Tired of minimalism, this designer wants to resurrect skeuomorphism

“You could argue that Apple’s Scott Forstall-era iPhone software gave digital skeuomorphic designs a bad name, especially after skeuomorphism escalated to an obnoxious level in iOS 6 which culminated with Forstall’s departure and the Great Flattening of iOS,” Christian Zibreg reports for iDownloadBlog.

“A software calendar with a skeuomorphic design would typically imitate the appearance of binding on a paper desk calendar complete with faux coiled wire hinge. Or, a note-taking app might mimic the appearance of yellow post-it notes and implement faux leather stitching,” Zibreg reports. “This was the golden age for skeuomorphism.”

“Tired of minimalism, one designer wants to bring skeuomorphism back,” Zibreg reports. “Available on Dribble, [designer Michael Flarup’s] skeuomorphic concepts for the Opus One app veer off the path of minimalism, expectedly evoking strong reactions. As evidenced by the screenshots, you probably haven’t seen this amount of skeuomorphism on an iPhone X before.”

Designer Michael Flarup's skeuomorphic concepts for the Opus One app (image via Dribble)
Designer Michael Flarup’s skeuomorphic concepts for the Opus One app (image via Dribble)

 
Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Certainly parts are useful (the colored tabs) while others are unnecessary (the binding rings).

36 Comments

  1. I really hate the grey in grey. I get that minimalism allows you to concentrate on the content, which is great for an entertainment device. But colour is a distinguishing characteristic that allows quick identification of icons/tools in production environments. To have apps (and the OS) grey in grey is simply stupid.

    1. Agree on grey, horrible decision for legibility and as stupid as stupid design can get.

      “I get that minimalism allows you to concentrate on the content”

      I disagree, not true. That is a tired modern art canard. Skeuomorphism has been used for over a hundred years in all types of print publications, computer OS, Internet design, etc. I don’t focus anymore or any less on content because of the visuals. Although, possibly with Playboy, the articles might seem further off. 😉

      “But colour is a distinguishing characteristic that allows quick identification of icons/tools in production environments.”

      Yes, color IS content when used effectively …

  2. Nope. The worst part of this design is that the designer has gone back to pre-iOS 6 rounded corners (think iOS 6 springboard icons) instead of using a CAShapeLayer and UIBezier path to define and mask the corners. There is a distinction between a designer that makes “screenshots” and then renders them with Adobe software into Apple’s gorgeous hardware for further appeal, and somebody that designs by code and for that matter, for iOS.

    My message to the so called “designers” at Dribbble is, stop doing that. Jony Ive clearly stated even from the first iPhone that the UI is all you see – it’s all screen. If you need to use massively of angle, iPhone renders to make your designs look (better) or to give them an unrealistic context – then you don’t understand forward facing iOS users. Stop it.

    1. One thing is thinking Jony Ive has his set of rules as a designer and other to think other designers doesn’t. There will always be good or bad examples of any given idea, and a few that are truly genius

  3. I like it!

    It is a design choice. The entire concept of icons sitting on a desktop is skeuomorphic, and we still do much of it in a skeuomorphic manner. What’s so wrong with unnecessary parts? Those are what add a touch of realism to the design. I’m still a fan.

    If you want your calendar to look like something other than a calendar, why do you still mostly make it look like a calendar? If you are going to put a border on post it notes, why do you think beveled gray nothing is better than faux leather?

    1. The article is about iOS which in fact uses a springboard (or home screens) Having a concept of a “desktop” on a computer, design aside, a la macOS, isn’t skuomorphism – it’s an abstraction.

    2. “The entire concept of icons sitting on a desktop is skeuomorphic, and we still do much of it in a skeuomorphic manner. What’s so wrong with unnecessary parts?”

      I like it too. Nothing wrong with visual clues everyone from toddlers to retirees understand. That’s called visual communication.

      “If you want your calendar to look like something other than a calendar, why do you still mostly make it look like a calendar?”

      Just f*sking nuts!

      “If you are going to put a border on post it notes, why do you think beveled gray nothing is better than faux leather?”

      Or felt on a pool table or wood grain on a bookcase?

      Bottom line: the minimalist modern art crowd that Apple embraced since Scott’s departure, Jony’s promotion and Steve’s passing are simply having their way now.

      They don’t seem to care about esoteric sterile design that many do not get.

