Gen Z is currently the second-youngest generation, with millennials before and Generation Alpha after. They are considered to be born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s. Gen Z’s behaviors are shaped by how they grew up, like every generation. The first Gen Zers were born when the internet had just achieved widespread use. They’re called digital natives – the first generation to grow up with the internet as a part of daily life. Creating digital content that resonates with them can be challenging. Most specialists agree that with a spending power of more than 100 billion dollars, Gen Z is more influential on social media than the Millennial generation. In order to reach Gen Z, how should digital designers improve their skills?
The digital design industry is working with brands that need to appeal to the two billion Gen Z-ers globally – a generation of digital natives who could swipe before they learned to walk. Digital design that once worked for Millennials is now outdated for Gen Z-ers. The new generation is demanding something different. Developing brand messages, designs, and online experiences that engage these savvy kids and teens requires deep thinking and insight.
Here are some key take-outs for designing for Gen Z:
Psychology of Gen Z
As the first real digital natives, Gen Zers – speaking generally – are extremely online. Gen Zers are known for looking for any kind of information, working, shopping, dating, and making friends online. Having grown up with social media, Gen Zers curate their online identity more carefully than those in prior generations have. They are also more likely to turn to trends of anonymity, more personalized feeds, and a smaller online presence, even as they voraciously consume media online.
Gen Z-ers, like Millennials, are technically proficient, but since they have been absorbed in it since birth, they are less fascinated by it as unusual. They view tech as a crucial component, but they are careful in how they utilize it. Equally important, they are extremely skilled at filtering out online content or obstacles that keep them from getting to what they really want.
An important characteristic of them is their strong sense of self. The answers to almost any question are in the palm of their hands since they were born, so they don’t have to rely on others to achieve what they want. Gen Z-ers are independent and innovative – they achieve change through digital spaces and are fuelled by their experiences.
Flexibility and fluidity
Generation Z likes to break down barriers. Unlike other generations, there are almost no subcultures among Gen Z-ers. Uniqueness is no longer achievable by joining certain groups – but by fluidity in one’s identity. They are open and diverse. They feel they do not have one clearly defined role in life.
In design, everything is a matter of consistency and control. Generation Z changes the linear way of thinking. Brands will have to become flexible, visual identities modular, and elements changeable. The brand refresh that will follow Gen Z trends will be unsustainable – we will have to switch to a Circular design.
What’s catching their eye
As creatives, we need to understand our audience. But as we get older, it can be trickier to get inside the heads of younger generations – this makes it very challenging to design for Gen Z in 2023. We’ll be seeing a number of graphic design trends with an underlying Gen Z influence in 2023, like 90s nostalgia, neon cartoon stickers, or Neubrutalism.
Before, nostalgia was considered as the decade before last. For example, today’s always-on, everything-at-reach digital culture has propelled nostalgia into overdrive. Modern nostalgia refers to a new way of considering and handling graphic design trends. We’re more likely to see creatives pulling several strands of the past together into one image, and these synergies work brilliantly to capture the short attention spans of Generation Z.
Gen Z-ers receive almost all information through digital media. No wonder there is a craving for tactile, analogous among that generation. Creatives among that generation mimic the feel of analog media with the help of digital tools. Digital images are “wrapped” in plastic foil, putting the effect of grain film, analog photography, and crumpled and torn paper. All this indicates a longing for the tangible and the real.
Color, in general, is key to connecting with Gen Z, with the younger generation responding strongly to bright, vibrant, and in-your-face hues. However, experts have identified a particular color trend you have probably noticed. Hot yellows and oranges, vibrant purples, bright reds, and teal blues – these, too, tell a playful story, one that brings us back to our childhoods, encouraging play and the joyfulness of creative expression. Graphic designers and UI designers try to include 2023 design trends in their brand identity to be more acceptable to the younger audience.
Typography is another great way that designers can connect with Gen Z. This younger generation has no hangups about material that gets playful with type. Indeed, it’s often the case that the bigger and bolder, the better.
We can’t talk about visual trends without talking about the lettering and typefaces we’ll likely see more of in 2022. Sans serif and serif fonts tend to rotate in popularity, but we predict that next year, it will be all about serif fonts, particularly Gothic fonts. Also called Blackletter, these fonts are known for their very ornate details. These decorative typefaces stem from old German manuscripts from the Middle Ages but are again rising in popularity. Some research says the sage of Gothic fonts has increased by 270%.
Basically, Gen Z graphic design trends use deeply saturated colors, grainy gradients, ransom-note-like typefaces, organic textures, and motifs that spark conversation – all get used in a fusion with vintage elements from the 70s, 90s and, of course, Y2K. This aesthetic makes the design look familiar to Generation Z – artistic and creative and attracts their attention.
Method of communication
Gen Z communicates with images and multitasks across multiple screens, unlike Millennials, who prefer to communicate on two screens and via text. Gen Z’s attention spans are getting shorter as well, explaining their preference for video and images rather than text. Generation Z members are hypo-linked and overstimulated. Individual and intimate language is the only way you can break through a crowded digital environment. Communication that tries to sound smart and invasive is repulsive to them. It should be in its most filtered form, i.e., honest. Also, you should give them feedback as quickly as possible. The use of funny, relatable, and political messaging is how Gen Z designers balance offbeat and gutsy design styles.
The first generation was born in the digital age, in which information is available 24/7, whose view is constantly flying from one screen to another. Their range of attention is the shortest so far. The result is that they decide faster than their predecessors if something is important and are not prone to brands that cannot keep up with their pace.
The best approach to designing is to use their language – quickly and unpredictably. Fast-changing images, short videos, a visible point, and vibrant color combinations. Traditional design elements and symbols are one big NO.
Use striking visuals, snazzy typography, and candid photography to capture their attention and keep them connected. So, don’t be afraid to get creative and colorful! Embrace interactivity: Incorporate a personalized touch in your designs. Gen Z craves engaging digital experiences, from social media to gaming.