Goodbye Skeuomorphism, Hello Flat and Material Design

October 21, 2015

hello flat design illustration


Like all things in life, trends come and go. The same goes for website designs. Today, design trends are moving away from skeuomorphism design. Instead, we're moving towards flat and material design concepts. When it comes to your insurance website design, it's important you don't get left behind.

As a designer, it's easy to spot the difference between these designs. But, as an agent, it may be a bit more difficult. So I'm breaking the design concepts down and giving you some visuals. Let's dive in.

What is Skeuomorphism?
Skeuomorphism design gives website elements a realistic look. It makes clickable elements easier to identify on a website. Elements like buttons usually have a 3D appearance with gradients, shadows and techniques. This helps imitate the look of a button in the physical world. Skeuomorphism design became popular when Apple devices used it.

Flat Design
Flat design made a big entrance with the introduction of Windows 8 Metro style. This minimalistic and user-centric design approach brought users a freshness and simplicity. Something skeuomorphism was lacking.

Flat design is a design stripped of all 3D elements. Gradients, shadows, glows and the like are completely non-existent in this style. All elements in flat design appear to lie on a single flat surface. The elements are clearer and easier to comprehend.

People have become more familiar with the basic placement and orientation of websites. So now we don't need 3D buttons to know something is clickable. With flat design, buttons are usually bright with contrasting colors like the examples below.

flat design

flat design

Material Design
Material design is flat design but with subtle 3D details. Google created material design and maintains full control over it. Any changes to the style must be approved by them. However, you can use material design without attributing Google.

This style maintains the simplicity of flat design while adding a bit of skeuomorphism. There are two main differences between flat and material design. The first is the use of the z-axis. The second is the use of layers and animations in a realistic way. The layers in material designs are like stacking numerous pieces of paper, then reshaping and folding them. Google designers created paper models to determine how the layering and shadows would work.

Check out the examples below. These subtle, yet crucial details are what set material design apart from flat design.

material design

To sum it up, let's take a look at all three design styles side by side:


While some designers still use skeuomorphism, it is making its way out of the industry. Designers are replacing its noisy design elements with the simplistic, more user-friendly elements of flat and material design.

In general, less visual noise makes flat and material designs easier to comprehend. These design styles are also more soothing to the eyes. Naturally, these styles are dominating insurance website designs and the greater web design world.

Do you have older design elements like skeuomorphism on your insurance website? Contact us to get a free consultation. We'll show you how a design update can enhance your website's user experience.

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