Why don’t we just use Material Design?

Material Design is astronomically popular. So popular in fact that I’ve spoken to numerous designers who refer to their work as “Material Design” when they have either never read the specification, or are ignoring it entirely.

The question posed in that meeting (Why don’t we just use Material Design?) reverses the design process in a way that epitomizes the problem with any design system. The question that should have been asked was: “Would employing Material Design solve some, or all, of our problems?”

There’s an assumption that Material Design, as published by Google, is a magic bullet that addresses most, if not all, challenges in modern web design. I think that assumption probably stems from the fact that the Material Design specification is well written, and feels authoritative. I also think that assumption is false.Why don’t we just use Material Design?

I’ve heard this same question in countless meetings and even received it as a request from clients (We want you to use Material Design). It’s true that it’s a solid design system, but when even Google struggles to implement it successfully through out their suite of products, perhaps be a bit empathic to wether or not it’ll solve all of your design challenges.


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