What is Material Design and why it is so popular


There are many design concepts in the world that allow you to clearly and competently form the structure of the interface and beautifully present it to users. One of them is Material Design. I will tell you what it is useful for and what are the main features of this approach.

Material Design is…

Material Design is a design system invented and introduced by Google in 2014. This is not just a guideline for a single visual design – thanks to it, the interfaces of all products and services of the corporation were unified, including the Android OS. As a result, their combination is perceived as a single digital system, thus creating a new user experience and ensuring the penetration of corporate services in all spheres of human life.

Prior to the introduction of this concept, the design did not differ significantly in different products, or even in different versions of the same service (mobile and desktop). This made it difficult for users to navigate when switching between them. Even trying to develop a single style of Android Holo application did not solve the problem – people were still confused in the interfaces. Only with the transition to the principle of Material Design user experience was improved.


Why do you need it

As mentioned earlier, Material Design is designed to unify interfaces in the company’s products and services. According to Google developers, interface objects should have an analogue, a metaphor in the real world. And as a metaphor, they took plain paper and ink. Due to this, an association with the real world was created and the use of familiar tactile characteristics, depth.

Paper in Material Design, just like in the real world, is thin and flat, and has a shadow. In addition to traditional physical qualities, it also has a certain amount of “magic” – animation. This solution makes it easier for the user to understand the principles of the software and the transitions from one state to another. It turns out that the animation both enlivens the interface and shows the user how everything works.

Material Design

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Basic principles of Material Design

The concept of Material Design is based on 4 principles:

  1. Tactile surfaces. The basis of space formation is “digital paper”. Some of its leaves are located at different heights and cast shadows on each other. In addition, they can also stretch, change shape and color, and connect with each other. Due to this, users better understand how the system is arranged and what its hierarchy is.
  2. Printing design. This means that the interface for digital devices uses traditional tools and approaches to graphic design. Let’s say that on “digital paper” the elements are displayed using “digital ink”.
  3. Meaningful animation. Here the animation does not just jump out of nowhere, but appears according to the logic of the system. That is, one object, responding to user actions, smoothly transforms into another.
  4. Adaptive design. It’s simple – the interface must be optimized on all devices and screens, regardless of which product we take as an example. At the same time, everything should look, work and react everywhere.

Material design example

Other features

They follow the basic principles of Material Design and are as follows:

  • The presence of depth of shadows. It gives volume to the usual flat design and thus sets a certain functionality – the designation of the structure of the elements. For example, the higher the rise of the object, the more the shadow fit.
  • Contrasting printing house. By itself, typography sets the style of the brand and creates the structure of the content. In the second case, this is clearly seen in the example of titles – they are highlighted in a larger and darker font. This allows you to create a contrast between the headings and the typed text, which is both functional and beautiful.Printing house
  • Modular grid. This technique came from printing design. The parts are arranged according to the key guides. The grid creates indentations and better demonstrates the structure of information.
  • Bright colours. There are basic and accent colors in this concept. The purpose of the primary color is to mark large areas. The accent is a little brighter, used pointwise and in small quantities to highlight controls such as buttons, indicators and so on. Thus, it allows you to draw the user’s attention to key details.
  • Reaction animation Any object must respond solely to user actions, whether it’s tapping on mobile devices or hovering over desktop versions.
  • From general to partial. This principle is to reduce the amount of information provided, while reducing the screen size. Accordingly, on large displays you can show lists and more detailed information. But on small screens, you can make a drop-down list, or even transfer details to a new screen.


The benefits of Material Design

At Google at creation of Material Design focused on experience of the user and functionality of details of system. As a result, the interface becomes simpler and more expressive. Animation is the main element of the system, thanks to which the following accents are made:

  1. Demonstration of relationships. Thanks to the animation, the hierarchy becomes simple and clear, a person can easily understand what will happen when you click on a particular part.
  2. Focusing attention. Animation in no way distracts from the main influence, which corresponds to the third principle – its awareness.
  3. Expression. Each product of the company has its own special character, style and all this is clearly reflected in the animated details.
  4. Teaching. People can easily understand how to perform certain actions.
  5. attractiveness. Even if you exclude the practical component, the whole animation itself looks quite interesting. As a result, the user is interested and wants to interact with the product.

Design for Android 12

Material Design 3 for Android 12

Thanks to the concept of Material Design, many companies have reconsidered their approaches to creating design elements. In particular, the animation from the add-on has become almost a full-fledged part of the interface. At the head of all this was the user experience, its optimization and simplification. This approach has become popular and has set the direction for the development of all digital design.

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