Design is a constantly changing facet in marketing, and often, these changes are prompted by the progression of generations of marketable audiences. For years, brands have targeted millennials, but a new generation is starting to gain traction in terms of purchasing power: Generation Z.
According to Pew Research, Gen Z are those that are born between the years 1997 and 2012. This makes the oldest Gen Z currently 22 years old by 2019, which places them at the cusp of being active members in commerce. Considered as digital natives, they have unique needs that brands should pay attention to.
Tips on How to Design and Market to Generation Z
Whether you’re designing websites, social media posts, videos, or other marketing collateral, there are certain design considerations when marketing to Generation Z:
1. Create a strong visual identity
A defining characteristic of Gen Z is that while they crave stability and comfort, they also value innovation and uniqueness — they push boundaries while looking for the familiar. What this means for designers is that a strong and cohesive visual identity is called for.
Start by establishing a brand style guide. This ensures that all of the design elements throughout your marketing content are consistent. Consistency spells reliability for Gen Z, and this, in turn, cultivates trust in your brand.
Additionally, as they are a generation of unique-seekers, don’t be afraid to experiment with your design. Bright colors and bold font selections are becoming a trend now, and if these make sense to your brand, try to incorporate these to your visual identity.
2. Be clear, direct, and personal
Gen Z are intentional about how they use digital technology, and they are highly adept in filtering out noise and distractions. They want to get what they need instantly, which is why it’s important for brands to be clear and direct in their brand messaging.
In terms of design, it’s important to use your visuals to cut through the noise and deliver your message in its simplest form. Use legible and easy-to-read typefaces and curate catchy, relevant copy.
Design for comfort and usability, as this generation is all about efficiency. Create content that’s easily digestible and shareable throughout a variety of devices. Most importantly, personalize your brand message. Gen Z values authenticity, and your design should feel like they come from a friend, not from a nameless brand.
3. Showcase inclusivity and your brand values
Another unique and defining characteristic of Gen Z is that they prefer brands whose values align with theirs. They want to know they are supporting a brand that gives back to the community, and one that values inclusivity and diversity. This is a good time for businesses to showcase their brand values in their design.
Find a cause that makes sense to your brand. For example, if you value environmental conservation, designing eco-friendly packaging is a good way to showcase this. It’s also advisable to include imagery and graphics in your design that equate to fluidity across gender, age, and culture. This means steering clear of stereotypical design elements, such as feminine pinks and pastels, and masculine dark colors.
Another way to be inclusive is to design your content to be accessible. This includes using closed captioning in your videos, optimizing content for Google Voice Search, and offering dark and light theme options for users.
Design is a powerful marketing tool. It allows you to communicate your brand message in creative ways while fulfilling the unique needs of your audience. There’s so much potential in designing for Generation Z, and the key is to take cues from their user behavior and adapt your design accordingly.
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