Today I learned a new word: Skeuomorph.
A skeuomorph ... is a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original. Skeuomorphs may be deliberately employed to make the new look comfortably old and familiar, such as copper cladding on zinc pennies or computer printed postage with circular town name and cancellation lines. An alternative definition is "an element of design or structure that serves little or no purpose in the artifact fashioned from the new material but was essential to the object made from the original material.
Some example cited include:
- Various spoke patterns in automobile hubcaps and wheels leftover from carriage wheel construction
- Fake woodgrain printing on thousands of modern items of plastic, Formica, or pressboard furniture
- Fake stitching in plastic items that used to be made of leather or vinyl and actually stitched together
- Tiny, non-functional handles on small maple syrup jugs
- Elaborate lacing on children's Velcro-secured shoes
- Digital depictions of buttons, sliders, dials, turning pages and other mechanical controls on the buttonless surface of touchscreen devices