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Spells Digest #23

Hey folks! 👋 Let's talk skeuomorphism. Many regard the pre-iOS 7 era to be the golden age of skeuomorphism, when apps looked like they were made of wood or leather, and the voice memos app featured a 3D microphone. And then came iOS 7 and flat design, ending skeuomorphism forever. Or so we thought.

Lately, skeuomorphism seems to be making a comeback in product design, but not in the same capacity as before. We're seeing more apps take a hybrid approach of flat simple UI design, with minor elements of skeuomorphism throughout the app (like the Airbnb spell below).

Due to its additional level of detail, skeuomorphism is often criticized for contributing to cognitive overload. Which is why we love this new hybrid approach! Apps are functionally flat, and skeuomorphism is used in small doses, with delight and nostalgia as the goal.

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There are a bajillion email tools out there — we built Buttondown because none of them worked the way I wanted them to. Some were super-powerful and super-complicated, designed for huge companies who were spending all day tweaking templates + workflow automations. We just wanted a small, elegant tool that let me collect subscribers and email them easily, with no fuss and at a reasonable price point.

You can read this issue online too if you like! Without further ado, here is the latest roundup of spells from the past 2 weeks:

If you enjoyed this roundup of design details, feel free to let us know! You can reach us on X/Twitter, Threads, Mastodon, or reply directly to this email. Suggestions are always welcome as well!

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Stay spellbound,
The Design Spells Team

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