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Published on May 14, 2015
Nicholas Jitkoff, Design Lead and Jessica Huang, UI Designer, presents an approach to cross-product, cross-platform design using tangible surfaces, bold graphic design, and meaningful motion. Material Design won Gold Prize for Best Contribution to UX at the 2014 UX Awards in San Francisco.
When we started building for the first mobile devices, mobile meant less: less screen space, slower connection, fewer features. A mobile experience was often a lesser experience. But mobile devices have evolved—they have become more powerful, faster, and more intuitive—so must our approach to design. We challenged ourselves to create a visual language for our users that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science. We called it material design. A material metaphor is the unifying theory of a rationalized space and a system of motion. Our material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by our study of paper and ink, yet open to imagination and magic. In material design, surface and shadow establish a physical structure to explain what can be touched and what can move. Content is front and center, using principles of modern print design. Motion is meaningful, clarifying relationships and teaching with delightful details. And as Google, including the Android platform, expands into new form factors, we’re using this design to bridge devices across mobile, desktop, and beyond. At Google I/O, we introduced material design to the public. We needed something that felt at home on the smallest watch, the largest TV, and every screen in between. We used it for Android Wear, our project to extend Android wearables, as well as Android TV, and Android Auto. So as developers and designers create applications and services for this expansive new range of devices, we’re building one unified set of style guidelines that works across any platform. An initial draft of these guidelines is available on google.com/design. This is a first step; we recognize that design is never finished, only built upon by better design. We believe a design system should be consistent, coherent, but not static. Material design will grow and evolve.