year (and our design predictions, pictured above) – those in the know had long sensed the need for a looming change.
“I think the smaller interfaces of mobile devices gave us the opportunity to reconsider how the user would use the device, and as apps became more sophisticated and the interfaces more rich, complicated and advanced we needed to make better use of the available space – to allow for decent tap areas for instance.
“Skeuomorphism, with all it embellishments, just got in the way and cluttered up the increasingly limited real estate.
“But I don’t think the public really know or care about any of that. I think the public only really care when the design is difficult to use. To the public, who don’t see the cause of the changes, it probably is perceived as a trend,” he says.
Of course every action has an equal and opposite reaction – and this seems to be particularly true in the design world. So if flat is a direct reaction to the excesses of skeumorphism, then surely we’re headed for something new within the next 12 months?
“I’ve seen lots of flat design backlash articles and blog posts. Some of them are saying ‘yeah flat design is better than skeuomorphism but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” says Ian.
“But I think, overall, flat design is more than a design fad. I think it needed to happen just because digital applications left their 3D physical versions behind.”
“With design there are always trends and flat design certainly is flavour of the month for sure – and yes, it will be overused and taken too far but it will soften and it will find a balance.”