Flat Design vs. Material Design: Which is better?

Manish Sharma Manish Sharma , December 19, 2017 Flat Design vs. Material Design: Which is better?

The design is essentially a bait to attract the users in the web world. It is essentially a call-to-action in a sense. Most of the designers craft unique design to offer the optimal mobile app design solutions to customers. It is more about eye-catching digital canvas which entices the customers. When it comes to distinction and superiority comparison between flat and material design, there are various aspects to be considered. While both serve their own purpose but material design is getting more traction among the designer community involved in Android app development, over flat design which is going to remain the same in the year 2018.

Although the differences are not that significant as one expect but one can’t ignore these differences and mix the designs, one for the other. Flat design is an evergreen trend which will remain to stay and is among the top choice for established designers. However, Material design is breaking the pattern and the monotony and getting more popular every day. The question arises which one is better than the other and how are they different? For that to understand, we need to dwell deeper into the basics.


Flat Design

Flat design consists of basics in its best form. It keeps aside the various over stylistic options such as illusionary three-dimensionality along with drop shadows as well as textures and gradients and largely presses on the interplay of icons, colours as well as typography. It brings a fresh feel to the world of design. As people are wise enough to get hold of the elements of the design, they know about that three-dimensional button signifies for the button and even a simple rectangle depicts the call-to-action point.

This design is associated with raw functionality. It is essentially made to bring into the utilization of unique properties of the internet and take into the focus of needs of the user, all with a straightforward approach which keeps the usability quotient quite high. With its simple icons as well as compatible colour schemes, the users can easily distinguish and understand the purpose by simply looking at the colours and the images only. There is no requirement to create a copy of any form. It also increases the loading time and brings an attractive appearance both on low and high-resolution screens which leads to the better user experience. It provides gain to both users as well as the designers.

Flat design abides by the limitation of the screen and works accordingly and in sync. It only takes required designs and removes any extra animated and graphical elements which significantly reduces the loading time. It cuts down skeuomorphic elements which boost the content browsing process. It also deletes any vague design choices and hence enables quick site design. Flat design is simple as well as straightforward sites which are compatible and easily open in responsive mediums.

However, this system does limit the designer in colours as well as shapes along with iconography due to its simple approach. If it is taken out of proportion, all the efforts made will result in featureless, dull and ordinary appearing website which highly impacts user experience. Often, apps demand complex visual designs to allow the user to easily understand and get hold of the process. It is an essential part of Android app development. This is one of the significant flaws in flat design. Another noteworthy issue which is often faced is the lack of raised edges and drop shadows that make it difficult for the users to distinguish between the static vector graphics and clickable buttons. Due to a presence at every place, it creates a challenge in order to design a unique and original flat app. When it comes to innovation, flat design is quite outdated with respect to material design and your app will seem updated if you don’t make the modification sooner. This brings us to the topic of what material design is and how it is formidable and better alternative of flat design and why will it rock in 2018 while the flat design will see a downward trend.

Material Design

There has been an agreement among the experts about the flat design dynamics stating that simplicity of the system is way too much and it is completely governed by the basics. To mitigate and resolve this drawback, material design provided the solution. It consisted of layers feature which passed via numerous image editors and separated them via drop shadows, bevels and animation, additionally. It thrives on the ability of the user to easily understand the depth as well as the pace it in the right direction and extent.

Material design is a designed which was created by Google and set a major milestone in the world of design. It consists of unique features and elements, with the major one being the Z-axis presence. It adds some changes in skeuomorphism in flat design and hence results in sets of two-dimensional planes which hover over each other at a given fixed elevations.

Material design essentially follows a rich list of design principles and guidelines which considers various factors such as colour, usability, weight etc. Material design is sort of a framework which is reliable and duly crafter for the designs of futures which makes it being the emerging trend in 2018.

While overcoming plain style as well as flatness, it is made for multiple environments, greater adaptability along with various shapes. This all-in-one concept is steadily becoming a phenomenon and gaining immense popularity among the designers especially those involved in Android app development.

There are various added advantages of Material design. The three-dimensional setup results in making the programs more intuitive and interactive like the drop shadow points towards a given layer pattern. There is no requirement of guesswork since material design follows a detailed and fixed set of guidelines and principles based on design. In case you are looking for a responsive platform, like an Android app then material design is perfectly compatible across different devices which will further aid functionality as well as empower the brand. In case you wish to have animations then material design is the best-suited choice since it contains in-built elements which would have to made manually, otherwise.


When it comes to design principles in the context of material design, it impacts clarity to the elements functions. You will be easily able to distinguish different clickable elements from non-clickable elements along with buttons from decorative features. Such details are generally ignored and not mentioned outrightly in flat design. Users are often used to specific functional design elements for some time, and they don’t require any sort of realistic quotations to know about the object’s working. Material design, on the other hand, has a greater scope in comparison since it uses the Z-axis. It unifies the digital as well as the real world together. Even though there exists some resemblance with the flat design in certain aesthetic terms, material design essentially adds a greater dimension to the design via Z-axis.

Another point that highlights the difference between the both is that material design is highly responsive. Material design easily flows with the actions of the users much like the pattern which is followed in the real world. In case of flat design, it is more reclined through black and white digital communication. Material design is superior due to its enhanced interaction.

However, flat design does have its added advantages when it comes to ease and speed. Due to the complexity it has, the material design does consume much time, and it is essentially quite complicated to develop. Flat design is smooth when it comes to implementation and has a significantly less loading time. However, in case you wish to have a complex as well as detailed system, then time and investment concerning material design is worth to consider.


Material design is quite superior to flat design. However, both work on same lines, that is, minimal and link but material design offers more functionalities and better user experience. When it comes to interfaces, it is essentially flat interfaces which are cut apart. Animation of material design has earned quite a praise over time, and it makes the design more user-centric which is essential for the Android app development to create apps which focus on users. One can use the aesthetics of both the designs to give an extra edge to the app through the material on a flat design.

Material design is innovative and opens up new avenues for future of designs. In case you wish to create apps which are more user-centric and offers better user experience, go for material design. Creating complex apps with effective technical control, material design should be the obvious pick. In case you wish to add motion graphics or animations and needs to implement complex features then material design should be the pick. In case you need decorations as well as aesthetic elements along with the animations then material design is the perfect option.

 With all these reasons, it is clear that Material design is going to rule in the year 2018 and flat design will get outdated in upcoming times. More app developers are going to choose material design for designing their apps to make it more user-centric, provide better user-experience, installing rich features and add animations to suit the growing requirements of aesthetically beautiful apps.

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