ASK DN: Anyone tired of seeing long shadows?

8 points 10 months ago from Casey C., designer. marketer. creator.

This trend of long, flat shadows is getting very old, very fast for me.

Anyone with me?

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28 comments

Eric R., Creative Director @ Design by Cosmic, Inc.

It's going to be hilarious in about 2 months for everyone who shamelessly jumped on the long shadow bandwagon. The worst is the recent articles floating around saying that flat is dead and longshadow is the new flat. Is this what our industry has become? Does anyone remember design is about solving problems?

20 points 10 months ago Reply
Michael Nino E., Product Designer, SoundCloud

Couldn't agree more!

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Kenneth J., UX Designer & Partner at ajukreizi.com

+1 on your comment. It is exactly what I've been thinking for a while now. Trends are distorting and skewing the essential goal of design, which is not making something look good, but solve a problem.

I love dribbble, but at times it feels like group masturbation for designers...

7 points 10 months ago Reply
Stephan J., Partner/Designer @newnow_

Nailed it Eric!

0 points 10 months ago Reply
James H. Edited 10 months ago

Agreed, most of it is coming from terrible blogs that border on spam though.

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Emily C., I design.

Five years ago, before Dribbble took over the design world and fresh interfaces became lost in a sea of copy cats and mindless designs, this would have been a really beautiful design aesthetic. Unfortunately, as soon as something beautiful hits the airwaves, eager designers, and their equally eager clients, jump on the bandwagon faster than you can say "unique." Then the slew of web design blogs, eager for links and traffic, start posting about this "new big thing." Tutorials and freebies slog up Twitter feeds as people attempt to recreate this new incredibly, awesome trend...and somewhere along the lines the refreshing concept jumps the shark.

Must suck for the original designer.

Be unique.

6 points 10 months ago Reply
Sacha G., Creator at Sidebar

Design is about solving a problem, sometimes that requires a unique approach, and sometimes it doesn't. Put another way, uniqueness is just a side effect, not the goal in itself.

4 points 10 months ago Reply
Emily C., I design. Edited 10 months ago

Indeed. However, the original post is truly a question of one aesthetic preference over another. To your point, flat design arose as a result of, or at least parallel to, the increase need for simplicity and reduced file size that the mobile web requires. Problem solving. But as it caught on and became trendy, designers began to adopt the aesthetic in order to be current, not to solve problems. (For example, it would be difficult to argue that iOS7's flat icons and overall look solve any real problems, except to [over]correct apple's tendency towards overt realism.)

This new look is purely superficial. My point was that when a designer takes a fresh approach to a visual style, it is quickly recreated by the masses, thus making it someone ubiquitous and inspiring posts on DN about whether we are all over the trend yet...a gross cycle.

And while I full heartedly agree with your sentiment, Sacha, we don't need to be so pragmatic about it. Yes, our focus should be functional problem solving, but that doesn't mean we aren't also in the business of making things look nice.

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Cihad T., Web Devigner

Still better than pure flat

3 points 10 months ago Reply
Eric R., Creative Director @ Design by Cosmic, Inc.

How, exactly?

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Cihad T., Web Devigner

At least long shadow gives 3D feeling.

https://twitter.com/marcedwards/status/352430129693204480

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Samihah A., Product Design Manager @ Bluenose Analytics | @samihah

Because you still need some level of dimension to communicate with users

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Eric R., Creative Director @ Design by Cosmic, Inc.

I respect that opinion, even if I don't necessarily agree with it. However, are you really saying that this long shadow trend communicates anything valuable to users? If so, please do explain.

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Samihah A., Product Design Manager @ Bluenose Analytics | @samihah

No, I was agreeing with the "still better than pure flat" statement and responded to the question on how it was better. I do agree that this long shadow trend may not necessarily communicate anything of value to the user, but I do think it can be used tastefully - but like any trend, anything done tastefully usually catches on and ends up becoming overused and over-the-top (ex: parallax). I also think that long shadow can be used to communicate with users if used to enhance the experience versus being there for purely aesthetic reasons. Ex: buttons with long shadows indicating an unselected state - so if these were turned into buttons rather than being icons: http://dribbble.com/shots/1136654-Long-Shadow-Icons?list=searches&tag=long_shadow I can't quite articulate it, but I'm visualizing it in my head, if that makes sense

1 point 10 months ago Reply
Jeff E., Engineer @ Carrot

I would like to formally apologize on part of the people that took my post seriously and actually turned this into a bandwagon. I really thought all it would do was get a couple chuckles out of people not turn into a ridiculous thing.

That being said, the way I'm personally handling this is continuing to cheer on anyone doing this just because I think it's so ridiculous and honestly there's no reason to be mad about it, even though I know people love getting mad on the internet.

2 points 10 months ago Reply
Eric R., Creative Director @ Design by Cosmic, Inc.

Jeff,

I don't think your apology is even necessary. Your original article was pretty obviously satirical, and this bandwagon design approach is inevitably the new norm.

I think it's up to designers to distinguish useful patterns from design trends and keep design to core principals and focused on usability, problem solving, and tasteful aesthetics that strengthen their concepts.

Plus, as ridiculous as this has become, it truly is hilarious at the same time.

1 point 10 months ago Reply

I'm baffled that you need to write this response. I thought this thread was just a follow up in the same spirit as your post

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Oliver B., Ux Designer / Developer

Flat was an actual response to a need to define a native visual language for the digital medium. It may not be perfect, but at least its heart was in the right place. Long shadow just seems like an attention grab. Sure it adds depth, but where does this "depth" hold its place within the digital realm? What's its relevance?

1 point 10 months ago Reply
Oliver B., Ux Designer / Developer

http://i.imgur.com/deHE6Pf.png - lol

2 points 10 months ago Reply
Alejandro V., Creative Director @aerolab.com.ar

me!

1 point 10 months ago Reply
Matt S., Product Designer at Iora Health

Still like 'em.

1 point 10 months ago Reply

I didn't even know it was a thing until I saw this. Not sick of them just yet.

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Steven L., Freelance Designer in San Francisco, CA, USA

Yuuuup.

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Mike A., UX / UI Designer

yes

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Casey C., designer. marketer. creator.

For reference: http://dribbble.com/search?q=long+shadows

0 points 10 months ago Reply
Jonathan Y., Mobile UX/UI Designer

Late last week, there were only about 3 pages of long shadow results. Its double now over less than a week.

0 points 10 months ago Reply
John K., Designer

I think I can handle a couple mo'

0 points 10 months ago Reply