With the recent release of iOS7, the term “flat design” has been mentioned a lot lately. This trend for minimalism and simplicity in design can be applied to your charts, too.

In fact, styling a chart with flat design principles in mind has multiple advantages for you and your users.

1. Flat Design Charts Can be Fast

We’ve all seen the studies that show users will only wait a few seconds for a page to load. This means quicker loading time for charts will improve your user experience. Flat design can help with that.

By calling up fewer colors, no gradients, and minimal images, your charts will have smaller file sizes that will load faster. This pairs nicely with ZingChart’s modular design for slimming down the library and making faster load times.

1A: Speed can also refer to how users interact with your charts. And flat design addresses this part of the experience. Flat design embraces shorter messages, and simple, clear font choices.

To accomplish this on a chart, we made the scale labels as simple as possible, and reduced the use of guides and markers.

2. Flat Design Charts Can Scale

In flat design, scaling is important. By using basic, simple shapes and text, you can maximize the use of space on smaller screens, and still have your design look crisp on larger displays. Users will appreciate this quality experience, and it ensures your branding will look the same across devices.

2A: The simpler geometric shapes that work well for scaling are also easier for users to identify. If you combine simple shapes with the minimal and clear text from #1, this will go far toward improving the readability of your charts, no matter which device on which they are viewed.

For this chart, we used large labels and shapes.

3. Flat Design Offers Branding Opportunities

Flat design usually adheres to a specific color palette. This can provide you with an opportunity to experiment with contrasting colors.

And a select color palette can also give you a chance to really brand your charts in a recognizable and memorable way. Of course, ZingChart gives you the capability to use those custom colors pretty easily.

In this chart, we adhered to the flat color palette but selected a distinct set of colors and omitted y-axis labels and guides.

Just remember...

Flat design is not something to use in ZingCharts because it's trendy. But remembering the principles of flat design can help us all from over-designing our charts. Flat design fails when it is taken too far or is forced on an overly complex idea, so it may not work for every chart.

What do you think?

Have you created any cool minimalist charts or graphs in ZingChart? Share them in the comments so we can all get some styling inspiration.