A photograph of Matías Duarte, a bearded man in a blazer with a microphone clipped to his shirt. Behind him is a digital graphic in hues of gray, blue, and pink.

Facing our Interfaces

Matías Duarte on why the only limitation for design is imagination (...and battery life)

Facing our Interfaces: A conversation with Matías Duarte

Design Notes is a podcast by Liam Spradlin about creative work and what it teaches us. This season begins with a special series celebrating ten years since the launch of Material Design, which will explore the inception, evolution, and future of Google’s design approach.

The first episode features the founder of Material Design and Design VP Matías Duarte, whose work on the system has pushed design forward at Google and across devices everywhere. In their conversation, Liam and Matías unpack how interfaces are made, used, and understood — and identify opportunities to move them further into the future via a highly crafted, individualized design approach.

In this episode Matías speaks about –

The success of Material Design:

“Google has really come together and done what, at the time, seemed like a pipe dream: making something that is coherent and cohesive, without making it all identical.”

Material’s newest iteration, Material You:

“One big impetus behind Material You as an evolution of the Material system was the question: now that we can render anything with the level of quality and craft that you might have in print — what should we render? I think that’s the most interesting frontier.”

Design personalization:

“We’re picking up on what you’re putting down as a user. It’s a little bit like working the way decorators, tailors, or fashion consultants work.”

Why digital software lags behind other design forms:

“Every other design field has such a huge diversity of experience. Look at furniture, look at clothing, look at entertainment media. But even though digital software experiences are so important, users have no choice and no control. This is one of the most important things that we, as designers in tech, can be working on.”

Stretching the imagination:

“Digital interfaces can be anything. The constraints are all in perception — in the human mind.”

Find a complete transcript of the episode here.

Listen to all episodes of Design Notes here.