One of the bigger trends of 2013 has been flat design. Adopted by Apple’s iOS7 and used in updated logos for both Facebook and Instagram, the increasingly popular style is well on its way to replacing the clunky days of 3D.

Downloads for images reflecting the flat-design trend have spiked on Shutterstock by approximately 200 percent since 2012, with the US, Brazil, Korea, Russia, and the UK leading the surge, and Japan and Italy coming in closely behind. Based on the increase, it’s clear that flat design will remain a big deal in 2014.

One reason designers have turned toward this “flat” aesthetic is a push from new technology and its need for a simpler user interface (UI). Flat design elements lend themselves to cleaner app interfaces, responsive design, and better overall interaction with visual data, such as infographics. They also facilitate easier pictorial communication across languages and cultures.

Shutterstock contributors have taken note, adding over 170,00 related images to the collection. Here are 5 of the top downloaded flat-design images of 2013:

Flat Web Design Elements | Alexandr Peers
Flat Web Design Elements | Alexandr Peers
Set of Flat Design Icons | Varijanta
Set of Flat Design Icons | Varijanta
UI Set of Components | fet
UI Set of Components | fet
Infographic Template | Petr Vaclavek
Infographic Template | Petr Vaclavek
Flat Design Illustration | bloomua
Flat Design Illustration | bloomua

Because this trend is going on globally, it’s also worth looking at how contributors are approaching flat design in different places. Here’s a look at the top-downloaded images in various countries.

United States

United States: School and Education Flat Icons | Azaze11o
United States: School and Education Flat Icons | Azaze11o

Brazil

Brazil: UI Set of Components by fet
Brazil: UI Set of Components by fet

Korea

Korea: Universal Flat Icons | Perfect Vectors
Korea: Universal Flat Icons | Perfect Vectors

Russia

Russia: Set of Flat Education Icons | Max Griboedov
Russia: Set of Flat Education Icons | Max Griboedov

United Kingdom

United Kingdom: Flat Business Icons | bloomua
United Kingdom: Flat Business Icons | bloomua

Of course, things are cyclical in trends, so we could well see 3D rise again. But for now, as we navigate the flat world of design, the next frontier looks to Skeuminimalism! It’s a brave new design world out there.

To see more flat design elements, visit our Big Data featured lightbox.