Are Google’s New Themes Boring?

Originally at Simple Is Working – 9/8/11

Over the past few months Google has rolled out their new themes for Mail, Docs, Calendar and their other web applications. Initially, I liked the changes, but the more that I use them, the less that I like them. There is no real contrast to the page and while their programs have a more uniform appearance, they just seem so bland and look rather boring to me.

I understand the need for a uniform product appearance from a business perspective – you are attempting to “brand” your product, so that when someone sees it, they will know it is your product. However, with the emphasis (it seems) by many “cloud” and some desktop based companies is to use shades of gray and similar colored icons is too much like Apple.  After a while this color scheme (gray/silver/black) is monotonous and makes it so that a product does not really stand out from the rest.

Classic View or Theme I Primarily Use New
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Google Docs – Home
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Google Docs – Document
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As you can see the new Google Themes do not really stand-out on the page, there is not a lot of contrast for me to track to a section when you are looking for it.  I am glad that they are giving users the option of using the classic view or other themes for mail, it gives me a feeling of some control of how I use Google’s product.

While the new theme may be “clean” to view, I prefer to have some color to contrast the gray’s.  Does simplicity mean that the colors have to be boring or that product themes are monotonous, I don’t thinks so, but looking up at the new Google Product themes I do wonder.

I went through the same sort of review of my blog and thought that the color scheme that I had was too boring, while my new theme is better it is not what I really want.  I guess I just like bright colors, reds, greens, yellows, oranges as well as white or gray.  I am not an expert at design, but I know what I like.

What does this have to do with living simply, personally I want to enjoy using a product and will be less likely to go elsewhere if I like what I am looking at.  Living simply does not mean I am boring or dislike vibrant colors.  Look at nature’s colors, many of them certainly are not boring and have sharp contrasts to draw your eyes to certain areas.

No I will stay with the classic or themes that I choose, over the new Google Product gray/white themes.  While some might think that they are great, I find them a more than a little boring and not as nice as their classic view – personal preference.