Before & After Header Image

For many years design trends have favored realism—using shading, beveling, perspective, and shadows to trick the eye into a sense of depth and dimension. Graphic design geeks call this take on visuals “skeuomorphic” design. But in recent years that realistic look has been losing popularity in favor of a more vibrant, modern take on graphics: flat design.

Flat design is a minimalist aesthetic, lacking all of the visual bells and whistles one associates with realism, such as beveled edges, embossing, shadows and gradients. Instead of using visual trickery, flat design emphasizes simplicity and punchy color palettes with bold illustrations and clean—even retro—typography.

Many of the templates we share on E-Learning Heroes use a realistic visual style. But that doesn’t mean you can’t quickly change them up for an all new—and on trend—look and feel. In fact, for my example, I’ve chosen this classic blue tabbed template from Tom Kuhlmann. It’s certainly beautiful as it is, but its flexible structure, layout, and existing color palette also gave me a lot of leeway to customize the look.

Here’s a quick video demonstrating how I saved myself some time by transforming Tom’s PowerPoint template from realistic to flat-tastic—all in just under 10 minutes.


For more flat design ideas, check out the amazing responses to David Anderson’s Weekly Challenge #4: Flatten Up Your Course Design Skills. And then check out these flat design finds, free downloads, and more:

Have you repurposed one of our free download templates in a flat design style? If so, leave us a comment below to share your experience. If not, give it a try and tell us how it goes.

Follow us on Twitter and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.