Design Trends for Youth Marketing in 2018

After speaking at YMS18 LDN, Richard Brownlie-Marshall, Creative Designer at Pret A Manger shares some insights into how to use design to capture the youth market.


In terms of design, 2018 is the year to be bold, take risks and be creatively different if you want to make your brand stand out from the competition. The youth market is accessing the world through a 5.5 inch screen - so quickly and clearly communicating your point of difference is key to capturing customers attention. The market is already well-educated in design, expectations are high, so this year is a great opportunity to push the boundaries of creativity.

The Bold and the Beautiful


Type will be big and bold in 2018, but still crafted and beautifully executed.  Have you ever heard of someone shouting beautifully? Well that’s what we have in store for the coming year. It’s following the overarching theme of standing out and being noticed. We will see brands using words and fonts as the focal point of their campaigns and social media posts, showcasing typography as an art form in its own right. We’ll find companies creating an eclectic mix of fonts and bright colours, making the bold more own-able, and injecting the beauty into what would otherwise be just a very loud voice. 

Couture Creative

Pushing boundaries is something that comes with the creative territory, so this year we should expect the unexpected. The wonderful thing about the youth market having access to the world via Google and Instagram is that they have already done their coursework in the world of design and graduated with honours. Companies can now push the limit and not always have to play it safe. There’s a definite trend for a more hand-crafted approach to editorial layout and graphic design, delivering a stylish high-end aesthetic. We’ll be seeing a lot of play with scale, asymmetry and whitespace. 


Out of Stock

Having a unique voice and being noticed is in a land far, far away from generic stock images. Companies will now be creating their own photography, graphics and illustrations that are truly tailored to their brand. Social media is overflowing with individuals creating great content with an iPhone, so companies will follow suit. A simple way companies will engage with this is through the sharing of customer created content. In terms of company produced content, the more creative, the bigger the win. The youth market is inundated with messages, so if you want people to listen, it should be selling your difference in a way that is original and compelling.

The Bright Side

Not playing it safe also applies to colour choices, where we’ll find brands taking more risks and reaching for a brighter colour palette. Now we’re not talking about completely abandoning your current brand toolkit - that might be too risky business – but rather incorporating colour in the right places. Picking up some brighter colours for a specific campaign or social styling can be used to work well with your current identity, while helping to gain momentum and visual stand out. The key is being smart with how you use it, is it a bold full-page block colour or little bright shocks of colour electrifying a minimalist landscape. 


Stay in Touch

With every other point on this list around being bright, bold and daring – we have to bring it back down to earth with a bit of texture. With a great deal being seen in pixels, there is a real craft and value attributed to real-life textures. So in print we’ll be seeing much more experimentation in embossing, metallics and recycled stock – making the material a focal point of the design. Advertising and social are great ways to visually stimulate your audience, but carefully crafted tangible incarnations of your brand will make customers want to really get their hands on it.



Richard Brownlie-Marshall spoke on our Innovation Stream at YMS18 LDN on 'The Future of Food and Drink Innovation' with APE, Grub Club and Taco Bell. Look out for YMS19 LDN coming up in April.