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Google VP of design Matias Duarte talks origin of Material Design and more in interview


In a sit down interview with Gizmodo, Google’s Vice President of Design Matias Duarte talked about the company’s “L” release of Android in extensive detail. Duarte talked about a variety of aspects of the new design language and how it came to be. Duarte said that the idea of Material Design originated when Google realized that it had a very big problem. The company wanted to design an interface that anyone, developers and users, could take advantage of.

We had a really big problem. It wasn’t just a problem about going beyond phones and tablets, which was clearly something we wanted to do—we wanted to design for all these different screen sizes. And it wasn’t just the problem of going to multiple platforms and form-factors, right? It’s not just Android and web across all these form-factors. And it also wasn’t just the problem of “We want a design system that’s good for Google.” We wanted it to be a design system that anybody can use to really express their brand and their identity and their needs and capabilities.

Duarte also went on to talk about the of elements of Material Design that could make their way to other Google’s products. Duarte noted that the presentation at I/O was Google unveiling the basis of Material Design and it’s palate. The company believes that anyone, inside and outside of Google, could use that palate and implement the Material Design feel in to their own brands. When asked about Nest, Duarte noted that even though Google acquired the company, it still operates as a separate company. Duarte didn’t know whether Nest would implement Material Design into its products.

What you’ve seen a lot of yesterday [at the I/O keynote], was Google revealing that palate to the world, and showing how we’re going to use it, in a very Googley, opinionated way. With a lot of white space; a lot of bright, optimistic colors; some cheerful, poppy animations; things that are inherently Googley. Maybe a little more sophisticated, more modern Googley than the past Googliness, and with a bit more design savvy, but it’s very much Google’s style.Right now Nest is owned by Google, but is operated like a separate company. They have their own brand aesthetic. It’s actually fairly similar to Google. I don’t know how they’re going to use Material, or if they’re going to choose to use it. I hope they will, and if they do I’m sure they’ll do it in a way that makes sense for their brand.

You can read Duarte’s entire interview on Gizmodo. The exec goes into a lot of details about how the company built Android “L” and all of the animations that go with it.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller


Chance currently writes for both 9to5Google and 9to5Mac, in addition to 9to5Toys.