Anybody in the website design industry knows that design trends have a tendency to fall in and out of popularity. It is one of the most versatile and ever-evolving industries out there today. We started out with the textured or skeuomorphic design, which focuses in mimicking real life textures and surfaces, and brings them to life on your site’s designs.

The textured design gave way to the flat design, with a specific emphasis on minimalism and simplicity. Flat design helps paved a way for the era of minimalism that we see nowadays, focusing on content and functionality, rather than flashy animations and designs. Today, we see the emergence of material website design, which is a sort of combination between textured design and flat design.

Created by Google, they describe material design as “a visual language that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation of technology and science” Now we admit, that definition is a bit much to wrap your head around, so here we will help you understand what exactly material design is.

What is material design?

Material design has often been described as a metaphor. It acts as a representation for real life movement and physical aspects. Material design places more of an emphasis on the play on lights, movement, and shadows.

It’s kind of a complicated concept that places a significant amount of emphasis on the physics of movement when it comes to how you interact with this particular type of design. The most prominent features of material design that you may have already noticed are: large graphics, textured, bold colors, and emphasis on typography and whitespace.

Material design vs. Flat design

When you place material design and flat design side by side, it can be rather difficult to tell the difference between the two of them. This is because material design is derived from both flat design and skeuomorphic design. It does share plenty of characteristics with flat design, minimalism, for example.

The main thing that sets material design apart from flat design is the fact that there is a certain textured layer of depth and dimension to material design, where it derives elements from reality. However, the reason why material design is very similar to flat design is because the elements that it derives from reality are purely print media based.

Compared to the realistic interpretations of the textured design, the material website design skeuomorphic application leans more towards an illustrated form of interpretation, rather than a realistic derivation of real life elements.