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Big Material Design announcements at Google I/O 2018

4 min read
Emily Esposito  •  May 14, 2018
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Google’s been busy. In late April, Gmail debuted its new look, complete with a new color scheme, more white space, and refined icons. Google Chrome is also testing a new design, rolled out to Chrome Canary (an experimental browser for developers).

These design changes led to a lot of online speculation about the launch of “Material Design 2,” the second iteration of Google’s design language.

Related: Designing in the Material style, without just copying Google

This week, we got some answers. At the annual Google I/O developer conference, Google announced several updates to Material Design, but did not specifically call those changes Material Design 2. Google’s VP of Design, Matias Duarte, told Android Headlines that his team didn’t want to invalidate the original Material Design guidelines, but instead wanted to show that they’re evolving.

Let’s dive into these announcements:

Material Theming

Material Theming “refers to the customization of your Material Design app to better reflect your product’s brand.” In other words, developers can make a small change to color or font and have that change be applied across the theme.

“Theming lets anyone consistently and systematically express their unique style across a product,” the team explains in TechCrunch. “When you make just a few decisions about color and typography, for example, it’s simple to apply the direction throughout the environment.”

New icon sets

Google also announced a group of open-source icons in five different groups (filled, outlined, rounded, two-toned, and sharp) that all follow the Material Design guidelines.

You can download the icons here.

Google is not slowing down

More Google apps and tools continue to get makeovers. Also at Google I/O, Google debuted its revamped Google News program, redesigned using Material Design and tackling three goals: “helping users keep up with stories they care about, helping those users understand stories fuly, and making it easier for users to support news organizations they trust.”

And Google just updated Google Drive with newer Material Design elements, making it more responsive, efficient, and cohesive with the rest of the G Suite apps.

Stay tuned for more Google updates on Material Design, complete with new pre-built design components that will launch later this year.