Hate skeuomorphism? Hate the way Apple’s slathering all of its apps with faux dead cow skin? Tough luck, because you know whose idea it was? Steve Jobs himself.
Can’t believe it? It’s apparently true. Fast Company spoke to former Apple designers who say that the sudden burst of skeuomorphic designs in OS X and iOS aren’t Scott Forstall’s doing, but Steve Jobs’s, who was so taken with the leather pattern on his private jet that he pushed the same pattern upon iCal.
But before Forstall, it was Steve Jobs who encouraged the skeuomorphic approach, some say. “iCal’s leather-stitching was literally based on a texture in his Gulfstream jet,” says the former senior UI designer. “There was lots of internal email among UI designers at Apple saying this was just embarrassing, just terrible.”
And what about Game Center? Steve Jobs himself pushed hard for it to look like a casino:
Perhaps the most infamous culprit of this design direction is Apple’s Game Center, the social-gaming app that’s dressed in a lacquered wood and green felt that lends it the feel of a casino. “Steve pushed very hard to have everything–the felt-cloth table, the game chips–look like they would in real life,” says another former Apple designer. “Internally, a lot of people were shocked by the richness. Many think it’s gone too far.”
It’s worth noting, of course, that Steve Jobs has long embraced skeuomorphism. Remember when every surface of OS X was lacquered with fake brushed metal? In fact, the Mac operating system is one of the first major examples of skeuomorphic computer design: Mac OS was supposed to look like a virtual desktop. Of course Steve Jobs loved skeuomorphism. That doesn’t make the recent design blunders of apps like Calendar and Game Center any less embarrassing though.