Flat is the New Black: Simplify eCommerce with Flat Design

By Cherene Etemadi

In a matter of a few months, flat design has been making an appearance on most, if not all, ecommerce sites in some way, shape or form. Flat design is essentially a minimalist approach that takes on the foundational components that can include color, shape, and typography to project meaning. It’s no surprise that we’re seeing the flat look just about everywhere. Apple, Microsoft, and even Google have made the switch to this simplified style. The trend continues to grow, but why? What draws us toward flat design?
Why Flat Design?
This minimalist style avoids the use of embellishments and fluff, and instead relies on the most foundational elements to convey a message. The purpose of the switch from skeuomorphic design, a 3D look, to flat design can be accredited to the simple layout that allows a designer to place more functionality toward a project without all the clutter of an over-designed look.Since flat designs choose to remove all the embellishments of a design, what is normally left on the page are the main components. The style normally relies on shape, color and typography, but sometimes makes way for drop shadow. Colors are normally brighter and bolder in flat design to create a contrast against the other elements, making the new interface a very organic experience for users. Lastly, the use of fonts and shapes to define a tone are made very distinct, which allows for a stronger presence of a brand.Overall, the simple look presents users the ability to scan an ecommerce site much quicker, and limits the options that can encourage a deeper connection with a product.
Downsides of Simple
Despite all of the possibilities with flat design, there are always some drawbacks. There have been countless times where companies jump right on the bandwagon of a trend and end up having to switch back to the original design. So to avoid wasting your time and money, consider who your users are and whether a new look might leave them frustrated by the switch. If something changes dramatically and users can’t find a button that leads to a checkout, for instance, this alone can cause many problems such as losing brand loyalty, product sales, and ecommerce traffic.


What’s Next?

While there are many cult followers of the flat design look, always remember that it is not the end-all solution to every design problem. With digital interfaces growing exponentially every day, there is a need for cleaner, more user-friendly designs that will help both the company and then consumer. It’s up to you to determine which style is the best fit for your brand and customers.

Cherene Etemadi is the marketing manager at EYEMAGINE, an interactive ecommerce agency that provides online transformations for some of the world’s largest brands. As eCommerce innovators, Cherene and the team at EYEMAGINE are dedicated to increasing profitability for ecommerce merchants through web design, development, and support. Follow EYEMAGINE on Twitter and Facebook. 



  1. Posted January 31, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    An article about nothing and the theme is not disclosed. Flat design has serious problems with usability and conversion (especially on transactional websites) mostly connected with the lack of affordances (flat buttons and entry fields) and inability of users to understand what is clickable and what is not.

    • ECOTTAdmin ECOTTAdmin
      Posted February 5, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink


      Thanks for sharing your opinion on the post. Totally agree that Flat Design has some significant drawbacks, but who knows how companies will utilize the design in the future.

One Trackback

  • […] It’s no surprise that we’re seeing the flat design look just about everywhere. Apple, Microsoft, and even Google have made the switch to this simplified web design style. The trend continues to grow, but why? What draws user experience designers towards using flat design for eCommerce websites? Read more in our article on Ecommerce Outtakes. […]

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