Web Development: The Impact of Google’s Material Design in Retail

Web Development

The Impact of Google’s Material Design in Retail

By Anesca July 15, 2015 • 6 minutes to read

This year we are being blessed with new powerful development tools, super cool new technology, and tidal changes in the tech world including motion UI, the rise of Node.js, new Javascript features, Web API, and more. While wearable technology continues to grow in popularity, we can expect new design challenges presented by devices like the Apple Watch, Google Glass and Oculus Rift. This year looks set to be a very exciting year for web developers and designers, and with new technology comes new design trends, the most exciting of which is Google’s new project, Material Design.

Material design is a visual language, the meeting point between skeuomorphism (the practice of making something artificial appear real) and entirely flat design. In other words, creating something flat and seamless but noticeable - a perfect blend between realistic and unrealistic, where surfaces and edges of elements provide visual cues that are grounded in reality but are still stylised and two dimensional . "The material is grounded in tactile reality, inspired by the study of paper and ink, yet technologically advanced and open to imagination and magic". This design makes use of movement, light, and surface to convey how objects would exist in space. It uses the foundational elements of print-based design  - large, simple fonts, bold colour pallets , and imagery – to create hierarchy, meaning, and focus. This design prides itself in being fully responsive and allows for a unified user experience across all devices, platforms and screen sizes.

What does this mean for retail? Although MD is still relatively new, many brands have already begun adopting the design because of the many benefits in responsive and app development.


It is an aesthetically pleasing and effective way of showcasing your products that is dynamic enough to be viewed on any platform. There are many ways to use Material Design and adapt it to your brand and still get the feel of your business.


The use of colour pallets instead of a select few colours is favored and works with either a dark or light background – giving your website a specific mood that captures consumers.




The design is flexible and includes many other design trends that have become popular, such as parallax and modular scrolling – these techniques create a 3D effect and add to immersion.
Material Design also uses a lot of animation and Micro UX. Nothing draws the eye as powerfully and dependably as motion. Animation is just a slice of web design that has risen to high acclamation in recent years. With CSS3 came new and exciting ways to easily implement animation into your website without the use of the dreaded Flash. Animation can be used in buttons, menus, images, loading icons and much more. This technique promotes interactivity and fun, and surprises your visitors.

Material Design also relies heavily on Card Design which is a design pattern for clearly displaying information in bite-sized chunks - it is ideal for the TL;DR generation, perfect for mobile devices and responsive design.


Hidden menus are all the rage nowadays, which work perfectly with Material Design. Menus and navigation are incredibly important for consumers to get around and use your website effectively and ensure that users reach the necessary information about your products.

Firebox uses material design, card design, large images, large fonts, and animation to create a fun, immersive, and memorable experience for users with perfect responsiveness across all platforms.



There are so many different aspects and components of Material Design that covering all the uses would make this already-long post vastly longer. I believe Google’s new brain child will be the standard for many retail websites and apps in the future due to its flexibility, usability, many benefits, and beauty.

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