Few companies seem to understand the concept of design so cannily and yet so incompletely as Google does. It’s abundantly evident that they pay exceedingly close attention to usability and they slave over getting that right. And yet the total, intangible effect of their hard work is little more than the sum of its highly efficient parts. Google products are rich with design intelligence, but they also suffer from a paucity of design inspiration. They could be so much more than they are — they could be surprising, witty, fun and, yes, they could be truly beautiful.
Great design, like any other creative pursuit, requires more than an understanding of the rules. Inspiration, surprise, and wit are especially tasty ingredients.