As of this writing towards the end of June 2014, it’s become increasingly evident that Google is now no longer that odd, awkward techie maladroit at the party with funny copycat socks, but has significantly evolved into a savvy agent of design craft (see “Kennedy” and “Material”) and cultural value (see cars, shopping, weepy ads). Who woulda thunk it?? But it’s true and it’s real. It’s time to cast aside former assumptions and acknowledge that Google is now a true force for well-considered, beautifully articulated design in the world. And as a field, we are much better for it, through the ongoing contest of ideas and philosophies pushing & pulling at each other…enabling innovation as well as emergent vanguards for taste and quality.
More specifically, coming out of Google I/O, the new “Material” design language & system represents the latest shift towards a sophisticated, systematic statement of design grounded in a pervasive and integrated metaphor of “material”, across platforms and services. Whether “pixels” are indeed a bonafide “material” is discussion for another time ;-) Yet, the vision is literally and conceptually all coming together as a unified whole with a unifying aesthetic amplified by subtle motion and refined typography. For some designers in the field, this suggests a worthy competitive difference to Apple’s iOS design language, with even more defined clarity and focus.
// More info here:
Google Material style guide: http://www.google.com/design/spec/material-design/introduction.html
Material Design Principles overview: http://thenextweb.com/google/2014/06/26/google-explains-principles-material-design-language-android-chrome-web/
Professional designers’ reactions to Material: http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/27/top-designers-react-to-googles-new-material-design-language/
And before Material there was Kennedy, which was Google’s initial big company-wide push for a well-defined aesthetic, thanks in part to Larry Page’s executive call: http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/24/3904134/google-redesign-how-larry-page-engineered-beautiful-revolution