The Ground-breaking Possibilities with Neumorphism
It all started with skeuomorphism, when designers tried to fill the digital interface with elements resembling the real world. It was a big hit.
Then flat design came into the market, and people went ga-ga over it. Google produced its own set of guidelines for using flat designs.
But the human mind gets bored quickly. It always demands something new. So, now they brought in flat design with a twist. We call this modern Material design. Designers introduced subtle gradients and shadows in flat design, and started creating something new. Elements started floating on the background.
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Modern Material design is still doing pretty good, and probably has a long way to go. But one day, a designer named Alexander Plyuto created something that was a lot like skeuomorphic design but a lot modern. It was like new skeuomorphism. A comment on Medium by Jason Kelley suggested the name “neuomorphism‘. Michal Malewicz decided to skip the “o”, and the term “neumorphism” was coined.
Out of the blue came a new design style, and Dribbble is already filled with over 200 posts created in this style. So, there’s no questioning its popularity.
We created something too!
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Why is Neumorphism so popular?
It is fresh. It is new. And as human nature demands, it’s a change from the regular gradients and shadows and floating elements we are used to seeing around us. Most importantly, it has a strong resemblance with the real world. We love it when digital products look realistic, don’t we?
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Will Neumorphism last?
To answer this question, we will have to dive deep, and gauge the pros and cons of this style.
The freshness of the design seems to be the only point it has scored for now. There are huge scopes in future though; I’ll come to that later.
Unfortunately, neumorphism lost 2 points here.
1. Accessibility issue:
Since the entire design style is based on lights and shadows, it does not have a good contrast ratio. This is a big no-no in accessibility.
Technically, it’s a game of using two different shadows — a light one and a dark one. Now, if someone tries to increase the contrast through shadows, the design will lose its essence, and will look loud, not to mention, ugly.
2. Spacing issue:
Since every element uses two shadows, the overall space used by an element is more than its flat counterpart.
This will make it difficult to implement this style when we have several elements to arrange on a screen.
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So, is Neumorphism just a phase?
Neumorphism does not have to stand alone throughout an application design. It can be merged with modern Material design. Instead of making every element stand out, let’s try to use neumorphism only on those elements that need to stand out.
Some beautiful people have used this blend to create some really beautiful concepts:
This way, both modern Material and neumorphism can co-exist happily. The good news is happiness does not end here.
The accessibility and space issues I mentioned above can also be resolved. For example, see how cleverly Morgan uses contrasting icons for every element. Ariel, in his subscription app, has also used a prominent Subscribe button in modern flat style.
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What else can be done with Neumorphism?
Here comes the exciting part. Trust me.
Tanvas has already exploited tactile design to build an interface where you can feel the elements. This is an awesome innovation for the visually impaired. It can also be used for retail where customers can feel the material, for car dashboards where one won’t have to look at the dashboard to see which element they are tapping on; they can feel the differently designed buttons while keeping eyes on the road, for gaming, and for many other sectors.
A good demonstration can be found on Tanvas’s video on YouTube.
With neumorphic design on the screens, tactile design can reach a whole new level. While people with visibility issues will find it easier to distinguish between elements on the screen, those with sound visibility will enjoy interaction with products with an almost realistic look and feel.
The possibilities of using both of these in product design is endless. Oh! I’m already excited to feel neumorphic designs!!
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As all good things must come to an end (for a very short while), our discussion on what neumorphic design might have in store for itself comes to an end here (for now). We will keep looking for ideas to implement this brilliant design style (Thanks a lot, Alex!). As soon as we find one, we will let you know.
Till then, keep that creative spark alive!
Talk to you soon!