The new Generation Z in the crosshairs: School must-haves for teens

Digital is normal for Generation Z, the group who like to be described as digital natives. Yet, for today's 12 to 18-year-olds, analogue elements and activities are taking on an ever more important role. Increasingly, young people want quite deliberately to write by hand, draw and potter about, in order not to get sucked into social media and to be able to enjoy their time offline. 

Write your own future

Faber-Castell offers everything that teenagers need for school and training, writing letters or keeping a journal – all under the motto "Write your own future". Grip fountain pens, ballpoint pens and mechanical pencils with colour-coordinated bumps along the shaft, shimmering Sparkle pencils, and accessories like the Sleeve sharpeners and erasers, all support Generation Z in their quest for individuality, creativity and deceleration. Rather than the bright colours that younger children prefer, the colours of the products here are "Coconut Milk", "Rose Shadows" and "Dapple Gray" – all soft, subdued tones, as favoured by teenagers today. 

Practical pockets for pencils and other writing instruments

It is not just the pencils that are different, though. When it comes to transporting your writing tools, there also are some interesting practical alternatives to the familiar pencil case. Japanese manufacturer King Jim offers the "Pacali" pencase with space for around four pens which can be propped open thanks to anti-slip rubber on the rear flap. The forward flap is then held down by a magnet, with the result that the pens can be arranged for easy access, like in a quiver. "Pacali" is available to order in yellow or blue canvas and in grey or black for the polyester version.

With Herlitz, pens can be transported in bookmark pouches that attach directly to the notebook, meaning you always have a pen to hand. At the same time, the popular "my.book flex" is now particularly sustainable with its improved hard covers. Extra space for paper inlays, which are now also available with dotted lines, makes for one more reason why this product is winning customers over.

Hip messages in pastel

With their limited Uhu stic edition in pastel shades, the message from Uhu is to do what you love and be original. Five slogans including "Live your dreams", "Believe in yourself" and "Do what you love" written in trendy hand-lettering aim to speak directly to teens and young adults. The basic characteristics of this glue stick 'made in Germany' are, of course, retained: a solvent-free adhesive made from 98% natural ingredients that is also easy to spread and washes out in cold water.

Adapted to the anatomy of a teen 

Children of every age need a light school backpack that goes everywhere with them throughout the school day routine and commute. "Strike", the big brother of "Ypsilon", is a stylish companion for those pupils in secondary school with a height of 1.45m or taller. This light and ergonomic school rucksack can be easily adapted to the adolescent anatomy without any complicated adjustments. The Deuter Contact back system with the newly developed Lumbal Pad gently transfers weight to the shoulders and pelvis so that there is no need for a waist belt. The front pocket also provides space for a helmet, ball or jacket.

Teens have different needs and wishes to children and, even as digital natives, they love analogue products for writing, drawing and being creative.

Find the latest collection for the 2021 start of school season on the new Insights-X Online stationery platform.

Exhibitors & Products

About the author:

Gabriela Kaiser has been the owner of a trend agency since 2002, after working 6 years as designer for knitwear. She visits trade fairs as a trend scout and gives lectures there. She advises companies from industry and trade on upcoming trends and writes regularly for various trade magazines.

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