“Flat and “material” design have been the two buzz words of 2015.

Apple is host to flat design which in it’s most rigid form excludes all shadows, gradients and bevels. Layers exist on the x and y axis and do not create a feeling of foreground or background.

Google launched material design as its style language which hints at the z axis. While still predominantly flat in appearance, subtle effects like shadows and texture are used to create a layered existence of content rather than to create a sense of depth around an individual element.

Good design means creating something that is entirely functional and simple to use. This can sometimes be compromised by sticking rigidly to just one design language in order to stick with the trend. Every app is individual and should be treated so.

2016 will see a combination of characteristics of both design languages used. When they work with, rather than overshadow the basic principles of good design,the potential to meet each brief with a unique and bespoke design is ten fold. Here are some of the main characteristics we intend to move into 2016 with:

Hierarchy – The hierarchy of elements on a screen is always captained by the main call-to-action. Where to tap and what will happen when you tap should be glaringly obvious on every screen. The hierarchy of functions within the app is best divided into 2 main teams. The home screen houses the definitive function of the app. Somewhere accessible from the home screen will house the secondary functions. The uninterested user will experience the main functions from the home screen. The interested user will investigate further and discover the hidden gems within the app.

Minimalism – The beauty in intentional blank space is that it creates hierarchy, meaning and focus. It allows the carefully chosen images, fonts, type and icons to speak clearly and concisely.

Discovery – Ghost buttons that exist only when unlocked by a user gesture leave the interface uncluttered and lend the element of surprise, creating a fun and engaging user experience. Never to be applied to the main call-to-action buttons but rather to the bonus features within the app.

Typography – One clear unadorned font and a bit of fun with the font weights and sizes is often more than enough the make your text both legible and pretty. Minor use of the “title” font can add a unobtrusive touch of branding. The main purpose of your type is to ease interactivity and simply hint at branding.

Colour – be fearless in your choice of colours. If you choose 2/3 main colours, feel free to branch off with hues to achieve the impression of a broader palette. Be brave and create a colour palette with 6/8 bright and vibrant colours but if you do, let the colours speak and keep typography and icons somewhat more respectful!

Also published on Medium.