Flat Design or Skeuomorphic Design? Strategies for Business Websites

Flat Design or Skeuomorphic Design for Business Websites - The Choice is Yours

Flat vs skeuomorphic design

Flat vs skeuomorphic design - Credit Thrive Themes

What is Flat Design?

Flat Design is the technique used to design  websites and their image artifacts without trying to make them look as though they come from the real world.  You can see in the image above that the Flat Design on the right hand side literally does look flat. The original design (on the left)  is a beautiful 3D skeuomorphic construct with color gradients that looks like a porcelain ball. Which do you prefer? Which ones will impress your customers more? What would the adoption of this technique mean for your business website?

What are the features of a Flat Website Design?

flat design example


The above image shows a quintessential example of flat or minimalistic website design (Please take a look - it has many interesting features). These are the key features:

  • The only 3D or Shadowed elements are the buttons
  • All the images are simple, flat PNG files
  • The carefully selected colors (see below) have no gradients applied
  • There are no 'background images' (such as we have on our own landing page

What are the benefits of Flat Website Design?


The biggest single benefit of Flat Website Design has to be speed. The simplified construction contains a lot less information than complex pages, but of course there is a price to pay (see below).


A Flat website design website is much easier to maintain and change than a normal/complex/realistic skeuomorphic design.  It has strong appeal to people who enjoy minimalism.

What is the Downside of Flat or Minimalistic Website Design?

These designs, if not precisely crafted with attention to detail, color choices and User Interface (UI) can look amateurish, old-fashioned and cheap. they have limited applications in websites that sell products, but can still be used to good effect with a balanced approach.

Taking a Balanced Design Approach to Business Websites

When our customer decides to use this specifically minimalist website design approach, we do the following:

  • Select a color scheme that matches the brand - use complimentary colors (see below)
  • Design all user interactive artifacts such as buttons with shadow and other features to make the stand off the page
  • Match the color scheme to the logo
  • Use the same flat, minimalistic design throughout the website, but compromise where real images are needed - this will make them stand out beautifully. 

The Role of Color in Website Design

Color is always important in web design, but in flat design, it's downright critical! That's because the low complexity of flat design focuses the mind on color as a key factor:

"One benefit of using complementary colors is that the opposing color naturally draws the viewer's eye. So, if you want to really make a CTA (Call to Action) pop and capture the reader's attention, you should use the opposite color on the color wheel for the CTA. " - Brand Dignity

Color Wheel

Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. You can learn more about the use of colors on this cool site.


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About the author 

Rowley Keith MBA BSc (Hons)

A qualified business manager and design engineer with many years of real-world business experience.

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