Back in the early 2010s, skeuomorphic design was at its peak. Apple apps were the gold standard of visual design, and they all tried to mimic real-world objects and textures as realistically as possible.
This lead to designers using a plethora of textures and depth, turning every Photoshop doc into a complicated mess of layer styles.
Right before the skeuomorphic trend was about to start ebbing away, a designer named Visual Idiot came with the idea of a Layer Style Diet. The site doesn’t exist anymore, but I was able to pull it up from the Wayback Machine.
The CSS is broken, but the message remains:
Your simplest work is your best. True aesthetics are being hidden behind unneccessary gradients, shadows, and patterns.
Layer Style Diet presents a simple challenge: for one project only, be it a site, logo, icon set, or any other form of work, do not use any layer styles or effects.
It’s time to go on a diet. I challenge you to build something without a framework, or follow along and learn something along the way.
I’m going to write about everything I learned while building Mailcoach without a framework, from setting up some basic utility functions to get up and running, to building components almost every app needs like modals and dropdowns.