I know there are no hard and fast rules regarding the use of Skeuomorphism, but I'd like to more fully understand when the use of Skeuomorphic elements is appropriate in iOS apps.

To my limited knowledge, Skeuomorphic elems can be useful for:

  • Giving the user a familiar-looking object, giving them clues as to how to use it
  • Give a mundane object an "upgraded" or "premium" feel (Apple's use of leather and polished steel for elements such as a notebook, or microphone)

Are Skeuomorphic designs more "delightful"? Why?

  • possible duplicate of Skeuomorph or OS-consistency?
    – rk.
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 19:27
  • 1
    @Rohan, your post contained several questions, not all of which are well-suited to a Q&A site. For example, asking for a list of other purposes for skeuomorphism doesn't work as a question here because it has many possible answers. I've edited your post to contain only what appears to be your main question, but if I've misinterpreted and you don't agree with the parts I've deleted, you're free to edit it again. (The part about many screens and skeumorphism might work well as a separate question if you can provide some context.) Also, you may want to define what you mean by "delightful." Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 19:40
  • 1
    thanks for the edit, it still captures the essence of the question!
    – Rohan
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 20:16
  • See my old answer, perhaps that would help you: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/22093/… - takeaway: you can be skeuromorph only compared to devices and tools used in our present day.
    – Aadaam
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 22:51
  • I don't know if this is relevant, but I've heard news of Apple abolishing Skeuomorphism in iOS 7. Commented May 11, 2013 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


Skeuomorphism did indeed become very fashionable with Apple and you are right that the purpose was to give the users a connection with objects of the real world by adding these textures.

The use of skeumorphism is a matter of taste. Almost like if you use monochrome designs vs using the whole palette. However, when using Skeumorphism you need to find a balance and be really careful not to over do it because it will just look very heavy and busy and lose the whole purpose.

Depending on what you are designing you can decide a style. Either go for a completely flat (minimalist approach), 3d-ish (shadows, lights, bevel) or a bit like the iOs style that assimilates real objects.

You can do delightful designs with any style. It depends entirely on the composition, color and design that you decide to use.


Skeuomorphic designs are not more or less delightful than non-skeuomorphic designs. Skeuomorphism can be good or bad. The infamous leather calendar by Apple is (currently) bad design, being heavy and inappropriately realistic for no benefit (some argue that in the past the realism/skeuomorph of the calendar helped identify it's purpose).

Skeuomorphism is still going strong in some ways: raised and shadowed buttons are still more obviously clickable than flat buttons. Tabs are still a very useful element that are derived from physical objects.

Skeuomorphism is just another tool in the designers tool box, like alignment and color, and can be used to good effect or abused.

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