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Material Design is Google's new visual look for Android, Chrome OS, and more

Material Design is Google's new visual look for Android, Chrome OS, and more

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Google has just revealed a new design language for Android, Chrome OS, and the web. The new look — which was first previewed in a Google+ app update last month — includes splashes of color, refreshed iconography, typography, and a more consistent interface hierarchy. The entire interface is based on what Google calls a "unifying theory of a rationalized space and a system of motion." A video released by Google shows the new design language in action, with radically redesigned versions of Google's apps for Android and the web, including Gmail and Calendar.

A large focus of the redesign is bringing the interface in line with reality. On stage at I/O, Google's Android head Matias Duarte emphasized that elements, transitions, and animations should appear as if in real life. "Our material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by our study of paper and ink, yet open to imagination and magic," says Google of the new design language. What that translates to is "material" effects that react to your touch, perhaps with a gentle ripple emanating from a touch point on the phone dialer.

Google Material Design Photos


Bright colors and playful transitions are present throughout Google's new interface, representing the first real departure from the "Holo" UI introduced with Android 4.0 in 2012. Holo came with design guidelines for app makers, which at the time helped unify the disparate styles that independent developers had used for their apps. That consistency has changed the face of Android, and although Google has only demonstrated its own Material Design apps so far, it's releasing a comprehensive set of guidelines and tools for developers to create web and Android apps in line with the new style. Google's refreshed phone and tablet apps will come with the "L" release of Android later this year, but they're available to developers from today.

You can get a little taste of Material Design for yourself over at Google's Polymer Project, where one of the web apps Duarte demoed on stage is live for anyone with a Chrome browser to explore.