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AI in design: is your creative team obsolete?

Ana Perez

Artificial intelligence is here to stay – from asking Siri to play your favourite song to unlocking your iPhone with Face ID, we interact with AI every day in a way that, 20 years ago, would have seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie. What does this mean for your creative team?


AI tries its hand at art

AI is constantly developing, and as it develops, it branches out into new fields as engineers find more and more ways to apply it to different areas. Recent progress has made it more viable for creative purposes, especially visual arts.

These recent advancements have made it possible to create AI that can generate logos, HTML code, colour palettes and even photo-realistic images with surprising accuracy. Even though there are serious applications for this tech, you may have seen the popular memes created using DALL-E, or YouTube creators jokingly reading stories written by


Why use AI in your design workflow?

AI can generate striking artwork that’s perfect to kindle inspiration – see for example the pictures below. They are great pieces that can serve as your first concept stage, and may give you ideas that may not have occurred to you when considering the prompt.

This was generated in mere seconds at the click of a button – AI is quick and efficient, perfect for cutting time and costs. And this efficiency doesn’t end there, because AI can easily do tasks that are annoying and time-consuming for a human to do, like enhancing the resolution of photographs or removing backgrounds.

A perfect example of this is Adobe Sensei, the AI working within the Adobe Experience Platform and many apps in the Creative Cloud suite. It learns to automate repetitive tasks, adjusts image size automatically to fit your parameters and directly converts words on photos to text on file.

Adobe Sensei workspace

AI is also good at randomising pre-existing patterns and colours to create a huge number of unique combinations – more than would be feasible by humans. Take for example the Nutella Unica campaign, which saw seven million unique jar designs hit Italian store shelves to the delight of collectors across the country.


Is AI the future of design?

First of all, if you are worried about whether designers will be replaced by computers, the answer is a resounding no. Don’t underestimate the talent present in your creative team: the expertise and flair of a human designer is not easily replaced by a computer. Let’s explore some of the reasons why:

AI can only draft from a pre-existing pool of art, limiting what it can achieve and eliminating true creativity from the process. Simply put: without human input, AI is entirely useless. How could an AI generate artwork in the style of Van Gogh or Cézanne if these artists hadn’t painted their original works in the first place?

In the same vein, AI doesn’t understand cultural references – in fact, it lacks any depth of understanding or nuance. This means an AI cannot truly understand your brand’s personality or create clever marketing strategies. Because of this, even the latest AI models are unreliable and often ineffective when working outside their training database with real-world input, a 2020 article at MIT Technology Review explains.

And this takes us to our final point: AI is cheap and fast, but its output is not high-quality or unique. Many AI products are aimed at people with no design experience, like Uizard, which openly advertises that there is “no need to be a designer” to use it. This might acceptable when you want to put together a quick draft for an early internal concept stage, but would you really leave your final product to someone without professional skills?


What about copyright?

When it comes to copyright, AI is on shaky ground. Does a piece of artwork created by AI belong to the engineer who created the bot, the person who input the prompt, or the people whose artwork is being used in the AI’s training database? Is a piece of work that has not been directly created by a human even copyrightable?

The UK’s robust copyright laws do protect works created with the help of AI. However, this isn’t the same in other countries, and the companies behind many AI generators claim authorship over any products created through them in their terms of service.

The truth is that the legal waters when it comes to the authorship of AI-generated content are murky. Many experts agree that this will inevitably lead to litigation, and we can expect tighter regulations to trickle down into law once these pioneers of AI art set a precedent by fighting it out in the courts. Do you really want your business to find itself involved in these legal battles?

Until that happens, in reality, there’s little to stop someone else from being able to use your AI-generated artwork and rip off your brand. Also, there’s nothing stopping the AI from creating extremely similar output for someone else – something that doesn’t really happen with human creatives, even if they are working from similar requests.


Final thoughts

We think AI does have its purpose in the creative process: it is a fun and interesting experiment in tech and can be useful when used as inspiration or to automate tedious processes. However, it’s not appropriate to use it professionally when creating something that needs to be an original design.

We have a wide range of solutions available to support your team to do their best work that surpasses that of AI – from the latest iPad with Apple Pencil capabilities, Wacom Cintiq and EIZO monitors to Adobe Illustrator and other solutions for creatives.

We’re here for all your creative tech needs. Call 03332 409 321, email or pop your details in the form below.

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