What Google’s new Material Design means for the designer


My project manager came in and shows me what Google have just released. Material Design. I was like material? What material? Well, Google rolled out its new design of its Android, Chrome OS and web properties called Material Design. Its meant to make better use of available space and bring a consistent user experience whether viewed on a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

matiasDuarte“Design is essential in today’s world, it defines your experience and emotions.” –

Matias Duarte, Vice President Design

Going where Microsoft and Apple have gone before, Google is attempting to create a design language that can bridge its platforms. At Google I/O, they demonstrated new smooth animations, improved typography and Google apps.

SO why Material?

Material is the metaphor. A material metaphor is the unifying theory of a rationalized space and system of motion. Its an approach founded on the fact that surfaces and edges provide visual cues for users that are grounded in our experience of reality. The use of familiar tactile attributes helps us quickly understand a system’s affordances or how we can use it. Very cool.

What does this mean?


  • The addition of dimensionality in Material Design will gives animations fundamentals of light, surface and movement showcasing how objects interact.
  • One adaptive design organizes interactions and space. Each device a user is one, reflects a different view of the same underlying system.
  • Content is bold, graphic and intentional
  • Color, surface and iconography emphasize actions
  • Animation and all actions take place in a single environment and are presented to the user without breaking the continuity of experience even as they transform and reorganize.

Okay and for me the designer?

1. A unified set of design guidelines with best practices in order to build consistent beautiful experiences.
2. Get baseline grids that work across mobile, tablet and laptop screens
3. Use of one typeface
4. New animation capabilities
5. 3D views with realtime shadows
6. Activity transitions with shared hero elements

Okay, I can breath. Thought I would have to read a whole telephone directory. To read more about how the Top designers have reacted to Google’s Material, click here.

To understand what I am talking about, here is Matias Duarte’s speech at Google I/O


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