Google I/O Engages Attendees in Material Design Theme
Google I/O presented a “grown up” face to the developer community, an aesthetic built on a carefully crafted theme using light, surface and movement to create a consistent look and a more enjoyable experience for Google users. The more subdued approach, “Material Design,” offered a warm and hip aesthetic, a departure from the brand’s scrappy, playful past. Whenever possible, it incorporated Bay-area touches, such as two local street artists who created large-scale digital prints for the massive fabric walls covering the brick façade inside the building. On the outside, unmistakable 30-foot I/O branding with a 20-foot Google Map pin marked the spot for event goers in downtown San Francisco.
A full redesign of the space incorporated warmer tones and materials. Exposed plywood edges created a sophisticated industrial approach for registration and welcome properties, partner demo areas and interactive displays. Custom furniture, including a “lounge mountain,” offered spaces for attendees to chat, climb and code. A Sandbox area on the second level hosted 12 partner pods, rather than the 100 of years’ past. Sixteen-foot signage towers identified areas of interest and A-frames were used for way-finding in lieu of traditional meter board signs. Two cloudlike forms hovering above the area served as a massive visual focal point. Adjacent to the Sandbox, a 6,000-square-foot CodeLab focused on the needs of developers and designers.
Numerous “pop-up” spaces featured additional speakers and white boards with monitors where people could toss around ideas. The third level presented Google products and services in lifestyle vignettes, including Build With Chrome, a digital LEGO activity. A “bigger, fewer” approach reduced the number of breakout sessions from 180 in 2013 to 75 in 2014. Also cool: Google I/O After Hours, which took place outside in Yerba Buena Gardens with Bay Area food, craft brewers and entertainment.
More than 7,900 people attended the conference, a 32 percent increase over 2013, including 1,000 females (a 12 percent increase over 2013). The first-ever I/O Youth program brought 151 students. There were 75 sessions, 80 hours of live streaming content and 1.9 million remote viewers via I/O Live.