After Google Search, Gmail Joins The Redesign Club

Google is on a redesigning spree!

Few days ago, they rolled out a redesigned Google search for everyone and launched their social gig Google Plus on an invite only basis. Previously, we reported time and again that Google is heavily experimenting with the design and overall usability of search result pages. They removed the I am feeling lucky button, added a black navigation menu bar and introduced quite a few search enhancements for more meaningful results.

Now it’s Gmail’s turn.

Google is rolling out a complete redesign of Gmail in phases and here is how your redesigned Gmail inbox is supposed to look like:


Gmail’s new design aims to gift you a clutter free inbox, more white space between labels, items, individual messages and tries to soothe your eye with bold colors. Red, Blue, Grey, Black…maybe Green and Indigo are next.

If you are still on the older UI and want to test Gmail’s upcoming redesigned interface, follow these steps:

1. Click the Settingsicon at the right top corner of Gmail inbox and choose Mail Settings


2. In the “Settingspage, switch to the Themestab, scroll down and activate the Previewtheme for Gmail. There are two versions: light and dense.

The dense version will give you a compact Gmail inbox with less spacing between different items. If you get tons of email every single day, the dense version will be ideally suited as you will have to scroll a little lesser. However, if you want to get rid of the clutter and want a clean layout – go for the light one.


Gmail says in a blog post that Google wants to provide a unified experience across all Google services. Whether you are using Google search, Google Reader, Google Plus or Gmail – you will see the same design and colors, once the design roll out is pushed globally.

Personally, I am not a fan of boldcolors and I think they distract me a little. But it’s just a matter of time when my eyes gets used to the new Gmail design and I will start loving it anyway.

Note: In order to get Gmail’s redesigned inbox, it is not mandatory to have a Google Plus account. Some users have this confusion that the redesigned Gmail interface is only available to users who have signed up for Google Plus. It’s not true and Google apps users can also test the new dense and light themes of Gmail.

Now considering the fact that Google is rolling out it’s new design across all Google services one by one, how would Google Reader look like in the coming days? One user created a pretty similar mockup of Google Reader here


Who’s next? YouTube?


Published by

Amit Banerjee

Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee

  • Weldon Schultz

    The first plus I saw on the redesign was that as you are scrolling down to read an email, There is a ‘floating’ bar that stays at the top of the email where you can Archive, Delete or do other things with your email, instead of having to scroll all the way back to the top or to the bottom to use those buttons.

    • Reshma

      Hi Weldon,
      This feature existed before the redesign; check out the lab feature “Message Sneak Peak” under Settings.

  • I have a google apps account, but it is still on the free version. I signed up my company before it turned paid. However, we aren’t able to use the new themes. Is this why? Do you know of any other people using the new themes with Google Apps?

    • This is unusual, I am a Google Apps user and I can use the new themes. Have you double checked your Gmail theme settings?

    • Eric

      I had the same problem, but I was able to fix it in the dashboard. Go into your domain’s Google Apps Dashboard and into the Email Settings. Uncheck the option “Let users choose their own themes.” and save. Close any open tabs or windows that have your Google Apps Gmail account open. Now go to your Google Apps Gmail Account and login. Go into settings and verify that the option to change themes is now missing. Close out of Gmail and go back into your domain’s Google Apps Dashboard and check the option “Let users choose their own themes” in the email settings. Go back to your Google Apps Gmail acocunt and into settings. You should see the themes option again. Go into themes and the two Preview themes should now be available. That’s how I got things to work.

    • @Amit Yea it was my fault I was on the scheduled release track. Once I unchecked this and after the setting propagated throughout the system the themes were available :) P.S. Do you know if there is anyway to force a specific theme on the users i.e. only allow them to use the the new theme?

  • Actually, YouTube already has a redesign…

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