Posted Friday 13 December 2013
Software designers often take inspiration from real-world objects to make the virtual world easier to use – for example, those folders on your PC desktop are made of pixels not folded card.
Apple took this kitchy creativity to the ultimate level when its smartphones and tablet computers started to feature life-like magazines (with thumbable pages) stacked on wood-effect shelves. Such objects – designed to look like things made of a different material – are known as 'skeuomorphs'.
Now Kingston Illustration Animation BA(Hons) students Carrie Bale, Doug Hindson and Jooyoung Ryu have taken their own skewed look at the iPhone and hand built their own 'working' version, featuring wooden apps and paper pages that actually fold.
"As part of a uni brief we were tasked with animating an iconic design object and the ubiquitous iPhone was an obvious choice," explained Doug. "Our slant on it was to look at the software on the phone itself. Up until recently the interface was heavily 'skeuomorphic'; we loved the idea of replicating those design elements in the materials they themselves were imitating."
"We also wanted to highlight the routine of everyday living through the apps and the reliance we have on iPhones," added Carrie. "Playing with digital formats in an analogue, handmade approach was really enjoyable and working on such a big scale was exciting. We finished the project in one week from concept, development and then production, and found that planning was key to its success."
When Apple launched its new operating system iOS 7, it turned its back on skeuomorphisms. The realistic wood effects and drop shadows that had been a feature of iPhones and iPads since 2007 have been replaced with clean-edged, flat colours. Though the students couldn't resist including them in their giant handmade phone; in this case, the shadows and pages are real and the resulting animation wouldn't be out of place in a TV ad for a tech giant.
Find out more about studying Illustration Animation BA(Hons) at Kingston University.