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Tracing the rise of 'authentic' digital design

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iOS 7 Control Center press
iOS 7 Control Center press

Apple's unveiling of a radically redesigned iOS last month at WWDC reignited a discussion about the merits of the more simplified, "authentic" design style that we've already seen Microsoft and Google push across the majority of their products. For those who want to go deeper into how Apple got to the point where it thought fake leather calenders were good design and why it's finally time for the company to move away from its skeuomorphic past, check out this article from Smashing Magazine. It traces design trends back to 19th century architecture, noting how many buildings were heavily ornamented with machine-produced decorations meant to mimc the hand-crafted styles of previous decades — a design trend that was decidedly inauthentic.

Similarly, the massively-increased computing power of the last decade led to design styles that now seem a bit overbearing — with OS X's "lickable" interface and Windows Vista's Aero glass called out as prime offenders. Essentially, design flourishes like the OS X leather calendar and iOS's yellow notepad reference, static, real-life designs that have physical constraints, unlike the dynamic, ever-changing nature of the digital canvas. Check out the full article for details on how design trends have evolved over the last century and why we're entering an era of "authentic" digital design.