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Skeuomorphism. No, that’s not the name of an Alien attack movie, but is a design concept that is used to make digital applications or experiences resemble their real-world counterparts. It’s a design element that has been popular since users’ real-world lives began colliding with their digital lives. Its purpose is to give users visual and familiar cues so they quickly and easily understand the function behind the form.

Here are some examples of Apple’s Skeuomorphic designs, also known as mimetic, because they mimic real-life objects in a digital space.


Fast-forward to 2016 where a whole slew of new app designs are going through an evolution, including Uber, Instagram, and now Netflix.

User-experience design is gravitating toward a visual language that speaks to simplicity. Netflix is the newest big-name, digitally-focused brand to jump on the brandwagon. It uses a more Metaphorical design language than a Skeuomorphic one. The beauty of its flat design is within its ambiguity. Is it meant to represent a red carpet? A ribbon that is “streaming”? The interconnectedness of the human race and digital services? Three strips of Big Red gum?


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Design territory is just as complex as a Game of Thrones episode, enticing us with the most recent battle between Skeuomorphic design versus Metaphorical design. Metaphorical design makes the leap that the user is intelligent, and doesn’t need as much hand-holding in the design framework. Now that consumers are more connected and familiar with digital than ever before, popular brands can be just as minimal in their logos as McDonald’s Golden Arches and Nike’s Swoosh logo.

It takes confidence to use a lettermark to tell the whole story of your brand within a 180px by 180px framework. If we could all be as recognizable as the first letter of our name (Oprah excluded, but thank you if you’re reading this), you would be a global force to be reckoned with. Lookout for the new Netflix logo coming to an iDevice near you.


SCS surveyed 750 US consumers on how their physical and digital buying habits have changed during the pandemic. These insights and more are presented in Omnichannel Overdrive.

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