Flat or Skeu?

Flat Design

A design reemergence that removes things such as shadows, bevels and other details in order to achieve a 2-dimensional look. Not a new approach, but it’s one that many designers are enbracing these days.



Skeuomorphic, skeu, is an approach that uses design metaphors such as icons and buttons which mimic real life things. These designs offer greater context and detail over flat designs.


The OR

Is one better than the other?
Although I personally tend to favor skeu over flat, with a nod to overall user experience, fans of flat cite these pros :

  • Minimalistic
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Usability
  • Resource friendly

I would love for someone to explain this to me. I just don’t buy into all of the flat hoopla.
Here are a couple of excellent statements from a post I recently read :

I don’t believe that flat design inherently equates minimalism.

Removing details does not necessarily imply that something is easier to understand. Pixel Resort


I would really like to see the data that supports flat design as a step forward in usability. In my experience, the direction of modern flat design forces users to relearn a UI (not necessarily a bad thing but one should ask why?) and focus more intently on icons (not always standard) and their exact shape to figure out what they might do or represent. In other words, it takes more than a quick glance now to decipher things in a purely flat design.
Even icons that many consider flat are really skeuomorphic because they still borrow from real life items, painted 2-dimensionally, but still skeuomorphic nonetheless.
For me, skeumorphism can still achieve a minimilist’s aesthetic too. I tend to believe that it contributes to the whole user experience rather than simply one small aspect of it though. Nostalgic feelings go a long way in making something “I want to use”. I’ve seen this time and again in product releases of various types. Skeu does this kind of well. A good skeu item can still be skeuomorphic but light in feel. It can make an item familiar and comfortable without being kitschy.
I believe that flat design is just today’s craze. I’m eager to see how mainstream adopts to Apple’s new iOS7 design – a flat design hybrid.
Sometimes I think that we who are deeply involved in designing from day to day, find it easier to jump on what some call the next “new” thing. We get quickly bored with things that are several hours old.
In the process though we can begin to make assumptions about our users who are still working out designs that are 24 hours old.

Flat or Skeu?

I’m still on the fence, but my legs hang over on the side of skeu right now – skeu done right. There are also cases where flat design is done just right – Microsoft didn’t get it right and iOS7 is a mixed bag right now. Tumblr is right.
Maybe I’m a bit of a Frankenskeu in today’s design world though, but I’m still asking questions.
And perhaps, skeuominimalism is more my speed – almost flat.

#hashtags In Blog Titles

Should I Include Hashtags In My Blog Title?

This is mostly a test to see what happens when this post is shared on social media.

Remember a hashtag is simply a hash/pound symbol preceding a word that is often hyperlinked by a platform so that it’s easier for someone to click it and see other posts (yours and others) that use the same hashtag.

Abercrombie – You Have Been Weighed

[Update]:On the heels of further sales dips, Abercrombie goes after the plus-sized market. Please forgive us, Plus-Sized market

You have been weighed in the balances and have been found deficient.

The PR disaster affecting Abercrombie & Fitch empasizes how comments made years ago can come back and bite a brand.

Abercrombie’s CEO, Mike Jeffries, proudly promotes his brand as exclusionary, only for the beautiful cool people to enjoy.

That’s right. A CEO with a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders cut off 97% of the consumer market from his brand.

His comments can be found here:

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Explains Why He Hates Fat Chicks

Grab the popcorn and watch this PR disaster unfold as a brand is weighed by consumers discovering what this CEO represents. It’s certainly one thing for a brand to market to certain sizes, but quite a different thing for its CEO to openly make statements that will be destructive to shareholder value.

The next quarterly report will reflect how consumers react to a CEO who basically promotes bullying. The board will be forced to face the reality of a socially connected market and why having the right person head the helm is crucial.

Yes, consumers are weighing in now:

A Letter To Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries

Sizing Up Abercrombie – A Letter To Mike Jeffries

The letters above reflect the opinion of a market that is more than willing to let consumer dollars speak up.

The Abercrombie board is being faced with some serious questions right now. How they respond might very well determine if the ugly uncool people decide to pay their salaries – parents of cool beautiful people of all sizes and looks, investors, future board nominators – you know, the uncool bric-a-brac that can determine the fate of brands and careers.


The Abercrombie brand takes a hit as measured by Brand Index.
Abercrombie & Fitch scores tumble with Millennials

The financials are nothing to brag about right now according to MarketWatch
MarketWatch: Abercrombie & Fitch loss narrows, but results miss

It’s really the next quarterly report to watch when consumer reaction will be fully seen in the numbers.