Google has been killing it when it comes to dominating design systems. They built a design system for the masses. Since the release of Material, Google has been hard at work building an ecosystem around it. The most recent release of Material, sometimes referred to as Material 2, has raised the bar even further.
Tools Built Around the Design Process
Google is doing great design for the design process. Instead of building tools to accomplish certain tasks they’re building tools that revolve around the design process itself.
Google created their Material Theme Editor for Sketch which allows you to quickly create a library pack of components. You can easily create it, customize it, and distribute it to your design team(s). This saves you a lot of time trying to create your own Sketch library that will most likely have identical components to Material.
Let’s take a look at Google Gallery. As we design, we produce different artifacts at different stages that need to be tracked. You might be utilizing a whiteboard, or sketching things out on paper. There may be documents, slides, or sheets of data being used along the way. These can all be stored in Gallery.
Moving along further you can scale up in Sketch and take advantage of the Material plugin for Sketch. You can upload different iterations directly into Gallery. In Gallery everyone can collaborate by posting comments on different artifacts such as the early-stage sketches, or the high-fidelity mockups uploaded from Sketch.
To finish it off you can hand a link off to your development team and they can get the specs they need to build out the interface.
What Happened to Google Stage?
Not everyone has heard of Google’s Material Gallery, but one thing I’m sure of is that almost no one has heard of Google’s Material Stage. Stage was supposed to capture a different side of the design process. Gallery handled the capturing, collaborating, iterating, and the handoff. Stage was going to own the prototyping portion and have the ability to enhance your motion design.
Gallery and Stage were both originally brought up on the original Material website. I participated in the early adopted program for Gallery and frequently asked when Stage would be released. Each time I got a generic response saying that they are working on it and would notify me once it has been released. Once Material 2 was released back at Google I/O 2018, Gallery was officially released to the public and all references for Stage on the Material site were dropped. You can still find an old reference on the Google Design site about it.
Google hasn’t built too much confidence around a release for Stage, but it is still possible. They did pull in Pixate and Form, so they must have some direction they were working in, but it’s not clear if they have abandoned the project.
A big concern around Stage not being released is the future of Gallery. If Stage is no longer on the roadmap, then will they cut support for Gallery in favor of letting other competitors fill this niche such as InVision? I believe that 2019 will be a year where we either see Google pull out of the design tooling game, or step it up with new releases and put some fear in other design product companies.
Haven’t heard of Gallery and want to check it out? Read our Gallery product review.