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Is Skeuomorphism Dead?

Skeuomorphism is a design technique that emulates real world objects or materials. When Apple revealed the iOS7 using flat design instead of their usual skeuomophic design, many designers believed that skeuomorphism was dead. For those who are unfamiliar with skeuomorphism, an example of a design using the technique is the iBooks app on iPhones. Real looking bookshelves were used to hold an iBook, or books that could be read online. Gradients, shadows, and anything that helps give depth and three- dimensional characteristics are conceived as skeuomorphic.  Here is more about the characteristics of skeuomorphic design, and why or why not some designers believe the trend to be dead.

Characteristics and Benefits

1. Skeuomorphism uses raised looking buttons, which helps intuitiveness; it is easier to tell what to push and click on.

2. Skeuomorphism uses objects that look like objects from the real world, and this evokes an emotional response of familiarity with the user.

3. Skeuomorphism helps make objects distinguishable because objects ‘pop out’ in a three dimensional way.

Yes, It’s Dead

1. Flat design, a design focused on a minimalist, two dimensional, sleek approach, has taken precedence over the three dimensional approach of Skeuomorphism.

2. Users are turned off by cheesy gradients and real life objects that seem unnecessarily inserted in design. For example, the Find Friends iPhone app had a leather header on it. The leather may look nice to some people, but it had no intuitive purpose to most others.

3. Windows 8, the iOS7, and the Android OS dropped the three dimensional Skeuomorphic approach in favor of the two dimensional, minimalist approach of flat design. If these three big players dropped it, then we know it’s going out of style.

No, It’s Alive

1. Some say that flat design is a trend that will die out shortly, and cannot replace the intuitive qualities that Skeuomorphism has. Also, Skeuomorphic design is very useful and aesthetically pleasing, depending on the type of result the designer is trying to get.

2. Skeuomorphism hasn’t so much died, but it has evolved, which is necessary in design. Designers have learned how to cut out some of the cheesy and unnecessary elements of this type of design without leaving it out completely. So it may work well with certain apps, like the iBook’s app, and not for others.


Skeuomorphism is a design trend that encompasses three dimensional, real life objects on a two dimensional screen. Because computer imagery can look cold and unfeeling at times, this type of design can be helpful in evoking necessary emotions from the user. However, flat design has become a more popular trend that is surpassing skeuomorphic design in usage, as we can see from the iOS7 design and others. So is skeuomorphism design dead? Bigwig Monster Media’s Orange County based web design firm can help your business decide which type of design works for you, regardless of what the current trend is or isn’t!

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