Twas the Night Before…Flat Design

Happy Holidays All.

A few years back, 2007 to be exact, Christmas Eve coincided with one of my regularly scheduled days for a blog post. Figuring not many people would be paying attention, I decided to have a little bit of fun with the holiday poem A Visit from St. Nocholas.

Snowy tree top

That year I shared shared Twas the Night Before Google. Two years ago when day and holiday coincided once again, I reworked the poem one more time and shared Twas the Night Before Responsive.

It’s still twas the night before local time so I think I’m not too late with this year’s addition. My versions are hardly great poetry, but they are fun to write and hopefully fun to read. I hope you enjoy

Twas the night…

before flat design, and all through the sites,
Every element was skeuomorphic, it was all play of light;
All buttons were crafted with painstaking care,
Shadows, reflections, and gradients everywhere;

The leather was stitched all tight to the screen;
Metal textured with rust would still have a sheen
Designers all over, with nary a murmur,
Had started to think about how to go further;

When out on the web a new trend all a sudden,
Showed me something different; is that a flat button?
Away on the internet, I searched so I'd know,
What is this new look without all the faux.

No bevels embossed, no depth of any kind,
Where's all the realism, there's none I can find.
I see dots, shapes, and lines and plenty of space;
Color, type, and hierarchy, oh yeah, this is great.

With a flatness to guide me I quickly changed gears,
I'll remove detail from my site and everyone will cheer.
Rushing to my desk and soon opening Coda,
I connected to my site and reached for a soda.

Now Bootstrap! Now Gumby! Now Flatby and Pure!
On Foundation! On Bootflat! On UI kits galore!
Let's do this quickly; let's do this in haste,
Pass me that framework there's no time to waste.

A bookshelf gone here, torn paper removed there,
The depth has gone away, though I've no idea where.
Get rid of the grunge and the candy so lickable,
Seriously, why did we think a website was edible?

Then in a flash and for everyone to see,
I had to look again, my eyes weren't deceived;
Is that really be Microsoft taking the lead?
Indeed it was Microsoft, Indeed, oh indeed.

Windows 8 there it was, grids end to end,
And colors and space, disbelief must suspend;
With all that we knew about design until now,
How could it be Redmond that was showing us how?

Detail and dimension removed from the fold,
We all stopped to think that our sites must look old.
Strip out the watercolor, push pins and tabs,
paper clips, sticky notes and all the price tags.

With so much removed what will we add?
Simple shapes, solid icons, our designs we will clad,
Large clickable buttons no one knows to click,
And it'll all lay on top of a large background pic.

My palette now filled with desaturated color,
My canvas is becoming ever so paler.
Go big, go bigger, there's no in-between
Big giant type all over my screen,

I spoke not a word as I worked a design,
The return to basics was feeling sublime;
But out of the corner my eye caught a vision,
What's that moving over there? How did it transition?

Depth will return, I promise you that,
some buttons already are not quite so flat.
It's just a trend I say as I turn out the light,
A new trend for all, and to all a good night!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

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