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Is skeuomorphism that bad?

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

Web design is awash with flat design at the moment and as another design technique it has its uses. I’ve adopted this approach for a few responsive builds as it works as a reset to allow me to focus more on the challenges of responsive design.

But many see flat design as the purest form of web design and something that should be adopted for all web design work, rather than simply being another style to draw on. It’s these people that bitch so much about skeuomorphic design.

Skeuomorphic design is a style that recreates the form of real-world objects in a digital medium. Apple has adopted this for many of their iOS applications and it’s possibly their over-reliance on this technique that has set in motion the growing negativity towards this design style.

This recreation of real world objects on screen is seen as dishonest as it does not correctly represent the medium of screen design. Tell that to an interior designer using outdoor materials indoors; such as grass effect carpet or corrugated steelwork. But what is the correct style for a screen. So much can be shown on a screen that is it possible to even say what its default is?

All design professions make use of skeuomorphic design to elicit an emotional connection between the audience and their work. In web design that pre-existing knowledge can also assist in the usability of a website.

No style is inherently wrong or dishonest; everything has its place given the right audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s flat, shiny or bumpy if it works for the audience then its good design. Simple.