Considering Material Design? Here's What You Should Know

Published on January 13th, 2021

Harsh Vijay
Co-founder, ruttl

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Have you ever thought there was something similar when you browsed through Google & its web apps? They’re all built on Material, a design framework introduced by Google in 2014, inspired by paper-based design styles.

What is Material Design?

Initially built for Android and now optimized for iOS, Flutter, and the web, Material helps web developers build high-quality, enriched digital experiences. Taking inspiration from the real world and its textures, the framework pays homage to paper and ink mediums by incorporating a play between reflections, lights, and shadows to create a bold and intentional web design.

The goal? To create cohesive user experience across Google’s different web apps. Consistency is one of the key points addressed in Material. It includes guidelines on typography, spacing, grids, scale, colour, images, and more, allowing designers to create hierarchical, meaningful designs.

Seamless transitions and subtle but constant feedback ensure that the user recognizes the elements that appear across different websites and web apps, maintaining continuity and consistency.

Benefits of using Material Design

There are several features that make using Material worth almost any designer’s time but here are our top 3:

1. Structured web design framework

A comprehensive design ecosystem, Material offers guidelines on how to use it for different use cases. It provides structure and clarity to designers looking to solve complex user pain points quickly and easily, reducing time to market and offering cheaper design costs.

2. Extensive yet flexible design library

Maintained and updated by Google, Material boasts an extensive library of components and elements that can be leveraged to create intuitive web designs. Along with dedicated support in the form of guidelines and user forums, designers can also take advantage of the user-friendliness of the framework. From haptic feedback to subtle animations, the how-tos are already incorporated.

3. Mobile-first approach

Created for Android, Material Design enables designers to easily adapt their websites and web apps to be responsive across different mobile devices and screen sizes. It allows creators to incorporate animations in design for user feedback and feature functionality. Recently, Google also released Dark theme options, enabling brands and companies to offer a different yet appealing visual option.

Drawbacks to building on Material Design

Every design framework lacks a few things, and Material is no exception. While all the benefits outweigh the negatives, some of these might be deal breakers for certain designers and clients, and validly so. Here’s a closer look at three drawbacks to material design:

1. Lack of creative expression

Even though Material design offers a fair amount of flexibility, being constrained within their guidelines and existing approaches might not work for some designers who want to express their creativity freely. This also manifests in lazy approaches to problems since there is no scope to add anything new or creative to the framework.

2. Non-Android Websites

Material design can be more complicated than flat design, especially for those working on non-Android websites and web apps. Material is optimized for Android, and while it supports iOS and other operating systems, the fact remains that some of its Android-specific offerings can cause friction.

3. Unoriginal designs

Material design is widely recognizable and associated with Google. For companies that want to establish their own branding, it’s not the best option since the design framework is pretty popular already. Unless the designers know how to manipulate it to make it look different, it’s going to give a very recognizable Google vibe.

At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to which design, Material vs flat, is perfect for the product website. No matter what it is, you can review and perfect it on website feedback tool.

Brucira’s new feedback tool for live website, ruttl, lets you work on web design projects with your team members, clients, and other key stakeholders to create sleek, stunning, and beautiful designs.

Want to redesign your website? Reach out to us at hello@brucira.com.

Check out past examples of our work to see both Material and flat design in action.

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