Material You is the future of Google’s design for Android and beyond

Material You is the future of Google’s design for Android and beyond

Google has evolved its Material design language ever since its introduction in Android 5.0 Lollipop, and in recent years, the company has been moving towards a flatter and more monochrome design. Today at Google I/O, an updated version of Material Design was announced with a focus on customization, called ‘Material You’.

Material You is a new variation of Material Design, coming to first to Pixel phones and Google applications, with later rollouts planned for Wear OS and other platforms. It has a greater emphasis on using all available screen space (perhaps Google apps will work well on Android tablets for once?), with several Google-made color palettes available to choose from.

The updated design language combines the newer interface elements from Google’s current Material Design standard, but re-introduces the color that has been missing from many apps for the past few years. It’s great to see color come back to Android.

Most importantly, Material You features an upgraded version of the color/design customization that has been available in Android (and featured on Pixel phones) for a few years. You can set your own color swatches, contrast, element sizes, and line widths. In a way, Material You is embracing one of Android’s greatest strengths since its introduction — endless customization. The customizations can even sync across devices.

Google wrote in a blog post, “We mix color science with years of investment in the disciplines of interaction design and engineering to make it possible to tailor any app—not just Google’s—to the user’s unique Material palette in real time. Material You includes users as co-creators, delivering a mode for every mood.”

Material You will arrive as part of Android 12, and Google says it will share more details in the coming weeks. The design shift is described as a “multiyear journey,” so much like the original rollouts of Material Design and Google’s Material Theme (also known as ‘Material Design 2.0’), it will likely be a while before all of Google’s apps are migrated to the new style.

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also written for Android Police and PC Gamer. Get in touch with him at [email protected]