Welcome back to Google Design
Exploring the future of design, together
Imagine a future where design is driven by hyper-personalization. A future where generative AI allows for products to be tailored to individual preferences and needs, dynamically responding to a person’s input, learning from their needs and evolving over time. Such unprecedented customization would redefine the individual’s relationship with products and services, granting them a profound sense of ownership and personal expression.
In this future, we designers invite AI and individual users to participate in the design process—relinquishing the control we once held solely. Which raises the question: what role will the designer's unique fingerprint play in the creative process? We believe designers will still be on stage, but the role we will play is transforming. Instead of conductors who meticulously guide each movement, directing the performance towards a preconceived outcome, designers might end up being more like Jazz players, skillfully improvising in the moment, responding to other players and the crowd, following a loose set of guiding principles to facilitate a collaborative and dynamic experience. The age of the single “perfected” design expression, brought on by Modernism, is drawing to a close, making way for an evolving, symbiotic relationship between designer and individual.
Prioritizing individual choice over Modernism’s authoritative rigidity is not new to Google—from personalized search results to Android’s open OS, emphasizing user choice has been a hallmark of Google’s design and product philosophies.
Google's Material Design system, and its latest iteration, Material You, build on this foundation by embracing personalization and customization. Customized color signifies merely the initial step towards a future characterized by highly adaptable design and progressively flexible experiences.
This month Google Design looks at ways design embraces this fluidity. Making Material You, a series of films, takes on the legacies of Modernism and manufacturing to imagine a future for design that’s personal, adaptive, and expressive.
We also explore the role of individual perspectives within systems with Eunyoung Park’s art direction for Pixel 7’s wallpapers. By introducing an organic visual language to surfaces traditionally saturated with glossy, futuristic techno-imagery, she reimagines the way we convey luxury.
Prism, Neon, Warp, and Climate Crisis demonstrate the potential of Variable Fonts to unleash new expressive possibilities through their innate adaptability and innovative control axes. Our feature on Climate Crisis emphasizes the typeface's power to convey messages and narrate stories: the font visualizes Arctic sea ice data using a unique Year axis, progressively eroding the letters as the years advance.
Last, we’ve added a Community page to reflect the range of roles and identities that comprise Google’s design culture. To kick off, creative Fellow, An Huynh, describes his experience navigating a lofty design exercise to “imagine the future of Google’s brand” by embracing experimentation.
Welcome back, it’s going to be an interesting ride.