Whether you’re a Millennial or not, everyone is trying to market to them—and if you’re not, maybe you should be. From traditional mainstays like Suave shampoo to newer kids on the block like TOMS, brands the world over are tailoring their marketing creative to match the passions and tastes that define the Millennial market. More than just a buzzword, this social media savvy generation is a consumer force to be reckoned with—according to the U.S. Census Bureau, this young, vibrant demographic now outnumbers the Baby Boomers and makes up more than a quarter of America’s population.
So how do you catch the eye of that relevant, hip consumer this summer? We’ve combed social media for five of the hottest up-and-coming design trends that Millennials just can’t seem to get enough of—and we’re certain we’ll be seeing a lot of them this season. To help inspire you, we’ve outlined each of the influences behind these trends and added some examples of how to use them with our very own stock images.
#1 – Embrace Millennial Pink
NYMag caught onto this trend of a color that couldn’t quite be pinned down—and it’s called Millennial Pink. Millennial Pink isn’t just a single color per se. It’s range of colors that are indeed in the pink family, but the point is not what it is, but rather what it’s not. It’s not Barbie pink. Nor is it acid washed neon pink. And it certainly isn’t riddled with domesticity and gender exclusion—Millennial pink is for men, too.
More precisely, it includes a range of pinks that lack the blue tint of our beloved Barbie doll’s iconic look. It can range from a beige with only a hint of pink (think Pantone’s Pale Dogwood) all the way to a bold and decisive salmon with a strong presence of orange. It’s everywhere and let’s just say—Millennial Pink sells. This movement took a color that became a pillar of femininity—for better or worse—and stripped away its power. What can we say? Millennials have strong voices and opinions. So now pink is for everyone. And it’s here to stay.
Use it in your web design, packaging, apparel, advertisements, and more. The possibilities are nearly limitless because that’s the point of this color—stripping away limits.
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#2 – Nature Found Patterns
As summer rolls around, it’s as if the design world remembers that greenery and nature become alive again, because every year we see a resurgence of patterns found outdoors. From palm fronds to marble slabs, the motifs of re-emerging nature comes back into play. However, let’s get a little more macro—as if you were to zoom in with a microscope.
We all know by now that nature is a strong advocate and supporter of geometry. The golden ratio is clear in many forms from the human form to the seashells we collect from the sandy beaches. These are the patterns that make for a summery, yet artistic feel. They can be implemented in apparel design, in contrast with more drastic and man-made linear patterns, or as an excellent backdrop to web designs.
Millennials may be hooked on social media and community connectedness, but it doesn’t mean they don’t still feel a strong connection with their surroundings.
#3 – Their Kind of Retro
We have some scary news for you. The 70s and 80s are considered retro. (And maybe even the 90s.) Before you run away screaming in horror, keep in mind Millennials were born between the years of 1977 and 2000. So while some of them may remember the 80s, they certainly weren’t in the know of the popular graphic design styles.
What does that mean for design? Think Tron. Bold neon colors on top of dark grey and black backgrounds. The look is a powerful and punchy one. It’s nostalgia and futurism all-together in one.
#4 – Hygge Like A Hug
Pronounced “hoo-guh,” hygge is a Danish word that cannot be directly translated to English without a full sentence, but generally describes a place or design that’s warm, cozy, and inviting—three strong emotional motivators when buying a product. Quite literally, it’s defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” So, how does a mouthful like that that translate into graphic design? And how can we replicate comfort in our pixels and JPGs?
Think gentle. Think soothing. Times are stressful lately, so how can we distill the chaos and anxiety that surrounds us into visually pleasing interpretations? Natural materials such as unbleached paper, soothing flesh-tones, and designs that recall a simpler time. Imagine browsing a selection of packaged goods down the aisles of your grocery store and feeling like you can breathe and pause once you come across a product that allows a visual sanctuary in your loud surroundings.
Allow for plenty of negative space, clear visual hierarchy, contrast for the sake of legibility, but not too much that it jolts the senses. It’s minimalism and warmth all in one that creates a sense of ultimate balance and comfort.
#5 – Modern Serifs
How long has the design world been touting future-forward and modern, sans-serif fonts—like say, Helvetica and Futura? Apparently too long. Serif fonts and typefaces have been experiencing a renaissance of sorts, but that doesn’t mean you can whip out your trusty, old Times New Roman just yet. With access to a plethora of fonts with resources like Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit, Millennial designers are putting their trust into the old-faithful fonts—but with a modern refresh.
We’re particularly fans of classics like Bookmania and Georgia, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t partial to newer renditions like a sturdy slab-serif or two. Here’s the deal though. You can’t go just go crazy into the style of lithographs and copy-heavy advertisements. Serifs are a statement. They should be used with modern and simplistic designs. They must take the center-stage and are not meant to be used in competition with other design elements. Make them bold, the H1. And allow a more subtle sans-serif to play the supporting role this time around.
The best thing about these trends is that they may already feel a little familiar to you—they’ve slowly been gaining traction on social media and in mainstream marketing over the past several months, but they’re guaranteed to be out en force this summer. And now we pass the baton on to you. With a library full of royalty-free stock graphics, the opportunities to create are limitless. How will you pass on your message?
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