Flat Design was here before

Just found this illus­tra­tion of some of the work we did for apple in 1992. That was just after we started MetaDe­sign in San Fran­cisco and it involved a com­plete design sys­tem for the Mac OS. All flat.

Mac OS design system 1992. All flat.

Mac OS design sys­tem 1992. All flat.


  1. Samo

    It may be because I am get­ting old, but it’s get­ting really tedious to keep being bom­barded with “the next big thing” regard­ing design that keeps flood­ing every­thing from Dribb­ble to Twit­ter when design­ers dis­cover the “big truth” that the cur­rent fad is the only “proper” way to do design.

    Design is sup­posed to solve prob­lems, and that means it has to use _all_ the tools avail­able. iOS 7 is a per­fect exam­ple of the a design fad being taken to the extreme, where func­tion­al­ity and the cog­ni­tive abil­ity of rec­og­nize the visual ele­ments suf­fer from a—pretty incon­sis­tent and schiz­o­phrenic, at that—push for a thin­ner and flat­ter design.

    *stops rant­ing about kids these days and leans back in his recliner*

    Hav­ing said that, the flat design lan­guage that Meta used for the Mac OS was great. But that’s, I guess, because it was cho­sen to solve a prob­lem, not because the intern spent too much time on Dribbble… :P

  2. No! Microsoft invented the style with their Win­dow 8 Flat Design! (and all the junk behind it which is still same as Win­dows 95). :)

  3. Flat design is such a lazy term. The web world needs to grow up with these silly trends.

  4. Hur­ray for the return to flat. Don’t know why it needs a new name, maybe because I’m old-fashioned. I called the first jelly-colored iMacs and accom­pa­ny­ing inter­face and Win­dows prompt imi­ta­tion with WinDex and those high­lighted, drop-shadowed, epilep­tic fit-inducing, 1970s-office-supply-product-imitation visu­als “goobily” design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *