In praise of skeuomorphs

I reflected today on the fact that my four-year-old makes a "click" sound when she's playing with a toy camera because that's the MP3 that my phone plays when I take her picture. A number of people pointed out that this is an example of a skeuomorph, "a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original." The Wikipedia entry on the subject's fascinating in the extreme:

* Decorative stone features of Greek temples such as mutules, guttae, and modillions that are derived from true structural/functional features of the early wooden temples
* Ornamental pylons framing modern bridges, such as the twin 89 metre pylons at each end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They do not support anything, and are there only to frame the structure itself and make it look more like a traditional bridge.
* An early pottery butter churn, at the Jaffa Museum, shaped rather like an American football, imitating the shape of its predecessors, which were made of hide.
* Injection-molded plastic sandals that replicate woven strips of leather
* Artificial film grain added to digitally-shot movies to give a softer, more expensive effect and the expected "shimmer" of the grain pattern between successive frames
* Various spoke patterns in automobile hubcaps and wheels leftover from carriage wheel construction

Skeuomorph

(Image: Chevy Volt Skeuomorph, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from tylerbell's photostream)

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