Android's Material Design and The Bauhaus

Since Android Gingerbread (v2.3), loyalists know that each version has an Easter egg that can be accessed by repeatedly tapping the version number on the Settings > About screen. The Android “L” Preview is no exception.

While test driving the new version, I naturally had to see what Google had hidden for me in their latest release. Previous versions have had everything from gingerbread zombies to Nyandroids and a pile of jelly beans. The Android “L” Preview build has a simple animation of random overlapping red and blue rectangles. Several Android blogs mentioned this, but dismissed it as mysterious and strange. While these random rectangles are clearly the same used by Google’s WebDriver Torso YouTube video quality testing, so far everyone seems to have missed the most obvious explanation.

On my trip to Berlin to speak at DroidCon this past May, I visited the Bauhaus Archive. There I learned quite a bit about the history of Germany’s world-renowned design school, including their study of basic shapes and primary colors. Among the many drawings, paintings, and other exhibits was this piece by Lásló Moholy-Nagy:


Clearly, the Android “L” Preview Easter egg and Material Design itself are a nod to the Bauhaus’ influence. It is the Bauhaus aesthetic made digital; layered [red]("2014-06-26"

The real mystery is why a Google search for “android material design bauhaus” currently only returns a couple results that make this connection. This is my attempt to make it at least three.