3 clever ways Google bucks design conventions with the Pixel 6

10 google pixel 6

I’m holding the Pixel 6 Professional—the first, high-end flagship telephone produced by Google—admiring its “Sorta Sunny” end. It’s a handsome telephone, meant to make somebody really feel optimistic simply it.

[Image: Google]

Does the whole lot immediately really feel proper in the world? Not fairly! However I’ve by no means seen a telephone fairly prefer it. Heck, I’ve by no means seen a gadget fairly prefer it. Your complete recycled aluminum exterior—which reads extra like ceramic than metallic—feels nearer to a classic make-up compact or a chunk of jewellery than a 5G telephone hiding a machine studying processor and 4x optical zoom digital camera.

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional come out on October 28 for $599 and $899, respectively. And whether or not or not you’re the sort to ever depart Apple and iOS, this new line of Pixels options three particular design particulars which are pushing smartphones ahead.

[Image: Google]

Table of Contents


The digital camera bar

Most main smartphones today have a number of particular person cameras, which inevitably get caught right into a nook of the gadget like the barrels of a gatling gun. Whereas most of us have adjusted to the look, it’s straightforward to neglect how absurd this concept appeared when Apple took it mainstream with the iPhone 11. There were memes. (Now, in fact, the cameras really feel downright regular.)

As Ross explains, Google needed the new Pixels to “have fun the digital camera,” albeit with a cleaner look. However with three particular person cameras in the Professional, Google engineers and the design crew labored collectively to determine a cleaner method.

[Image: Google]

“We simply needed to scrub up our act, and actually include and conceal all the cameras underneath the single design component,” says Google VP of design Ivy Ross.

[Image: Google]

In the previous, Google has used a black sq. in the nook of the telephone to cover the lenses, nearly like a pirate eye patch. For the Pixel 6, it constructed the cameras into a large black glass bar that cuts via the again of the gadget. The crew performed with the proportions and positioning of the bar, however finally determined its single digital camera component eliminated “visible noise” on the gadget, based on Ross.

The bar additionally created a design alternative to show the again of the Pixel right into a blocky collection of colours, like a Rothko portray.

[Image: Google]

Shade coordination

Leveraging that digital camera bar as a visible divider, the Google CMF (colour, materials, and end) crew performed with varied approaches to paint. In the end, they determined to make use of the skinny, prime block of the gadget to convey a brighter colour pop (one thing Google has reserved for tinier components like energy switches in the previous), with the backside of the gadget utilizing a toned down colour.

[Image: Google]

Once I be aware to Ross that early Pixels took an identical, two-tone approach, she agrees, noting that “As you produce extra lineage of kids, there’s nonetheless some DNA left.”


Google’s method to CMF is all the time fascinating, however the deeper colour story is that the firm has been translating its industrial design method to paint into Google’s personal Android interface.

[Image: Google]

As we beforehand wrote about, Android 12 has a brand new design language known as Materials You. As a part of that, every colorway of Pixel will come with its personal matching wallpaper (Google commissioned photographers to take pictures highlighting their very own colours). Moreover, the Android 12 UI will match these wallpapers and the gadget colours, too.)

The purpose is that Google needs to blur the strains between the Pixel’s bodily industrial design and its digital interface design. And the solely approach to do this is to make software program match {hardware}.

“While you have a look at screen-based gadgets, half the object is a display!” says Philip Battin, design supervisor of superior ideas in Google {hardware}. “We’re making an attempt to create this cohesion of what’s occurring inside and out of doors gadgets.”

Because it seems, Google’s CMF designers truly skilled software program to investigate pictures, and pull swatches of colours out of them with an identical logic Google’s human designers use. These are “colour recipes” based on Battin, which you’ll select between to make use of in Android 12.

“How will we prepare a machine to method colour in the identical approach as a CMF designer? How do they consider distinction, accents and neutrals?” says Battin, who notes that generally clashing the proper colour is simply as necessary as matching. “That was certainly one of the most enjoyable elements.”

In case you ditch Google’s preset wallpapers, Google’s colour algorithm will nonetheless give you the results you want—constructing UI components to match no matter private picture you might need as your telephone’s background.

[Image: Google]

Testing the instrument out myself with a portrait of my spouse in fall, the principal buttons turned taupe, whereas small components like the Google Assistant microphone icon picked up a rust colour—probably from a barn in the background—and a blue seemingly from her jacket. A muted yellow—seemingly conjured from skinny air—rounds out the colour scheme as a quiet distinction. My telephone immediately felt much less like a digital newspaper, and extra like a tightly curated full colour sidebar in {a magazine}. Google has even programmed its personal icons to match these identical colours of your UI, in the event you’d like, minimizing their noise on your own home display.

“Most individuals have household pictures and canine [as their wallpapers],” says Battin. “It feels good to not have stark black or white typography on it. It’s extra colour impartial.”

[Image: Google]

The case mea culpa

Since the Pixel 2, the Pixel line has supplied a few of the most lovely smartphone circumstances on the market—with eco-friendly, colourful textiles. However placing any case onto a smartphone is one thing of a contradiction for designers. They put a lot work right into a telephone’s design, solely to have it lined up.

[Photo: Google]

Which is why new circumstances for the Pixel 6 buck this development, and go clear.


“We lastly determined, whenever you have a look at the stats, 80-something-percent of individuals have circumstances, that needs to be factored in as we design the telephone,” says Ross. “We simply have to just accept that and work with it.”

[Image: Google]

Google’s new Pixel circumstances are frosted plastic, made largely of recycled supplies. They aren’t utterly clear (like this one from Apple), and all of them are tinted (although one is tinted white). Notably, the total center of the case is open. It’s constructed like a puzzle piece to let the digital camera bar stick proper via, taking pictures with out obstruction.

Your complete impact is one thing like a type of clear telephones from the ’90s. You are feeling such as you’re getting a peek inside the guts of your gadget, though you aren’t. However I’ll admit I felt like I misplaced the better of the Pixel Professional 6 Sorta Sunny colours and end beneath a blue-tinted case. The plasticky hand-feel additionally appears at odds with the posh telephone itself. In different phrases, I’m not sure Google has solved the case-phone conundrum simply but. However the firm is, not less than, engaged on it.