I’m not at all a designer – just a design-challenged guy looking for some graphics for a website I’m slowly cobbling together – so this is neither criticism nor praise.
I’m simply curious about the roots of this design trend. Its clearly within the Flat Design or Flat 2.0 paradigms, but specifically the deliberately unnatural proportions (and sometimes even skin colors) that the people/characters have.
Secondly, are there particular tools or libraries that everyone is using across the web to generate all these very similar looking people?
Finally, in an effort not to copy a seemingly worn out style, is there a style and associated toolset or resources that has moved beyond this?