October 27, 2022

Artificial Intelligence and the impact on design

If you work in the creative industry, chances are you’ve heard about (and been bombarded with) Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence and the impact on design

If you work in the creative industry, chances are you’ve heard about (and been bombarded with) Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated artwork. It’s a subject bound to send shivers down any artist or designer’s spine. As the software gains traction, many creatives are wondering ‘Am I going to be out of a job next year?’. Seriously, are we going to be out of a job? Asking for a friend…

But what is the fuss all about? Read on to find out more from Creative Designer Georgine Tucker.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

“Artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind.” IBM Cloud Education

In relation to art, AI tools such as DALL-E and Midjourney generate images from short text descriptions. The more they are used, the more the AI learns and the more types of images it can generate.

For example, Mid Journey’s open beta was only released in July of this year, but it has already mastered numerous art styles that would take a human years. The rate of learning is astonishing. Astonishingly scary? I’d be lying if I said no.

A machine can’t be that good. Can it?

Depending on the AI, yes, they can. Currently they range from the downright awful to truly phenomenal. Below is a comparison between Mid Journey and Dream by WOMBO, two free AI image generators. We used the same prompts but both gave us very different results.

Prompts: Huge spherical alien ship towering over a mountainous landscape

Image order: MidJourney, Dream

Midjourney's image shows a giant spherical spaceship above a barren landscape with mountains and deserts. Dream's image is rougher and more painterly, of two roundish blobs on top of mountains.

Prompts: Sketch of a washing machine by Leonardo da Vinci

Image order: MidJourney, Dream

Midjourney's image looks like a washing machine in the sketchy style of Da Vinci. Dream's image is in the same style, but it looks like a desk chair on top of a wooden washing tub.

I know which I’d like to do my portrait. The question is, if a free piece of software can create such seemingly flawless work, why wouldn’t you use it instead of investing in a creative?

Mid Journey is already falling prey to its own success. As the internet is flooded with AI generated images, the same images feed Mid Journey’s learning, creating a closed feedback loop. The randomness of happy accidents, originality and human touch is missing.

What does it mean for creative and graphic designers?

If you’re a fellow designer, I wouldn’t blame you from questioning your job security. But remember this: we are not human factories here to churn out graphics. We are innovative thinkers. Creative scientists. Each decision we make considers our clients, their competitors, the audience, our own personal style. Our designs aren’t made in isolation. We have an open feedback loop with our clients and colleagues. If an AI made all the designs in the world, there would be an awful lot of trademark lawsuits going.

Machine learning isn’t new to the design world. Netflix has used computer vision (a type of AI) to determine what frame is best for a thumbnail. Each frame gets a score allowing the creative team to make an informed decision on what is likely to perform best. This kind of knowledge can speed up design time and give confidence to our design choices.

For me, I believe the advances in AI-generated imagery is something to embrace. Let’s use it as a tool to gather data on what different audiences respond to. To generate several design concepts in an hour to show the client before spending a day on development, before the client says they don’t like any of them.

Ultimately, let’s use AI to transform our designs to something even better.

If you’re interested in human-generated design, get in touch with us.

Some Artificial Intelligence and design articles we liked:


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