The evolution of the flat icon design, to the ‘Almost Flat’ Icon Style
OK, it’s time to nail my colours to the wall. Sorry, but I don’t like the flat icon style. I think they are boring and bland. When they first started appearing and even worse started becoming popular, I did get a little worried about where things were headed.
Sorry, but I don’t like the flat icon style
Don’t get me wrong, there are some great artists out there who can make some very clever and beautiful shapes and designs in monochrome; it is just a style that doesn’t do it for me.
Fortunately, the ‘Metro‘ trend has evolved quite a bit over the last 12 months or so and ‘completely flat’ seems to have given ground to ‘almost flat’. And that, my friends, is in my book at least, jolly good news. Almost Flat Icons are still very clean and simple but often use gorgeous muted tones and tiny, subtle 3D embellishments and shadows to give them extra punch and lift.
I have to say I really love ‘Almost Flat’; it is a natural homogenising of the extremes of photo-realistic 3D and super stark Metro styles. It is like the pendulum of icon design swung first one way, then the other and now oscillates in every diminishing arcs over this new area icon designers seem keen to explore.
These are exciting times for Icon Designers
These are exciting times for icon designers and user interface designers alike, the trends have spread into operating systems, websites and other media. It is almost like a whole new palette of colours have been unearthed and a new slightly more feminine look is in.
Anyway enough ramble. Here are some of my favourite Almost Flat Icon Designs. Enjoy!
Want a flat app icon that converts?
Your app icon needs to stand out and tell your story
Need flat menu icons that engage?
Clean, flat menu icons make your software more intuitive
You could easily argue some of these icon designs are bordeline 3D or borderline flat but I think that is OK. These are all interesting icon sets, flat by nature but in my opinion have a little something that lift them in to the realm I call ‘Almost Flat’.
Each of the artists above are visible on Dribbble.