These Are The Visual Design Preferences Of An Average Millennial Customer

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With the “Millennial” generation transitioning from being “those tech-savvy kids” to becoming the purchasing power of tomorrow, it is essential for the success of any venture to understand how the world has changed over the past two decades and how those changes have affected the expectations of a millennial customer.

The field of visual design has also gone and continues to go through dramatic changes brought about by countless technological innovations. Today more than ever, effective visual design has to embrace a comprehensive approach that takes into account not just the aesthetics, but its complete surrounding environment, particularly the changing face of visual communication and how present-day customers choose to interact with brands.

In short, today’s visual designers need to have the flexibility and the readiness to address the needs of the public that are changing at an ever-increasing speed. While keeping up with the latest emerging trends may seem like a fool’s errand, considering how quickly trends come and go these days, understanding the audience and adhering to a few basic principles for smart contemporary visual design will set you on the right track towards work that resonates with the millennial consumer.

Understanding Millennials

The one key thing that sets Millennials apart from the previous generations is that they were the first to grow up in a world of instant global communication. The internet has introduced seismic changes to the world as we know it, irreversibly re-shaping our reality. It has had a dramatic effect not only on the way we communicate, but the entire dynamic between the sellers and the buyers.

In the earlier times, when retail was primarily rooted in the physical world, the power was firmly placed on the side of the seller, who dictated the supply and sometimes monopolized the market, thus limiting the buyer’s options. Today, with the rise of online shopping and the free flow of all sorts of information, the buyer is never short of options, forcing the sellers to work harder than ever before to attract and retain customers.

The Millennial shopper has grown up in the world of instant gratification and has a higher degree of expectations in terms of the quality of the product and the service, knowing that an alternative is never too far out of reach if the current option is lacking. This shift of dynamics moves the emphasis away from the physical on-shelf presence and towards digital and social domains. Effective contemporary design needs to have a global appeal that accounts for the ubiquity of online shopping and understands how social networks influence global trends.

The Millennial generation also emphasises individualism. In the context of their buying habits, the Millennials refuse to take the passive role of a mere consumer – they want to personalize the product and make it a statement on their broader lifestyle, and smart visual designers not only allow this type of personalization, but actually plan for it in their work.

Foundations Of Contemporary Visual Design

Having touched upon the defining traits of Millennials as customers, it is time to draw some conclusions and turn them into principles of successful present-day visual design.

Be Comprehensive

In the pre-global times visual designers had the luxury of dictating product design to the passive public. Nowadays, the work of visual designers is shaped and dictated by the public and its instant feedback. This requires designers to take a comprehensive approach and account for a variety of factors that were fairly irrelevant in previous times, such as communication channels, “shareability”, individual customization, etc.

Even educational institutions are embracing this interconnected approach. For instance, this current master in visual design, curated by some of the leading visual thinkers, focuses not just on traditional design, but how it interacts with the world through integrated graphic/communication design. In short, in order for your design to be successful, you must allow it to interact with the public in ways you can never fully predict.

Tell A Story

Nowadays, your product is inseparable from the surrounding world. It does not exist in a vacuum, but has its place in the global order of things. Put simply, modern products are not just inert objects – they carry a certain attitude. In order to connect with the Millennial public, a product needs to tell a story, and that story needs to be infused into visual design.

Be Visual

Visual content holds a greater value than ever before in today’s world of informational overload. Clear, powerful visuals that resonate with the audience are essential for a brand’s success, particularly in today’s culture of “sharing” and the ever-growing influence of visual platforms such as Instagram. Strong visual messages will connect with consumers and entice them to share this connection.

Test It Out

Modern technology provide us with an unparalleled insight into the mind of the consumer. Every time the audience is exposed to visual content in the digital world, it provides direct or indirect feedback. This is an opportunity to test out your design and use the provided feedback to tweak it until you find a solution that clicks.

Stay Up To Date

With the trends emerging and fading faster than ever before, keeping up with them is a daunting, yet necessary task. It is impossible to predict the specific visual tendencies in the coming months, let alone years, but there are several cornerstones of the Millennial sense of aesthetics: minimalism reflected in clear shapes, tidiness and a focus on symmetry, use of vibrant colors and emphasis on contrast, use of highly distinctive typography, and an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, particularly for the analog world.

The modern times present visual designers with a whole new set of challenges, but also provide opportunities for active, nimble thinkers capable of thinking outside the box and finding new ways to engage and entice the public.




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