Skeumorphism is dead, but its coming back

  • Sk, kind of.euomorphism: Objects that mimic their real-world counterparts both in appearance and behavior.
  • Flat Design: This is the minimalistic design trend that eliminates shadows, depth, and textures from the objects.
  • Neumorphism: This is a design trend where the objects are placed behind the background and have the same borderline or overall color as that of its background.

In some ways, flat design — which really took off in 2013 with the release of iOS 7 — attempted to address the issue of horseless carriage syndrome, at least aesthetically. Flat design did a wonderful thing: It rid the web of gradients, drop shadows, and other elements of real-world ornamentation and literalism. The result was a cleaner, simpler UI, free of clutter. Very good.

But flat design wasn’t merely about erasing textured stitching, stainless steel knobs, and line rules on digital paper. (Ironically, this style is making a comeback.) The movement sought to do much more: to remove limiting physical-world form factors, allowing the potential of the digital medium to flourish, unchained by the past.

We can only think of something in a new way when we stop thinking of it in the old way. This is something to keep in mind whenever conceptualizing or releasing a digital product, even today. Our default impulse is always to represent new, potentially revolutionary products with the artifacts and ornaments of their previous form factor. Fight, or at least question, that impulse and the sky is the limit.

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