What Makes Design Modern?

When we conduct product research and ask users about the value and benefit of good design, the responses seem quite implicit and general.

Users say: Let everything be beautiful and convenient. The interface should look modern, be simple, aesthetically pleasing.

This is somewhat reminiscent of describing the ideal partner for a relationship. They should be smart and kind, loving and witty. It should be easy with them, but reliable.

Funny, but all these adjectives contradict each other.

Beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean modern. The interface can be very beautiful but not modern. (Sometimes intentionally so.)

Convenience is not equal to simplicity. If you’ve spent 100+ hours in Blender , its interface becomes very convenient. But it’s not a simple interface.

So, it’s always clear overall what we’re talking about. We can all determine simple and modern design. And we will always recognize outdated and obsolete design.

And if I were asked to provide specific instructions for modernizing design, I could compile a list with current fonts, color codes, a list of current design practices, set margins in pixels. It would be a specific and applicable instruction for turning something not modern into modern.

This instruction answers the question: What to do. But there’s a more interesting question: Why do it this way?

Why do these fonts with these colors and these distances look outdated? After all, at some point, they were perceived as new and modern.