Flat Design

Flat Design is an everlasting trend, which focuses on simple, elegant shapes. After the release of iOS7 and the “mobile revolution,” it gained popularity, but its origin can be traced back to Bauhaus Graphic Design.

Cover collection in Bauhaus Style.
Cover collection in Bauhaus Style

Image source: bauhaus-style (freepik.com)

The Origin of Flat Design

Bauhaus and Swiss Style are the starting points of flat design, as these movements believed that the form follows the function. Thus, resulting in a design movement based on simplicity and functionality without useless features. In fact, Swiss Style and flat design share many characteristics including:

  • Composition based on grids
  • Clean use of typography
  • Importance of visual hierarchy

These are the characteristics that influenced logo design, and in many cases, just reuse old logos readopted for modern devices and media.

Poster for the Bauhausaustellung (1923).
Poster for the Bauhausaustellung (1923)

Image source: Bauhaus – Wikipedia

Flat Design and UI

The new communication via social media requires a brand to refresh and redesign its identity. This necessity of simplicity caused by digital supports and influenced contemporary evolution in visual design. After the release of Windows 8 in 2012 by Microsoft, Apple presented the new iOS 7 User Interface in 2013, refreshing the glassy and 3D style of the past versions in a flat and simple interface. Apple, as the world leader in the mobile market, set a standard, and digital communication adapted over the years. The new “old” Flat design trend perfectly matched the needs of mobile and apps revolution, by getting rid of any unuseful effect or “ornament” that caused longer and heavier downloads. This is just like Adolf Loos did with Architecture in his essay “Ornament and Crime.”

Design differences between iOS 6 and iOS 7.
Design differences between iOS 6 and iOS 7

Image source:Home screen iOS6 | Flickr, iOS 7 Beta 1 | Flickr, Author: Jacob van Balen

Flat Design and Automotive

Flat design has influenced many sectors, from tech to fashion, conditioning UI and logos. Talking about logos, automotive industry lived a two-dimensional revolution during recent years. Starting with Mini in 2015, Audi and Citroen in 2016, Toyota and Volkswagen in 2019, and Nissan and BMW in 2020, all these important brands have redesigned their logos with a 2D style. Recently, even Renault and Peugeot have presented their new logos, with a flat style too.

Some examples of new flat logos of popular car brands.
Some examples of new flat logos of popular car brands

Image source: (dezeen.com), Author:Natashah Hitti

Simply a Trend?

Dan Beckett, Toyota Lead Designer, explained better the reasons behind this evolution in logo design,”With the advent of digital brand touchpoints and especially small mobile screens, all those fiddly bevels and gradients meant the logos became little gray smudges, indistinguishable from one another.”

Dan Beckett, Toyota Lead Designer.
Dan Beckett, Toyota Lead Designer

Image source: About — Dan Beckett

Case Study: the Peugeot logo redesign

Peugeot is a good example of old logos reused for modern visual identity. In fact, this new version removes the lion’s body after almost 50 years, focusing the attention on the head, represented in the classic left side, which resembles the older Peugeot’s 1960 logo. The new version aims to give the carmaker a new look that is more centered on electric technology, and even more sporty.

New communication campaign by Peugeot.
New communication campaign by Peugeot

Image source: Peugeot.uk

Info source:
Most impactful Car Rebranding Logos – Pointbleu Branding Agency (pointbleudesign.com),

Peugeot removes lion’s body from logo for first time in almost 50 years (dezeen.com),

Why are Automotive Brands joining the ‘Flat Logo’ design party? (rhinogroup.co.uk)

The History of Flat Design Patterns in Mobile | Dropsource – Full Stack Mobile Development Agency

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