I got confused regarding Material Design. I was reading material design guidelines and i learnt that material is a 3D Environment with x,y,z axis and Lights, Motion....

When reading Material properties, it's said that

  1. Material has varying x & y dimensions (measured in dp) and a uniform thickness (1dp).
  2. Multiple material elements cannot occupy the same point in space simultaneously.

I'am confused regarding what does material elements in point 2 above refers to ? Is Material elements are Layouts(Relative, Linear..) and widgets(Buttons, Textview).. that we use when building a Layouts ? If so, then when building UI i can give same x,y and z positions to more than 1 widgets and nothing happens; App still works.

What i wanted to clarify is

  1. What is a Material, Is it an Enviroment ? or Is it a Widgets and viewgroups that we use to build UI's ?
  2. Is Material design is a set of guidelines that we should follow ?
  3. What does material elements refers to ?
  4. Material properties are the properties that we should follow when designing a layout (or) does Material elements have that properties as default.

2 Answers 2


1-2) Material design is something you should follow to be consistent with Googles own apps. You don't necessarily have to follow it but it's good practice and holds consistency across apps. 3) can be anything from a button to a card view. 4) they do not have the material properties by default. Material design is more than just the look of a view. It's also its positioning and animation.

About the whole overlapping views. It's not a good idea to overlap two views because if one needs a touch event it might not get it. If both need it then we'll good luck. However, in material there is something called a floating button that can overlap a card of information.

Take a look at this if you haven't.


A "Material" element is any element in your view that has material properties:
An element that has or can have y-axis elevation in the view and can be interacted with.

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