Skeuomorph

macbook

A skeuomorph [skyoo-uh-mawrf] is a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original. They may be deliberately employed to make the new look comfortably old and familiar, such as copper cladding on zinc pennies or computer printed postage with circular town name and cancellation lines. Historically, high-status items, such as metal tableware, were often recreated for the mass market using ceramics, which were a cheaper material. In certain cases, efforts were made to recreate the rivets in the metal originals by adding pellets of clay to the pottery version.

In the modern era, cheaper plastic items often attempt to mimic more expensive wooden and metal products though they are only skeuomorphic if new ornamentation references original functionality, such as molded screw heads in molded plastic items. Blue jeans have authentic-looking brass rivet caps covering the functional steel rivet beneath, and a pocket watch pocket; digital cameras play a recorded audio clip of a conventional SLR camera mirror slap and shutter opening and closing. Such ornamentation is not necessarily non-functional: the watch pocket is now used for coins, and the camera shutter sound is used to indicate to subject and photographer when the taking of the picture is complete.

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