Death to Material Design
Material Design is something you’re probably familiar with, if you’re reading this article based on the title. Material is Google’s branded design and interaction framework announced at the June, 2014 Google I/O conference (There’s a reason “branded” is bolded in that description).
I often hear people refer to projects they are working on as “Material”. Dribbble is riddled with examples of this. I see innumerable wireframes out there that to my mind are just greyscale versions of the material design site.
As a designer, the navigation on Material’s site- or dare I say: table of contents- smacks of something familiar. Style guide, possibly? Why yes, yes it does. Probably because that’s exactly what it is.
Whatever Google’s intention was for making Material public is irrelevant to me. If you are a UX specialist or designer and you “use” Material or refer to projects as “Material”, I’m may have a hard time respecting you.
Before your tiny little baby, can’t even feed itself yet, ego gets too bruised, let me make it clear that this is somewhat personal for me.
I’m a designer because I couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t grind out a career as an artist. But that’s another Medium write up. What I’m saying is I already feel like a sell-out often enough. So, when some lazy millennial get’s excited that they basically copied and pasted an interaction from Material’s style guide and then spent hours recreating it in After Effects, my kidneys start to hurt. I didn’t sell out to then not have any original thoughts. I already work in a framework everyday. Why would I want to inception that framework with yet another?
Hey look, I have no doubt there are things we all can learn from Material. And truly there is nothing new under the sun, so, be inspired by it. But Google and Apple don’t have a strangle-hold on design and interaction patterns. Well, they do… but fuck that.
If my job was simply to integrate Material patterns into a project, I would quit today. There would be no need for me. Anyone can do that. Jeez, there are multiple sites now that are just Twitter Bootstrap themed with Material design and interaction patterns.
Look familiar? Zero design needed. Blam boom, you’re done. Grab your critter pants or Ed Hardy gear and celebrate at you’re nearest douchey watering-hole. I recommend Don Tito’s if you live near Arlington, VA. I however, need to believe I come to work everyday to fail at trying something new. And every once in a while I hit. Sometimes, I hit big. I can live with that. The day I decide I have nothing new to add is not the day I start using Material. It’s the day I retire to make surfboards that don’t work in the south of France.
We all deserve better than mediocrity. And Material’s usage in the design world is the equivalent of “Farm-to-table” in the culinary world. It’s fucking mediocre. We don’t need anymore sheep in this industry, we need wolves. Have a perspective you believe in. Embed that perspective into your projects and your client projects. It may not get you a lot of likes or followers on dribbble, but then again, maybe it will.