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ASK DN: Anyone tired of seeing long shadows?

over 9 years ago from , product designer at capital one

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

Anyone with me?

30 comments

  • Eric ResslerEric Ressler, over 9 years ago

    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?

    21 points
    • Michael Nino EvensenMichael Nino Evensen, over 9 years ago

      Couldn't agree more!

      0 points
    • Kenneth JensenKenneth Jensen, over 9 years ago

      +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
    • Stephan JunghannsStephan Junghanns, over 9 years ago

      Nailed it Eric!

      0 points
    • John LockeJohn Locke, 9 years ago

      Obviously not. It's human nature, to want to fit in with what everyone else is doing. That's the survival instinct. It just seems like a lot of the industry is a closed feedback loop, where everyone worries about what other designers think first and foremost.

      0 points
  • Emily Campbell, over 9 years ago

    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
    • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, over 9 years ago

      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
      • Emily Campbell, 9 years ago (edited 9 years 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
  • Cihad TurhanCihad Turhan, over 9 years ago

    Still better than pure flat

    3 points
    • Eric ResslerEric Ressler, over 9 years ago

      How, exactly?

      0 points
      • Cihad TurhanCihad Turhan, over 9 years ago

        At least long shadow gives 3D feeling.

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

        0 points
      • Samihah ASamihah A, over 9 years ago

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

        0 points
        • Eric ResslerEric Ressler, over 9 years ago

          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
          • Samihah ASamihah A, over 9 years ago

            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
  • Jeff EscalanteJeff Escalante, over 9 years ago

    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
    • Eric ResslerEric Ressler, over 9 years ago

      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
    • Nick WNick W, 9 years ago

      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
  • Oliver Browne, over 9 years ago

    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
  • Matt SistoMatt Sisto, over 9 years ago

    Still like 'em.

    1 point
  • Alejandro VizioAlejandro Vizio, over 9 years ago

    me!

    1 point
  • John KarlssonJohn Karlsson, over 9 years ago

    I think I can handle a couple mo'

    0 points
  • Ross NoverRoss Nover, over 9 years ago

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

    0 points
  • Steven LewisSteven Lewis, over 9 years ago

    Yuuuup.

    0 points
  • Mike ArndtMike Arndt, over 9 years ago

    yes

    0 points
  • Casey Cavanagh, over 9 years ago

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

    0 points
    • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, 9 years ago

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

      0 points
      • John LockeJohn Locke, 9 years ago

        It would be beyond awesome if designers on Dribbble as a whole would just do things that they thought were good, and not worry about what other people think this week. I loved Dribbble when it was still about "show us what you're working on", as opposed to now, where it is "Here's my finished portfolio piece...now upvote me".

        Long shadows is just one more trope on Dribbble in an endless sea of tropes (flat design, let's remake , "redesigning" social icons). It seems like this trend just started a few weeks ago, so the oversaturation has just begun.

        I really like the show cards on 5 by 5, and those are most definitely long shadows in each of those.

        My conclusion is we need to stop doing shit just to impress other people in our design bubble, that's not what design is. The rest of the world are the people whose opinions really matter, unless your product is aimed only at people in the web industry.

        Trends will always exist. You're powerless to stop them. Do what you feel works, don't worry about what the rest of the industry is doing this week, because if you wait for a few months or a year, it will completely change again.

        4 points
        • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, 9 years ago

          Mate, I completely agree with you. It feels like design is such a trendy thing now that people hop on to impress and show off what they would call unique interpretation of _________ (insert design trend/app) looks like.

          Its very tiresome to see people making trendy things, which in turn influence so many decisions in the market where clients will just want their next solution incorporating trends. Especially with the exposure they can get in dribbble. I think we have the responsibility to spot them early on and educate clients about it. Get back to solving problems, not just thinking about being the cool kid on the block.

          1 point