The 3 Symbols of Youth – Star, Circle and Pirate

UK semioticion Dr Alex Gordon has just completed research with Sydney agency Heartbeat on the key symbols used by 15-20yr olds to express their values, identity and tribal connections. The three symbols which came out as most popular were the ‘STAR’, ‘CIRCLE’ and ‘PIRATE’ motif.

The Circle motif is a key symbol for Gen Y representing their obessions with social networking and belonging

The Circle motif is a key symbol for Gen Y representing their obessions with social networking and belonging

The PIRATE motif is apparently a sign Gen Y males are looking for examples of transgression, maverick adventure and risk taking, it also represents their need for empowerment. I unfortunately don’t see any new insight here, young men have been using skate culture and extreme culture to live maverick adventure for the last 40 years.

The CIRCLE motif signifies Gen Y’s obesession with social networking, their need to belong to tribes and that results in marketers needing to talk to the collective rather than just the individual. I also believe that there is a subconscious reference to ‘worldly togetherness’ and Gen Y’s new found attitude of global sustainability. I’ve been talking about this a fair bit in my Gen C’ Connected Collective  profiles…so i agree with them on this one.

The third symbol is the STAR motif…the star tattoo is super popular with Aussie youth, apart from the fact they’re all copying Rhiannon, Sienna Miller and Nicole Ritchie, it’s all about their desire to be ‘famous’.

So that’s the research in a nutshell, no massive revelations on youth here..yes young men are always going to be adventurous and buck against the status quo, today it manifests in an adoration of ‘dark culture’….yes, social networking and belonging is like oxygen to Gen Y, they can’t live without it. The ‘make me famous’ ambition of todays youth has been around since for the past 5 years, so unfortunately Heart Beat havent cracked anything new here…but good on em, for researching symbols…interesting approach.

Image credit: Duncananddragon

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