LBD Studios
Design is everything. Including what you don't see.



Concept Comparison: Flat Design VS Material Design

You might have heard the terms FLAT and MATERIAL when people talk about digital design, right? Well, these trends have been making waves in the design industry for quite some time now, so it has now became a part of the graphic arts language. However, most people – especially those who are not experts in design – aren’t able to distinguish the difference between the two. Most of the time, these are even mixed up. 

So, for those who are a bit confused between the concept of FLAT and MATERIAL designs, we hope this guide can shed some light.


What is FLAT?
FLAT design is a concept that doesn’t use any 3D effect. Every element included on a flat design appears as if they are all lying flat on a smooth surface. It is highly popularised by Apple, using it on most of their UI graphics.


While Apple started FLAT design, Google conceptualised MATERIAL design. They introduced it through the designs of their newer digital products. It is multi-dimentional and introduces depth to a FLAT design – that’s why designers consider MATERIAL design as an evolution of FLAT design.

While Google sets all the guidelines to the concept which seems to make it a proprietary design, anyone is free to use it for any purpose.

What are the differences?

There are three differences between FLAT and MATERIAL design.

1.       FLAT design is great for users who are accustomed to digital interaction; while material design raises it one step further by its ability to visually communicate to the user.

2.       FLAT design is single layer surface flat; while MATERIAL design has depth though it is perceived as aesthetically flat.

3.       And lastly, while both concepts are using the minimalist approach; but material design seems to combine reality to digital design.

Choosing between FLAT and MATERIAL concept, for digital design projects can be complicated. While there is no specific recipe for that perfect design, we hope that our short guide was able to help you. Remember that FLAT design leans more on achieving a clean and minimalist look, while MATERIAL design is derived from flat concept and was enhanced and developed to make it more intuitive.