Christopher Hawtree

the pillowbook of Christopher Hawtree, writer and Green Party councillor for Central Hove

Skeuomorph

Posted on | May 25, 2012 | No Comments

In a fascinating interview with Apple’s design chief, that master of cool, Jonathan Ive, the Daily Telegraph’s Shane Richmond remarks that the operating systems have “been marked by something known as skeuomorphism, a tendency for new designs to retain ornamental features of the old design. Thus the calendar in Apple’s Macs and on iOS has fake leather texture and even fake stitching”.

Morph has of course become a word indelibly associated with the digital age, but in fact skeuomorphism is of nineteenth-century origins. Its two components are from the Greek for implement and for form. Originally, skeuomorph denoted a design which was inherently a part of the object, as with a material stiched together; by the 1930s it has come also to mean a design replicating that used upon another material but for some decades this took some explaining when used in a popular context – as it continues to do.

Of one thing we can be sure: Apple will not be holding a conference to unveil a design which resembles those old, betaggled, menu-like objects with which some people covered that week’s issue of the Radio Times.

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    Christopher Hawtree is the Green Party Councillor for Central Hove but items are posted here in a personal capacity as an individual.

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