Material Design is a design philosophy encompassing visual, motion and interactive designs guidelines for apps that allow for a unified experience across multiple platforms and device sizes. The essence of material design is to honor the fundamentals of light, surface and movement of objects in the real world while simultaneously maintaining the imagination and magic associated with flexible design. The material design was first seen implemented in the inbox app.
Well, when google is pushing for a design philosophy rigorously, you can understand how much time and efforts it might have spent on it. Material design is no doubt a beautiful design philosophy and google recommends its standards because it comprises of a “flexible grid that ensures consistency across layouts, breakpoint details about how content reflows on different screens, and a description of how an app can scale from small to extra-large screens”. Google has also released the Polymer framework to facilitate the adoption of material design in web development practices.
Material Design in a lot of ways define strict design guidelines for developers and if any developer follows the design philosophy to the books, it might put some constraints on his individualistic style. In a lot of ways, material design marries the real world physics with the digital world design giving us a beautiful design standard that is going to stay for a while before it is replaced with a much sophisticated design philosophy.
Android Library : MaterialDesignLibrary
Material Web framework : Polymer