Google has officially begun accepting entries for this year's Material Design Awards, and the contest will be a bit more open than in previous years because it now allows examples of Material Design from iOS apps and around the web to enter, rather than limiting entries to Android apps. Another change is that self-nomination is completely allowed, so if you're reading this and happen to have created an Android, iOS, or web app that you feel is a good example of Material Design as Matias Duarte intended it, you can follow the source link below and nominate your own creation.
What has not changed from previous years is the criteria on the design end. Entries need to not only be well-designed and intuitive, but they need to comply entirely with established Material Design standards. Essentially, Google is looking for user experiences that exemplify the core values of Material Design. A good Material Design app will be extremely easy to use, with self-evident user elements and menus, and should also be aesthetically pleasing in an objective way; clean lines, well-chosen colors with no ugly contrasts, and fluid animations that blend well into the actions that brought them on and what will be on screen when they finish are all great examples of how to achieve this, though anybody who's perused the Material Design guidelines knows that things are a bit more complicated than that.
Material Design is Google's universal design language and has been making its way to more and more of the company's products since its debut with Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Motorola-made Nexus 6. Designer Matias Duarte was responsible for coming up with the original incarnation, and the guide for it has been continuously updated ever since. Material Design is all about a smooth, clean, and intuitive user experience. It uses solid colors and simple shapes to not only allow for the creation of an eye-pleasing user experience but also to help save system resources. The previous Holo design language introduced in Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) was a step in the right direction in regards to making things simple and saving resources, but Material Design brought things full-circle by prioritizing an easy-to-use experience for the user and pleasant colors, as opposed to Holo's reliance on menus hidden out of sight and a limited selection of flat colors.