With the release of Google+, it appears Google is on a mission to not only remake its social brand, but its entire product suite as well. Google kicked off its remake with a blog post announcing the 3 founding design principles its design revamp will be based on.
In the announcement, Chris Wiggins, Creative Director at Google said we should expect to see the new designs roll across all of the Google services over the next few months. True to his word, later that day the GMAIL team announced new themes which they made available to preview the new GMAIL look. They new themes focus on “stripping out the unnecessary clutter and making Gmail as beautiful as it is powerful”. Google Apps, the enterprise side of the Apps Suite made a similar announcement introducing a new Look-and-Feel Page with an FAQ about the new look.
After enabling the new Preview theme on my Gmail account, my first thought was – “Oh, this looks exactly like my Google+ account”. So although consistency was not a foundation design principle, it most definitely falls into the category of effortlessness. Here’s a before and after shot of my SPAM folder in GMAIL sporting the new UI.
For years, the UI has always been my largest complaint with Google services. The Google team has always put function over look-and-feel. I’m excited to see Google’s engineers are finally investing in the UI by hiring a few designers to put a finish on its products. If it can execute on its new plan and bring a consistent, clean new UI across its platform, it will definitely turn up the heat with its cloud rivals, Apple and Microsoft.