Image from Google’s Material website

Material Design Just Got a Lot More Flexible and Fun

Volume 86 - three minute read

May 18th, 2018

Google unveiled the new version of Material at their latest I/O this year. With the uproar for Duplex, which is a whole other conversation, I think there has been an overlook in comparison when it comes to the new Material and what an improvement it is.

When the first version of Material came out in 2014, it had quite the potential but over time started to feel like an inconsistent skin at times for both web and mobile apps. For me personally it didn’t feel unique at all and wasn’t something I looked forward to designing or developing with.

But, with Google I/O 2018, a whole new way to look at Material design came into play. No longer is it supposed to be a harsh guideline for style and activity; it’s an underlying system of well-thought out patterns that not only help users be more familiar, but it makes the design decision side of things easier.

Google has now provided a true design system without limiting visuals and allowing companies to express their brand in their app while still keeping the user experience intact (when used correctly of course). Everything from navigation, buttons, grids, typography, actions, etc. is now seemingly limitless in the look and feel desired.

Examples from Google’s Material Applying Color Page

Take these examples provided by Google using Material 2.0. They have familiar concepts and ideas of shadow and depth, but they all feel and look completely different. The user experience is still intact while letting these “brands” express their own character and quirks through different stylistic aspects (big fan of that angled border radius addition by the way).

While I’m curious about the approach to designing for Material from now on as it’s applicable in my field of work, these new updates to Material leave me feeling excited to see what apps will do given these new capabilities. I’m also very hopeful that we will get apps that stand out as much as well-crafted iOS apps do given these new tools for customization and brand-adaptability.

Dennis Cortés
Product Designer at MetaLab. I also code, illustrate, write weekly articles, and produce music. Hispanic. Pokémon Master.