Like most designers, I’ve read more articles, blog posts, and tweets about Flat Design versus Skeuomorphic design over the past several months than I care to have. And to be clear - I’m not here to continue that discussion.

If you aren’t familiar with the debatroversy, there are plenty of places to read more about it. I will spare you, as the point of this article is not to be yet another post about which is better.

All I’m here to say, is that it is simply that this is really the wrong discussion. Asking whether flat design is better than skeuomorphic design is like asking whether a hammer is better than a drill. It’s the wrong question, because the answer completely depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

The reality is that flat design and skueomorphic design are both just ways of designing - “styles” if you will. They merely represent two particular tools at the disposal of any designer, among many such tools.

I’m honestly a bit shocked at how out of hand this discussion has gotten, with everyone having such strong opinions on one side or the other. The dichotomy that has evolved between these two design methods is astounding, really.

If you ask me, “skeuomorphism or flat design,” I say simply, “Yes.” It’s not an either/or question. They both have their place in the design sphere, as both are suited to accomplish certain goals better than the other.

This whole debatroversy is about the wrong question. The question we as designers should be focusing on is, “what are the goals of the project?”

Then - and only then, once we have sufficiently addressed topics like “who is this project aimed at,” “what are the unique needs of it’s audience,” “what characteristics of the medium which this design will be presented through do we need to consider” - can we begin to address any considerations of style itself.

And in the end, that’s all that flat-design or skeuomorphism really is: a style. So let’s stay focused on the right question.