STRAIGHT FROM THE DESIGNER: ESRA LEMMENS ON The Millennial Impact - How design and communication are evolving with the next generation

What is it like to be 18 years old in 2018? We asked the millennials, who are almost wildly stereotyped, indifferent, indignant and apathetic. Metamorphosing not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, teenagers are coming out of their cages and pushing their way into the world in an exhilarating, almost treacherous fashion. When such a volatile group is marking their territory in such an abrasive manner, the world has to make room.

The millennials are leaving their mark on the spatial imagination, aggressively carving out their names. They are stepping into the streets, into virtual worlds, out of their bedrooms, in vacant parking lots, parks and garages, and there they ‘hang out’ and ‘chill’ or ‘whatever’.

This generation is more uninhibited than their forefathers. The easily-overlooked nebulous teen hangouts offer a candor, wandering, almost mystical space where everyone is resourceful, blaringly optimistic, creative, passionate and on the hunt for autonomy. Some of this autonomy, when channelized through an artistic medium, is seen as a reflection of Nomadic culture. And so, the attitude of escapism can be seen in some of the creations that millennials set their hands to.

There is a constant global state of possibly irreparable unrelenting, and hasty advancements that our youth is exposed to; and while they can possibly ‘grow out of it’, the architecture, infrastructure and policies are not that easy to re-implement.

We take a more grounded approach in such cases, working hand-in-hand to connect emotionally and spiritually to a particular group of people in order to deliver what they are seeking and what empowers them. These are people who understand the nature of spirituality in things they can touch. This explains why tactility is expected to play an increasingly dominant role in design, which underpins a growing nomadic lifestyle governed by the realms of mobile technology. An integral part of this is social media, where millennials want to get to know the designers- the story and the genuineness behind their products.

Everything that they put on must be the reflection of their own personality and feelings; they do not want to follow, they can act and think for themselves. This sentiment is not unknown to any of us. Just like the adolescents, we, too, seek autonomy. We constantly find ourselves asking who we are, whether we fit in, and how we can make our marks as well.

Millenials are also more about mobility than glamour. They prefer designs to be practical, think of their interiors, the clothes they wear and the accessories they carry around. As opposed to weighing them down, as the previous generations preferred. To put it another way, it’s a cultural reaction to stimuli.

There is a lot going on in the world, and different groups can be identified by their characteristics. For millennials, we witness an array of reactions across social media and in the tangible world too. In design, you can see this in the form of design trans shaping. Within these reactions, you can witness cultures responding to a constantly changing world with transfiguring shapes and fragments, producing what they believe to be creative utopia.

Communication and PR also seems to play a key role in marketing to millennials. You need to be in touch with the right people at the right time, the right press, the right blogs, and the right celebrities and if not then you might as well just quit.

(Image caption: IKEA, augmented reality application)


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