Designers for the Millennial generation, and Millennial designers themselves, have been quick to adopt these values in how they shape designing everything, from UX to product packaging. Design has always been an integral part of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ people make the choices they do; Most people are drawn to clean, aesthetically pleasing design that matches their tastes and interests.
Technology has been a tremendous influence on the design world and on defining the Millennial era. It’s something Baby Boomers had very little concept of when they were younger, and something Gen X was on the ground floor of before the Internet effectively took over, and before everyone and their dog owned an iPhone (no joke I know a girl whose family bought their dog an iPhone so they could Facetime with it when they weren’t home). Anyway, Millennials are in the thick of a social media obsessed, Internet dominated, tech savvy world that requires a constant upkeep, and has created a drive for more simplified, to the point, interface. With all the information constantly being thrown around, what Millennials need is to be able to find information fast, and simply, they need interfaces to be easy to use, straightforward, and aesthetically pleasing to interact with.
These are vital elements to designing things even outside of just technology. Product design is increasingly shifting to match these values. Millennials are on the rise to be the predominant adult generation with big spending power and in a world where there are more choices, options, and variations than could possibly be tried by one person — if the design of a product is unappealing or difficult to use, it’ll be dropped for a product that isn’t. Same goes for offices, grocery stores, and stores in general. Whole Foods for example has taken the traditionally cluttered and unappealing, box-store vibe of the past, and designed its stores to not only feel wholesome and aesthetically nicer than its predecessors, but a layout that makes “mass-produced” feel local and authentic.
Authenticity is yet another design value of the Millennial tribe. After an era of over processed and under nourished everything, Millennials are trending towards design that feels real — line drawn graphics, unique handmade fonts, personalized user experiences, designs that make a product into a unique experience worth having. Individual identity is valued in design, while collaboration is valued in the creation of that design.
The bottom line is something valued across generations, and solutions to problems. That’s what good design does — it provides information as a means to an end, and with any hope is an attractive one. But what Millennials are driving at with their design generation is how design can further the experience without getting in the way of figuring out fast, efficient solutions. They strive for their values of individuality, creativity, having more experiences over more “stuff”, and making sure their hard work is meaningful work be reflected in the designs they create and are drawn to.
Think about the designs you are drawn to, from what websites you frequent to what products you regularly buy. What draws you to those things? Think about how you design and what inspires you to create the work that you do. Our values, needs, and desires are all part of the choices we make and the content we create. This has been true generationally not just for Millennials, and it’ll be interesting to see what drives the next generation and how that is reflected in the designs of their time.
Like us on Facebook to stay updated on when our events are happenin’, the latest design news, and how to get involved. We’re also on Instagram and Twitter so check us out @neuscout!