Sci-fi books, movies, and shows often accurately predict the future. From debit cards to video chat to landing on the moon—even the UI designs seen in Star Trek and the like are pretty on-trend. UIs of the future are always flat and feature mostly typography and strokes/lines. It seems like sci-fi accurately predicted the flat design movement in UI, but sci-fi shows took their designs a step further, relying mostly on typography and lines. Form follows function, and it seems like we’re always moving towards cutting more clutter and focusing on what matters most: solving a user’s problem and providing a clear offering.
We started with skeuomorphic design then went to flat design, and now I think we should challenge ourselves to design interfaces like the ones we’ve admired in sci-fi with just type and little to nothing else. This new style can be called type design.
We need a better solution for making designs that are faster to iterate but still look beautiful. Our flat designs are not so flat anymore—they take forever to work on, maintain, and change. I’m not saying we should ditch intricate designs entirely; I’m just saying we need a second option.

The Possibility and Promise of Type Design

Here is why we can make type designs possible today:

  1. Typography has advanced so much that you have thousands of fonts and many different ways to distinguish your designs from the rest with great typography.
  2. There are incredible stock image sites today. You have sites like providing free images and various sites where you can buy original pics for pretty cheap.

Just as flat design seemed too simplistic at first (compared to skeuomorphic design) and some people thought it might not work, this might feel the same way. But I think if we all put our minds together, we can push this style of design pretty far and make awesome designs with just type, lines, and images.

Slack’s home page redesign in 20 minutes of work. You could test your idea in less than an hour in a user test to see if your messaging works well. Iterating is even faster.

If you bring this level of simplicity to your designs, you will:

  • Discover if your product makes sense right off the bat, because you won’t be able to use lorem ipsum as a crutch anymore.
  • Be able to test your landing page or product within hours of working on the design.
  • Be able to change things around very easily. Adding features, iterating, etc. will take minutes, not weeks.
  • Make your app run a lot faster.
  • Uncover your MVP way faster, since you’ll be able to change the messaging on the fly.


The Rules of Type Design

Here are my proposed rules for type design:

  1. You can use lines or strokes.
  2. You can use icons.
  3. You can use typography.
  4. You can change the color of the background.
  5. You can use images.


Lufthansa home page type design concept, made within 2 hours. Different typography was used to set up priorities and the whole experience, and lines were used to separate main sections.

That’s it. No boxes, colorful buttons, waves, intricate shapes, etc. Basically no Dribbble-type designs.

I bet that many designers will be able to make type design pieces that look just as beautiful as any Dribbble design, just cleaner and with a minimal UI.
Facebook redesign concept by Wojciech Dobry – limited features combined with simple typography and images.

Published by Justin Ritchie

Hello world! I'm the co-founder of EX Media and Refresh Bahamas. I'm also UI/UX designer, front-end developer and Digital Marketer based in Florida and from The Bahamas. I specialize in design but I am also a Full-Stack Developer. Always repping my Hurricanes! UMiami Alumni.