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Farewell Skeuomorphism

Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, Skeuomorphism has been used as a major part of iOS GUI. A style of design that brings analogue, real world aesthetic elements to the digital world. A particular favourite of Steve Jobs, legend has it that the leather texture and stitching UI effects on iCal and Game Center apps were based on the seat detail of his Gulfstream Jet.

Skeuomorphism goes back to Desktop Metaphor, concept started by Xerox Parc in the seventies.

But all that stuff looks tired and ironically the visual nostalgia hints are old fashioned in a new world of flat symbol UI.

Take the humble list app. Make it look like a post it note, or a ripped page of an actual paper ruled notebook. Fun right? Well Clear showed us that a simple list app can be a beautiful thing, no torn edges, no nostalgia hinting. Just colour and an overarching UI paradigm which was entirely homogenous.

skeuomorphism - apple list app vs clear list app

Device Agnostic GUI design is critical to ensuring your brand and design values transcend across all platforms. Your design should feel like YOUR design, not part of an Apple iOS app. Android and Windows Phone apps don’t use leather effects, or metal, or screws, or fake lighting.

Windows Phone UI (formerly known as Metro) is a great example of the next step in mobile interface design. Based on the modernist Swiss style, totally flat and relying on typography, colour, grid and a Pivot/Panorama navigation paradigm, Microsoft created a proper rock solid rival to iOS and a future classic.

Windows phone UI - LinkedIn


Related External Links

A Former iPhone UI Designer Defends Apple’s Fake-Leather Design Philosophy

Apple design, Jony Ive and the rise of skeuomorphobia - The Next Web

The Philosophy of UI Design: Fundamental Principles - Apple Developer Guidelines


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