If you’re bored with the simplicity and over saturation of flat design, then join the party Christopher Columbus. But luckily, Google is leading the journey to a brave new world. The Internet is once again going round as major influencers of the digital sphere are once again reclaiming design trends with something a little more complex. Google is introducing us all to material design – a design concept utilizing grid-based layouts, responsive animations, padding and more depth effects like light and shadow. Unlike flat design, Material Design incorporate physical surfaces and edges influenced actual pen and ink as opposed to pixels.But there’s more to material design than a flat introduction. Let’s take a dive into the deep end of all things material.
Material Design: A (Brief) History On Design Evolution
The history of material design is short at best. Google developed and announced material design less than a year ago at the Google I/O conference on June 25, 2014 in response to an ever-growing trend in bad design. Remember the late 90s and the discovery of Flash? Yeah, we don’t like to remember it either. Web designers and developers went crazy with incorporating neon colors, 3D and Splash pages in everything and anything. While it may not have been the most esthetically pleasing point in time for the Web, it was our first introduction to virtual graphic interaction and the start to visitor-focused design.
Flash forward to this time last year and the flat design trend. Everything is once again simple in design with clean lines and intuitive navigation. Whitespace is abundant and we feel like a gazelle prancing through the minimalistic fields of scrolling web pages. But something is missing. Our digital world has order but is now lacking that oomph added by all the glitter effects and drop shadows during the turn of the millennia. But Google’s evolution into material design will change all that.
Material Design: Defender Of The Universe
As the Internet gets bigger and the world gets smaller, the necessity for good design has increased as a means of universal communication. Don’t believe us? Take a look at British Company SwiftKey’s recent study on emojis. While the study’s main focus is aimed at analyzing the use of emoji worldwide, there’s one section of the study that caught our eye.
“We tapped into the SwiftKey Cloud vaults and analyzed more than a billion emoji used by speakers of 16 languages around the world…”
Let that sink in for a moment. One simple keyboard language is used universally by over 1 billion people who speak 16 different languages across the globe. Essentially, emoji are the digital equivalent to hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone. As the world becomes more universally equipped to using digital languages in a similar manner, design trends will need to follow suit or risk miscommunicating information to foreign language speakers. Take the restroom compliance sign for example. Anywhere you go in the world, the universal stick figure of a man and a woman directs relief-seekers to the porcelain throne of sanctuary.
According to Google, material design has one goal:
“Develop a single underlying system that allows for a unified experience across platforms and device sizes. Mobile precepts are fundamental, but touch, voice, mouse, and keyboard are all ﬁrst-class input methods.”
Material Design: Principles
Material design is founded on three principles used together to communicate across borders:
- Material is the Metaphor
- Bold, graphic, intentional
- Motion provides meaning
Material Is The Metaphor
Alright, we’re about to blow you mind on this one as it’s both rooted in reality and the imagination. Where the visual meets the cognitive. Clearly defined, yet implied. The material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by the study of paper and ink, yet technologically advanced and open to imagination and magic,” says Google. The design is centered around visual cues we’re already accustomed to, like the use of dark and light to signal depth. Material designers then take it one step further to capitalize on the affordances only allowed by technology.
Bold, Graphic, Intentional
Material design is guided by basic elements of design – grids, color, type, etc. But any and all design elements are used with only the utmost deliberation. Different hues, shapes and lines do more than make a design look pretty, they signify hierarchy and focus the viewer to key aspects and content.
Motion Provides Meaning
Material Design isn’t stagnant – it moves. And like the use of design fundamentals, animation is used deliberately to reinforce behaviors. Think of how you interact within the environment of your daily life. When opening a door, a handle prompts us to pull while a bar tells us to push. This behavior is then reinforced by the door opening. Material design emulates real-life by using meaningful motion to focus attention and maintain continuity.
“Feedback is subtle yet clear. Transitions are efﬁcient yet coherent.”
Material Design: The Beginning Of The End
This is only an introduction to material design. As the year carries on so will its growth and no one’s more excited about it than us. Shark Bite SEO will continue to guide you through this growing trend as it develops along with the rise is mobile users.
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