I'm designing an admin panel.
material design has some concepts which affects both UI and UX.
Right now I have dilemma whether I should follow material design guidelines or craft a design which does not follow any specific guidelines.
Following material design takes creativity from one and makes the design predictable, on the other hand crafting a design from scratch brings the long process of making decisions for every possible interaction.

Is there any guidelines to detect if one should use material design guidelines on a web app?

What are pros and cons of using material design on a web app over a custom pattern?

Also Is there any cost (in the manner of time and designing interactions) choosing to design a custom theme over material design?

2 Answers 2


In my point of view, material design is awesome when it comes to clarifying the UI by mimicking physical properties on controls, toolbars, buttons and content. However, if not used properly, it can result in cluttered, distracting user experience. If your app is focused on interaction and requires user control (for example an alarm clock app), I would suggest using material design. If your app is primarily focused on content (for example a Weather app or a messaging app) I would recommend removing as much clutter and distraction as possible. If you can find an equilibrium between usability and removing visual clutter, you should go that way. Hope it helped


You kind of answered your own question there.

Material design makes development easier because there are lots of guidelines and examples and references so you don't have to re-invent the wheel. And for end users it's something the likely (partially) are used to, so it takes them less time to understand the app/UI.

The downside is that you'll have some creative limitations. This can mean you have to compromise corporate branding guidelines, or break material design rules a bit. It can also mean that you simply cannot implement certain solutions. For example, material can not bend/fold and is on a 2D plane, so you can't make a clock like this: enter image description here

In short; adhering to material design means you blend in to how other apps look. For better, and for worse.

And yes, designing your own UI guidelines has costs. Just like it costs more effort to build a PC than to buy one, and how it costs more effort to come up with a (good) lego design than it is to build according to the manual.

For very small projects you might be able to get away with ad-hoc UI design, but for larger projects you are guaranteed to come across problems and conflicts if you don't use guidelines. Be they your own, or Googles, or Apples.

  • You can very well implement a clock like that. Here's an example of flip cards: codepen.io/samerpik/post/css3-3d-flip-cards
    – Boat
    Feb 22, 2018 at 7:59
  • @boat that isn't really Material design though, because it uses 3D motion and axes. It looks close, just like 'origami' with only a few cuts in the paper isn't quite origami. It's a good example of when you might want to bend the rules a bit though. Mar 26, 2018 at 15:27

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