Back to Skeuomorph

They say everything in the world is cyclical. So it was especially amusing to hear that design elements in apps and websites could not be designed in a "photorealistic" manner anymore. That's outdated design, some says. A mauvais ton. "Flat" design is a trend and symbol of digital transformation and the new technological era.

But design is just design. It is meant to reflect the character of something and convey a feeling through a visual language. And it cannot be bad, good or outdated. Although of course trends also has its place, but it is rather related to society and its current specifics. And it does not reflect the real quality of design, but only its perception at a specific time, in a specific place, and by a specific group of people. That's why NewRetro, the trend for imitating the aesthetics of the 1980s, is gaining. If you look closely you can find same evens in the world culture and examples of other centuries. And it is not by chance that now, confirming the idea of the cyclicity of the world, skeuomorph is coming back - the very kind of design that is commonly called "photorealistic", but in fact it imitates real objects in digital or other artistic form.

Apple, by the way, was one of the companies that actively used skeuomorph in interface design. And it especially blossomed with the release of the iPhone and iPad, finding an organic place on these devices. After all, it imitated reality, in an amazing (new for the time) device that itself imitated it. More precisely, the intuitive interaction of the user through the touch interface. And we all enjoyed using seemingly real things and objects in the virtual world, touching them as in life.

Now Apple is again ahead of the curve, bringing back icons with shadows and realistic elements in the new MacOS. Although in other areas (especially the digital industry) it was clear that the user is tired of  "flat" design and is ready to enjoy skeuomorph again with its realism and depth.

As the industry moves in circles, let's remember the best examples of realistic icons for mobile applications, which at one time gracefully played with the shape of the icon, forcing to see non-existent: volume and material.

Author of the article: Ulyashchenkov Sergey