Pros and Cons of Material Design Vs Flat UI Design

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A design is an integral part of any application and being the front end it must be attractive as well as functional. Design styles in recent years have seen a tremendous growth and change to lure in user’s and helps them interact better with the application at the same time. The two major aspects of Design are Flat and Material Design. While the material design is he hot new thing on the market, flat design is the veteran design based on a particular set of guidelines. However, can one really pick on one type of design from another? Is Material design inherently better than flat design for certain requirements?

To help you understand better and figure out the more preferred design practices here’s a detailed explanation of material and flat designs.

Flat Design

Flat Design basically works with the very fundamentals of design which rules out the choices of creating an illusion of three-dimensional using drop shadow designs, gradients, and textures. Flat design primarily focuses on typography, icons and color schemes. The straightforward and crisp techniques used in flat design guides the users intuitively through the application speeding up the load time of the same.


  • It reduces the load time by streamlining the design avoiding any unnecessary graphical and animated elements.
  • Flat designs are very easy to be adopted in responsive web app user interface design.
  • Simplified design makes the site faster and enhances reader’s progression through the content.


  • Flat designs are however limited to simple colors and icons for designing.
  • The ubiquity can sometimes make it hard for the flat designed websites or apps to look original and less of generic.
  • It rules out the possibility of using skeuomorphic elements in the design.

Material Design

Material Design, on the other hand, uses Skeuomorphic elements to guide the user through complex cues and processes. Skeuomorphism refers to imitating the real physical world in the design to help the users connect with it on a deeper level. However, skeuomorphism does affect the functionality as it solely works on making the buttons look like the real world knobs. Material Design implements Skeuomorphism using layers of drop shadows, bevel, and animations.


  • Material Design implements 3D designs which make the applications easier to interact with for the users.
  • Material Design, unlike flat design, comes in with a lot of details and specific set of guidelines where guesswork is not an option.
  • Animations are supported which are attractive and capture user’s attention. Also material designs provide a unified experience across devices aiding in subtle branding.


  • For implementing Material Design Google’s guidelines need to be followed as it is deeply involved with Google.
  • All systems cannot pull off the frame rates for animations which hinder usability along with user experience.
  • Heavily layered designs tend to make the application slow taking more load time which is least recommended to retain users.

Boiling all of this down to a conclusion we can say that Flat Designs are more practical and conceivable where Material Designs are the ‘fancy shiny new thing’ which must be implemented along with the flat design combining the best of both worlds when necessary.




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