And it makes lives easier. It’s able to automate and accelerate mundane and time-consuming business or personal tasks. However, does that mean we should rely on it for creative input — for design?
Should we let AI design for us, based on the best of what is already done and what it predicts is coming next?
It's time to consider if there’s more to design than creating ‘likeable’ images, and whether a large following means more conversions. Should the algorithms of social media influence and dictate the way we express ourselves creatively as humans?
So let’s explore what a good designer has that AI can never match, no matter how much it learns from the past and predicts for the future.
“In a world of constant fast-paced visuals, are we really taking the time to stand out and communicate our designs?”
Sure, AI can create a logo, pick some colours, and take a good photo. But can it use empathy, or judge how to mix the right tools and skills? This is a question that forces us to consider what makes a good human designer in the first place.
Good designers have the ability to see past what the client is asking for on the surface. They can understand the subtext and the emotional need of the end user, and deliver something that exceeds expectations.
They can create visual stories that communicate, resonate and aren't the abstract art we find on Instagram nowadays, or the many pretty Pinterest copies out there.
Yes, these images are current and trendy, but ultimately they are throwaway visuals with little to no value when it comes to communication.
Pinterest has an algorithm that feeds you images people are searching for. It’s a different interpretation of AI that takes historical data and makes predictions of what might be next.
However, this AI doesn’t understand the problem that you, as a designer, are trying to solve. With this way of thinking, we can only be the best of what's already been done. We’re already being spoon-fed what it thinks you want, visually.
You might love the image, because you get the instant gratification of ‘finding’ something unique, and desirable – very easily.
Well, fuck that.
We are constantly being pushed and channelled to create ‘likeable’ images representing popular visual languages on social platforms.
Due to the growing speed of how images are consumed on Instagram, the more successful (liked) images are the ones displaying an immediate, visually pleasing impression, that gets the user to double tap.
This means that images embodying deeper meanings or more complex ideas fail to be as popular, since they require more time to be seen, analysed and understood.
By posting similar, easily consumable creative assets on a daily basis, social media users can build a following at a regular stable growth rate. But where is the value?
Are you just talking to other artists/designers, or truly talking to your key audience?
“Better to have 100 loyal advocates who invest, than 100k who just steal your latest and greatest idea while you’re stuck pedalling a hamster wheel to nowhere."
With the incredible advancements in machine learning and AI, it is only a question of time before the creation of visually pleasing images can be fully automated.
If we neglect the communication aspect of visuals and simply use design techniques to attract likes, we as human designers risk becoming obsolete in the near future.
Therefore, a designers' priority should always be to find smart, conceptual ways of communicating our message, while the visual expression is simply the vehicle that delivers it.
Automating the human skill of visual communication that requires creativity and conceptualisation is a much harder task to accomplish using an artificial algorithm.
As designers, we need to ask better questions, look harder, and find better resources. We need to immerse ourselves in things we don’t understand: from new software and books, to real-world experiences away from our desks.
Our relationship with technology needs to improve too, so we can make it work harder for us. However, we shouldn’t rely too heavily on technology if it can only ever give us the best of what’s already been done.
We need to innovate.
AI can’t ask questions. It relies on vast numbers of past solutions to predict a future outcome. We have the power and intellect to break this cycle. We’ll be left in the dust if we don’t exercise our designer minds the right way. Now isn’t the time to take the easy way out – even if the client does want it done yesterday.
Let us help you stand out. Don’t come to us with a predefined idea of what you want. Understand that design is a process, a journey that we go on together.
Don't come to us with a mood board. Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about your customers.
Don’t go down the pub and ask for opinions, or ask the gossip outside the school gates what they think.
We’re all for the amazing visuals we see across Instagram and TikTok, but we always need to understand the problem we’re trying to solve.
Together, we need to understand the difference between art and design.