      As I have posted over the years, offer two types of Apple iOS upgrades: Minimalist or Skeuomorphism. Everybody WINS.

      The arrogant egos at Apple can’t get their head around that one …

  4. Grey on grey means you can’t read the content, stupid.

    I am tired of text I cannot see (grey on grey), or text I cannot read (fonts that make numeral “6” and “8” look the same), and minimalism without function.

    I miss Forstall.

  5. I hate grey in/on grey too.

    When listening to music, on my watch there are two grey circles. One with a grey minus sign, the other with a grey plus sign.

    I can NEVER tell them apart!!!!!!

    Whoever is designing at Apple must be very young with very good eyes and lives in a bubble and has no idea or doesn’t care how anybody else other then themselves think about their really really cool designs.

    1. I don’t think iOS designers test with anyone over 28 years old.

      They really need to understand the demographic that buys their phones and watches. Then bring in a bunch of average people in that age group and let them bitch about what they can’t see, read or tell apart from background gray.

        1. “no local modern art museum ”

          By that I think maybe you mean a museum that shows art that looks like it was created on a purely random basis. And if you can’t “interpret” those random graphics, you are an uneducated country bumpkin?

          1. Think had a good point that the designs are not tested with anyone over 28 years old. I agreed and my “flyover” additional point was they do not test outside the cities and that would include all education levels in city, suburban and rural areas between the coasts.

            Herself said it best:
            “It isn’t very productive when a user is forced to guess at the meaning of an icon.”

            Not only that, as I posted on this thread earlier, some icons are simply IMPOSSIBLE to decipher using visuals alone. That is EPIC visual communication failure as a result of no Art Director oversight AND no one at Apple is going to stand up to Sir Jony’s UEVEN and scattershot designs …

  6. I lose track sometimes in the Calendar apps on both iPhone and Mac OS of where the hell I am because everything looks the same. Not a big deal as I can obviously figure things out and adjust….but sometimes something that actually mimics “flipping” through pages ads a tangibility that meets function because it creates mental barriers between things. I think good design has to be open to both methods, and the best design doesn’t care which it is. It just aims to be the most useful and beautiful, which is what I expect Apple to do well no matter what era we are in.

  7. I love the colorfulness…
    binder rings are corny

    And also not liking .having a screen inside a screen ( not utilizing the whole screen as the backdrop of the UI )

  8. Agreed the gray on gray is: can’t think of a polite word to describe it, so will just let it ride. Point made.

    I absolutely hate the extreme overuse of icons. I work on 3 different operating systems, and at least 12 apps in the course of a day, and you may have your little cutesy icons that have a meaning to you, but I don’t have time to memorize what you happen to mean this day in whatever context you intend.

    Minimalism in general; polite word for it is silly.

    More and more with iOS apps I find myself wondering :where do I go next!

    You may be in love with your app and assume that everyone understands your work flow (or lack of one). I am not so much in love with your app that I can remember the workflow of an app that I might use only once a week. If I don’t get the work flow, I just delete, and seldom miss it.

    Just try logic once in a while!

  9. “Minimalism in general; polite word for it is silly.
    More and more with iOS apps I find myself wondering :where do I go next!”

    Boom! Exactly what has always been wrong and will always be wrong regarding modern art design …

    1. In some ways Apple’s UI design philosophy is designed to reverse the paralysis induced by featuritis, a proliferation of functions represented by inscrutable icons, seen for example in Adobe and Microsoft applications. To this day I hate the ribbon, and still rely upon text menus or Help to locate the thing I want, and often resort to Googling “how to style text” in this or that container because nothing is obvious. Sometimes, I wax nostalgic for the old days of CLI, when my cheat-sheets and keyboard short-cuts made me more productive. It isn’t very productive when a user is forced to guess at the meaning of an icon. I don’t know, maybe it comes naturally to the mind of a millenial and I should just resign myself to my retirement, happy that they don’t shoot horses anymore. But let’s be real: these UI conventions would lead to a meltdown at Three Mile Island, no matter who was operating the controls.

      1. “It isn’t very productive when a user is forced to guess at the meaning of an icon.”

        Exactly! A waste of time and visual insult to the viewer.

        “I don’t know, maybe it comes naturally to the mind of a millennial”

        If esoteric confusion comes naturally to this generation then I fear when they are in power.

        Bottom line: Good design is beneficial to all. Confusing design is just that and simply plain modern alternative BAD …

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