New Gmail Design based on Google +

If you’re someone who uses Google and its various services on a regular basis than you’ve probably noticed quite a few design changes appearing here and there. After the unveiling of their new social network Google+ they’ve decided to give users a preview of Gmail’s new look, which bears a striking resemblance to Google+ – using the same colors and clean, modern design. As stated on their blog, Google wants to “bring you an experience that’s more focused, elastic, and effortless across all of their products.”

While the new minimalist look is not currently live, you can enable it in the Gmail settings (instructions below). For now, this preview only works with native Gmail address – sorry Google App users, but hopefully, you’ll be able to get a preview soon.

Google is currently working on gradual updates that will take them the next few months to complete. They’re hoping to use feedback from their users to help improve the design. They also warn that there are some lab features that may look a little strange with the new theme; these bug fixes are in the work.

How to get this look on your Account

In order to enable the new Gmail preview, you’ll need to change your theme. This is done by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner of Gmail and then selecting on “Mail settings.” From there go to the “Themes” tab and choose either the Preview (Dense) or Preview theme.

What’s the difference? Well, the Dense version is just a bit more condensed than the regular version (see before and after images below).

Choose Preview Theme in Settings


This is the current default version of Gmail – the “Classic” theme.

Before - Classic Gmail


This will be the updated look for Gmail – the Preview (Dense) theme.

After - Preview Dense

This will be the updated look for Gmail – the regular Preview theme.

After - Preview

Differences in Old and New Design

As you can see from the before and after images above, there are some areas with a distinct noticeable difference and others where nothing seems to be different at all.

  • Larger buttons with a nicer gradient effect
  • No more blue, we now have nice neutral colors and accents – as a matter of fact, there are no more borders either
  • Ads are now on the bottom of the page – plus they stay put; no matter where you scroll they remain at the bottom (see images below)
  • Background color across top search-header – just like Google+
  • More space between text – especially the sidebar and the messages index (even with the “Dense” version)
  • People info in right sidebar when you open a message (see image below) – although this also now shows in the Classic theme as well, it seems to look more sophisticated with the new look

People Info in Sidebar

Gmail Ads Before

Here you see the ads are at the top of the inbox.

Ads - Before

Gmail Ads After

Here you see the ads are at the bottom of the inbox.

Ads- After

Compose Mail Before

There is not much difference here besides the button.

Compose Mail Before

Compose Mail After

The neutral color is definitely more sophisticated.

Compose Mail After

Gmail’s look is definitely stunning and almost makes you never want to use any other theme again. However, if you’re not that impressed you can still use one of the other Gmail themes. Google has also said that “you can also expect some updated themes that embody the same design principles but are better suited to working in a dark environment.” So it sounds like there will be something for everyone!

What do you think of Gmail’s new look? Will you be enabling the Preview theme for your inbox?

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