Defining skeuomorphism and why the debate matters

I love it when great debates spark great opinion pieces -- I already know what I think, I want to find out what everyone else thinks! -- and when great designers like Louie Mantia and Dave Wiskus put font to screen to express their views on important topics like trends in iOS app design, I'm going to pay attention.

Mantia, for his part, is tired of people confusing and conflating skeuomorphism. From

Skeuomorphism is a word that everyone disagrees on what it means (or suggests it means all of the above), but is often used to discriminate apps that use realistic textures for the sake of joy, beauty, and delight. When you’re talking about an app that uses realistic textures, call that “theming” or “skinning” because before last year, that’s what we called it, and that’s what it is.

Wiskus is tired of people complaining about the conversation itself. From Better Elevation:

This is a rare moment in any industry, and we should be savoring our opportunity to make such a significant impact. Wherever you sit on the issue, you should be passionate, you should have strong opinions, and you should want to participate—or at least follow along and consider the arguments. Because if you don’t care, why are you doing this job? If a conversation about design is enough to make you complain, is this even a career you enjoy?

Both pieces are fraught with awesome. Read them. And if you haven't already, listen to both Mantia and Wiskus discussing just these very issues on the lastest episode of Iterate.

Source:, Better Elevation