Google Introduces Material Design

Today at I/O 2014, Google introduced their new Material Design guidelines as part of a company-wide design revamp. These are a series of design principles that underpin the new visual language of Google:

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. This is material design.

Firstly, the designs and visual language itself looks great. Simple, striking, confident and distinctive. Google (and Android) are finally starting to look like a cohesive whole.

Second, unlike Microsoft’s Metro/Modern/Windows app-style linguistic clusterbomb, this term Material Design is simple, and easy to remember. You’d be surprised how important it is to have a catch-all term like that to describe what you mean. Microsoft had it, and they blew it. Google is smart to get that idea–that terminology–locked down from the get-go.

Third, the documentation is superb, and surprisingly simple to follow. Instead of waxing lyrical about what they want in words, they’ve made a bunch of very specific visual examples, including dos and don’ts for broad concepts like animation, layout and typography, as well as incredibly specific details like switches, buttons and cards.

Even a talentless schlub like me can follow what they mean with these examples. If I was a Android developer, I’d be absolutely stoked. What’s the best way to handle a dialog box? Oh no worries, I’ll just look it up right here.