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8 years ago from Ivan Bozic, Founder @ arsfutura.com
I do disagree with the piece on this particular point as well. I don't believe "Flat Design" is inherently poor design, nor easy to execute well.
Unfortunately, it is indeed being executed poorly by many, the same way that skeumorphism was executed poorly.
However, I think the spirit of the series is important. Designers need not be emasculated by this attack on their prototyping tools (yes, Photoshop/Sketch is a prototyping tool) or lack of computer science degrees. If designers are being pushed out by alleged unicorns who can install Bootstrap and change a sass variable or two, then design is really going to suffer.
Not necessarily, I think it's just time for designers to learn some new tools.
Seriously what about when photoshop came around and some older designer had to learn how to use this weird digital tool?
Did design suffer? Every time there's a threat to the status quo the immediate reaction is to say "this is bad, we will lose something" and we might but we might also gain something.
It's kind of pointless to fight it anyway.
Totally, it's hard to discuss this without stating all the variables up front. I've been at this for a little over a decade and every new year brings a few new twists to consider and new approaches & tool sets.
Programming keeps getting more sophisticated, and all companies have different approaches. I think it's pretty unfair for great designers to be completely burdened with dual specializations to be considered a "real" designer, and frankly I've seen plenty of haphazard "code first" products that don't do the industry or the consumer any favors.
Trends aren't so bothersome in the way that fashion changes too, but everything has to stay fundamentally utilitarian.
Caveats galore, but, I think this is more than just "flat is ugly and cheap and easy" but rather just more growing pains along the way to somewhere.
Yes I agree that it's kind of crazy to expect a person to both be a developer and a designer.
The code first approach doesn't' always work, but creating mocks in Photoshop or Sketch or whatever.. tens to be a waste of time as well, since these mocks are just images and can't really be purposeful after that. Some larger companies can afford that, many startups or small agencies cannot.
Plenty of tools are meeting in the middle, there are tools to generate HTML, there are tools to design responsively (which is a nightmare in static tools) and there are tools that take mocks and turn them into prototypes.
If designers are being pushed out by alleged unicorns who can install Bootstrap and change a sass variable or two, then design is really going to suffer.
Then designers need to stand up, fight harder and show the value of design, rather than just bemoaning the onrush of progress (with articles like this). Huge swathes of jobs and industries have been replaced and automated over the years and it looks like design will be no different.
Fighting against the waves will not work, designers need to change, not the world around them. It's not pleasant to see an attack on your industry, but a designer should be more than the tools they use and should be able to find outlets for their skills if they truly to have something to offer.
Well of course I agree, designers should stay at the table and help shape the future of the web, as they've always done. However, I think it's pretty clear which products look like they've come off of a framework assembly line, and that speaks volumes already.
Design is obviously a lot more than aesthetics or trends, so as I mentioned before, I'm not as concerned about that aspect, nor do I think design is some industry silo that can simply be turned on or off. Everything is designed, good or bad.
I'll go so far as saying that this essay or those like it aren't really a business model or mission statement to rally around, and maybe the author would agree. I think it reads more like manifesto of sorts, a few good points, some messy ones, and some that are just speculation. And that's really okay, if it gets us talking and thinking.
Where the design community meets.
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I want to break down this post into actual arguments that might have some value, I might be wrong but here's what I read:
-We're doing responsive design
-There is a design aesthetic called flat design, it's trendy.
-Responsive design tends to be flat
-Flat design doesn't allow products to stand apart(visually)
-Flat design is illegible
If you stop and evaluate each of these claims on it's own merit you'll quickly realize that most of them are not very strong.
Flat design isn't some new hot trend, it's just using type, shape and color to design.
Did the "digital product design"world fall in love with this minimalism? Yes, but it's nothing new in the arts or design in general.
Is it illegible? Hardly, if anything all the examples shown were more legible.
Does it affect branding? Maybe so, but not really a "flat design" problem. More likely an issue with the designer's choices. And at that we have to wonder if this really affected how users perceive the brand or the business.
Getting lost in the semantics of wether something is flat or skeumorphic is completely beside the point. If you want to go to the next level of your design game why not stop thinking in these simplistic terms and focus on actual problems?