|*Image above is from the redesigned South Haven Speakers Series website in which I used a combination of flat design with some Skeuomorphic design elements. I added drop shadows to text over the lighthouse image, a Skeuomorphic design element, to separate the text from the background.
Design techniques is the topic for this Tips & Tricks eNewsletter.
Note: I use flat design mostly these days, and actually have always leaned in that direction. Even before they ever said the words flat design, I think I was doing it.
1) Material Design: Developed by Google, (code-named Quantum Paper) is a design language developed in 2014 by Google. Expanding upon the "card" motifs that debuted in Google Now, Material Design makes more liberal use of grid-based layouts, responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects such as lighting and shadows. Very mobile-friendly.
2) Flat design is a style of web design without any stylistic elements that give the illusion of three dimensions (such as excessive use of drop shadows, gradients or textures) and is focused on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography and flat colors.
3) Minimalist design has been described as design at its most basic, stripped of superfluous elements, colors, shapes and textures. Its purpose is to make the content stand out and be the focal point. From a visual standpoint, minimalist design is meant to be calming and to bring the mind down to the basics.
4) Realistic design is still with us, but has been flattened out a bit by the new design trends above. Some think that realistic design helped assist our minds with the transition between actual reality and digital reality. Also called Skeuomorphic design, in the web design world, skeuomorphism refers to the look of a graphical interface that imitates, as much as possible, a real life element.
On the left skeuomorphic design, on the right flat design.