Google's Material Design update: You'll be seeing new-looking Android, iOS apps

Google updates Material Design and releases new tools to give developers more flexibility in how apps look.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google has updated Material Design and released a new tool for developers called Material Theming, which aims to help them customize apps faster.

The new tool aims to help developers stay faithful to Google's Material Design system for buttons and navigation, yet still add touches that reflect a brand's individual identity.

Material Theming tools have already been used by teams at Gmail, Google News, Google Play, and Google Home to customize Material Design features to suit each product's functionality.

Google's head of Material Design, Matías Duarte, told The Verge that Material Design became a victim of its own success, with developers treating it as "gospel", resulting in a sea of similar-looking apps.

See: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF)

Material Theming, which works via a plugin for the prototyping app Sketch, will allow designers to adjust Material buttons, bottom sheets, and navigations to fit their brand.

Once parts of an app's UI are changed, such as color and typography, the tool applies these throughout the app.

Designers can use the Material Theme Editor to customize color, type and shapes, as well as create a custom symbol library. Google plans on releasing more customizable components this year.

Duarte notes that the new tools reflect Google's recognition that style needs to be separated from function in software development.

He hopes the new Material Design and Material Theming tools will help spawn new-looking Android and iOS apps that don't slavishly follow the way Google applies its system.


The Material Theme Editor can customize color, type and shapes, as well as create a custom symbol library.

Image: Google

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