Now in Android

Now in Android is an open-source and multi-device sample application that guides developers in their learning and offers solutions to their most common problems. Through a highly collaborative process, Instrument partnered with the Android Developer Relations team to design the app while introducing a new visual brand system for the Now in Android content series.

A real world opportunity

Now in Android is a weekly content series that keeps the Android developer community up-to-date with the latest news and announcements. As we set out to create an app that served the community in both content and as sample code, we led workshops, interviews, and research to land on a list of features and functional constraints. A key part of getting folks on the same page ended up being the constant prototyping of ideas. From very early in the process, this allowed us to vet solutions, learn what was working, and what needed tighter focus.

Four mobile phones showing the interactions.

Focus on people

But you don’t always land on the right solution right away. After amassing a large pool of requirements and features, we needed to ensure that they came together in a way that was distinct and useful.

Personalization became the key to unlocking Now in Android’s value for users: allowing developers to stay current on topics they care about most, while keeping their skills sharp.

Developing the Brand

In tandem with the UX work, we created a new visual identity for the content series and the app. With Android’s existing visual identity as our starting point, we crafted a bespoke brand rooted in Now in Android’s value and purpose.

With Material Design’s adaptive approach to color, the Android operating system and apps can adopt custom color palettes unique to each user. This personalized approach to color challenges traditional relationships between brands and users. Embracing these opportunities, the visual system emphasizes form while making space for color variation.

Updated visual identity and system.

Testing dynamic colors

To ensure the brand and the UI both make the most of dynamic color, we regularly vetted the design with user-generated Material Design color themes. This helped shift mindsets from: ‘are these colors working’ to ‘are these design tokens working’—showcasing how brand recognizability extends beyond color.

In addition to user-generated color themes, we developed a bespoke theme for the app as well as an Android brand theme, both built on the underlying logic of Material Design themes. This allows for real-time theme switching in the app.

Mobile phone interaction.
Mobile phone interactions.

Keeping it Flexible

Foldables and new device sizes add even more considerations to the product development process. We were presented with a unique challenge to ensure that mobile designs translated well to larger screens without adding complexity for users or developers.

We re-oriented our designs around flexible and interchangeable components and layouts instead of hard-coded screen sizes. This allowed us to lean into Material Design guidance that much more—implementing intuitive repositioning as well as considering postures and compositions.

The program seen on a tablet, mobile phone and desktop.

Our Roles


  • PrototypingVisual
  • Quality Assurance


  • Discovery
  • Information Architecture
  • UX Strategy
  • Feature Roadmapping


  • Copywriting
  • UX Writing


  • UX / UI Design
  • Art Direction
  • Visual Design
  • Creative Direction
  • Motion Design
  • Design Guidelines

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