My Aesthetic Roots: Flat Design

My main project, Dopamine, is intended to mimic the effects of a “like” on social media for real life interactions. As an example, your shirt lights up when you waive to someone else. Therefore, my project must utilize a similar aesthetic as those utilized on Instagram, Facebook, etc. One look that I will be particularity trying to replicate is the flat design aesthetic. Flat design is know for it’s use of color gradients, border lines, and contrast to give the illusion of 3D forms. [1]


The above example demonstrates the evolution of the Firefox logo as it transitions to flat design. The most important takeaway is that the logo has been clearly simplified. The decorative elements have been stripped down in an effort to represent the bare essentials. This in many ways is the purpose of flat design, to convey a 3D form with as little as possible [1]. This idea can be traced back to the minimalist movement, a post World War II movement pushing against the ideas of abstract expressionism [2]. As a whole, minimalism attempts to reduce the composite elements [2]. This produces a sleek, simple final product that I would like to replicate in my design.

Frank Stella,





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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Justin Engbrecht
    April 12, 2020 12:34 am

    Hello Jackson.

    I love the connection you’ve drawn between your goal for this project and major social media companies. I find it interesting that the firefox logo has progressively featured more and more yellow as it evolved, and I recently learned that yellow is an excellent color for capturing the attention of viewers (for example when scrolling by). Do you plan on looking into color psychology for your project, or will that not be a major focus for you?

    • Jackson Hootman
      April 12, 2020 7:27 pm

      Thanks for the comment Justin. Currently, my goal is to have the color be programmable by the user or even a function of some biological metric (like heart rate). But I think researching some color psychology is a great idea. Some scientific backing for color selection would be a great addition to this project.

  • Zach Aldrich
    April 8, 2020 6:48 pm


    Interesting take on the flatness aesthetic. I really found the firefox transition over the years image really intriguing and hit the nail right on the head. I think the aesthetic is very fitting for your project and I cannot wait to see how it turns out.


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