Pixel vision: How Google's new flagships came to be
The Pixel and Pixel XL are the first truly “Google in-and-out” smartphones and as such, a lot of care and attention have been put into their development. Taking a page from Apple's book, the Big G has built a duo of smartphones, with an overarching design consistency in mind from the very beginning. Proud of its achievement, Google has published an insightful article on how the various facets of the Pixels' design work together to showcase the best of what Android has to offer.
The key focus points for Google's design teams were “simplicity, intelligence, customization, and trustworthiness” – qualities which had to be highlighted in an unobtrusive and minimalistic manner, ensuring the most intuitive and seamless user experience possible. To achieve this, the design teams behind the project paid great attention to the Pixels' audiovisual identity, creating memorable wallpapers and soundscapes that drive the user experience and are able to stand out among the rest as distinctly “Pixel”.
As Google's product design lead, Daniel Walsh, puts it, “for a device wallpaper to be successful, it must clearly express the company’s brand while functioning as a passive layer behind the UI, and, most importantly, allow for the user’s self expression.” With this in mind, Google's design teams have collaborated with various artists to put together a vast assortment of unique backgrounds, building on top of previously established by the Nexus line aesthetic conventions — such as abstract color schemes and composed satellite imagery — while adding new layers of depth and interactivity to them. The result of this work is a collection of wallpapers spanning 3D CGI renditions of natural and man-made landmarks, contextually aware colorscapes that respond to various factors such as location and battery percentage, and abstract compositions rich in color and deep blacks showcase the power of the AMOLED technology.
Sounds – minimalist, non-intrusive, memorable
During the design process, as much attention was paid to how the Pixel phones sound, as it was paid to their looks,, which lead to the creation of a distinctive sound scheme spanning system sounds, notifications, alarms, and ringtones.
“As the playful dots animate into Google’s signature G, the subtle piano sound resolves into a G chord to match,” explains Google sound design lead, Connor O'Sullivan.
This sort of attention to the detail can be felt throughout the system – from the subtle but distinctive touch sounds, to the non-intrusive click punctuating the quick camera shutter, to the pleasant chimes of the ringtones.
If you want to learn more about the design process behind the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, check out the official blog post, penned by Google design leads Daniel Walsh and Connor O'Sullivan. And, as a bonus, we have provided a download link for the official Pixel ringtones and notification sounds at the end of this article.