New Material Design innovations in 2018

By Andy |  May 18, 2018 (4 min read)

Design | Web Development

With the launch of Gmail’s new design, we have seen new features such as the Snooze and Smart Reply features. But alongside these changes, there has been a renewed focus on Material Design.

Google first pioneered Material Design in 2014 with the creation of Google Now. Although the Now service has faded into the background, the design system has grown stronger.

In fact, since it’s launch, Google’s Material Design has influenced web design trends dramatically. Sites such as Dropbox, Tumblr, and Reddit have now adopted elements of Material Design into the sites.

Touchy-feely design

The concept behind Material Design is to give a real-world feel to the virtual screen. Combing the best of mobile app interactivity, it makes the user feel more engaged in using the web.

As Matias Duarte, Google’s VP of Design explained Material has physical surfaces and edges. Seams and shadows provide meaning about what you can touch.”

Mixing and Maxing

The use of grid-based layouts, depth effects like lighting and shadows, animations and white space are helping web designers to create robust and beautiful designs.

Material Design also encourages designers to mix and match between color palettes, fonts, and layer styles. Vibrant color palettes and unique color combinations can help elements to stand out for the end-user.

Open Source

Another appealing element of Material Design is the open-source nature and large community adoption of the design standards, making templates, code snippets, and multiple design frameworks all available via GitHub.

Google’s Material Design Innovations in 2018

At the recent Google I/O developer festival (held outdoors in Mountain View CA), Google announced new features for its Material.io resource. New features announced at Google I/O were:

Material Theming: this allows customization of your Material Design app to reflect your product’s brand better. For example, developers can now make a small change to color or font and the change will be applied across the theme.

Theme Editor: Material Theming is brought to life with the new Theme Editor, a plugin for Sketch design toolkit. This lets designers and developers better customize their web designs while still following the Material Design guidelines.

New Icons: Google also announced a new group of open-source icons. These are grouped into five categories (outlined, rounded, filled, two-toned, and sharp) that all follow the Material Design guidelines.


As web designers always looking for innovations, we see these additions as another step forward. Material Design is today becoming a part of the way the web works today. As Google pushes forward with changes to Chrome and Google news in the coming months, we can likely expect even more companies to adopt the Material Design approach.

Most importantly, beyond looking and feeling great, it makes the user experience for visitors more organized, intuitive and enjoyable.


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