Millennials On Design

Gen Y, aka the Millennial Generation, is making headlines even more than usual lately. Lena Dunham’s recently launched book, Not That Kind of Girl, draws attention to the generation that tends to get a bad rap. A recent Adweek study reveals what millennials “really want” versus the clichés often connected to the group – like being impatient and obsessed with everything online. For example, the survey found that 80% actually preferred reading hardcopy books. And The Design for Living survey, commissioned by design software firm Autodesk, finds that young Americans ages 18 to 29 are increasingly driven by the influence of design in their purchasing decisions.

We asked Lucite International’s Color Consultant for its LuciteLux® cast acrylic brand, Beth Almond, ASID, for her thoughts on Gen Y and their influence on design.

According to Almond, people born in the mid-70s, 80s and early 90s have great expectations for all aspects of their lives and design is no exception. Switching jobs often, following their passions and attempting to find a gig that’s both exciting and fulfilling are common behaviors of those in their early 20s. The workplace itself is transforming as a result. Values such as equal and fair share of voice and respect for one another across all levels lead to improved working environments where space and atmosphere are designed to increase comfort and performance.

Members of Gen Y are willing to take risks and have acquired a quietly confident “look at me” attitude that translates into pops of color – lime green, bright orange and red – on functional elements such as cell phones, iPad covers, shoes and even mundane kitchen appliances.

Millennials believe good design can actually improve a product’s functionality while also making it look better. This is an important figure to keep in mind as this generation presently makes up approximately 25% of our population, spending more than $200 billion per year, and is expected to outspend baby boomers by 2017.

“Generally speaking, Gen Y’ers place greater importance on the role of design in workplace satisfaction, which products they purchase and where to live in and work,” said Almond. “We just have to resist the temptation to make sweeping assumptions about what ‘good design’ means to this group of rising influencers.”

How much does design impact your daily life and purchasing habits?