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Elon Musk Joins Interesting Twitter Thread on Skeuomorphism

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Last Updated: February 08, 2023, 15:32 IST

Elon Musk Joins Interesting Twitter Thread on Skeuomorphism (Photo Credits: Twitter/@culturaltutor)

A Twitter thread gave a deep insight into skeuomorphism which even fascinated the platform’s chief Elon Musk to join the chat.

Have you noticed the logo of Gmail that resembles the design of an envelope even when there’s no use of paper or postage? Or the clock icon on the phone that looks exactly like your wall clock? Almost every graphical feature that we find on our digital devices has a striking similarity with the obsolete items that were relevant almost a decade ago or more. Such graphical objects or elements are called skeuomorphs that mimic a physical item to make it look more familiar and understandable to digital users. A Twitter thread gave a deep insight into the topic which even fascinated the platform’s chief Elon Musk to join the chat.

The Cultural Tutor (as their name on Twitter), began explaining the classic design technique by asking, “Have you ever noticed that the save icon is a floppy disk, even though they became obsolete twenty years ago?” Adding to that, they stated that these are called “skeuomorphs” that are widely used to retain the originality of the design even though they serve no pragmatic purpose in the new system. They gave many examples of skeuomorphism such as phone cameras, icons of batteries, clocks, calls, shopping carts, flashlights, notes, etc. Even Instagram Logos and the interface of Kindle were also specified due to their inherited skeuomorphic features from past objects.

“Most interesting is that many people have never even used the objects imitated by these skeuomorphs. Corded telephones, floppy disks, film cameras, even envelopes – these are things from the past shaping the appearance of the present and the future,” read one of their last tweets to describe skeuomorphism. This also excited Elon Musk to pen his opinion about the same as he replied, “I haven’t seen a scroll in ages, but we use that word for computer screens.”

With so many real-time examples, it can thus be concluded that skeuomorphs are everywhere. But, they still divide people as some take them as effective models and ‘a natural progression from the physical to the digital’ while others feel that the ‘digital design should be unshackled from past expectations and freer to innovate’.

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