The collective mood around creative AI has positively shifted since our last piece on whether AI systems can replace designers. If you’ve read the article, then you’re probably aware that the answer was a resounding “no” — it can’t. Although AI has come a long way, it needs more work in the years to come. As such, it can only take menial tasks off a designer’s plate but doesn’t relieve him/her of his/her responsibilities.

Which brings us to today’s tech conversation. We took a closer look at another compelling discussion in the creative field, that is, the growing popularity of creative AI. Unsupervised AI has already created films, digital paintings, images, and music. But how far will it continue to push the boundaries in design? Let’s find out.

The Virtue of Augmented Creativity

From time to time, you’ll run across a couple of videos that lament the growing use of AI in design. However, a majority of design experts are championing its use.

Ben Plomion, chief marketing officer of AI-powered image reader, GumGum, believes that the technology is there to facilitate design jobs. In an interview, he stressed that AI is there to make designers more efficient and productive. He added, “I don’t think AI intends to replace or mimic humans. AI, to me, is really here in terms of augmented creativity.”

Jon Cook, chief executive officer of award-winning marketing agency VML, echoes the sentiment. Citing an AI-powered content creator as an example, he noted that it’s understandable for creative professionals to be scared of AI, as it could accomplish their so-called “bread and butter.” But he believes that this could force workers to further improve on their craft. “There’s a lot of laziness out of our business. There’s a lot of step and repeat, and we don’t need that. I think AI’s going to force better creativity. Some people look at it as something to fear, but I look at it as something that will make us all better,” he said at a roundtable discussion back in 2017. He added, “It will force us to be more talented and recognize talent better.”

In light of the arguments, both for and against, surrounding creative AI, it has indeed been transforming the design sector in various ways. Let’s take a look.

Creative AI Examples

Here are some popular applications of AI in design:

  • Book cover design: Several AI-powered Web applications that enable designers to create book covers are already available on the market. They require users to fill up a few fields, such as for the book’s title, author’s name, and description and then let users upload a preferred image and color palette. Once all details are complete, these tools come up with several cover studies that users can choose from. This video demonstrates one such product by Deflamel at work:
  • Logo design: A simple Google search reveals various Web-based design tools that enable logo creation. These tools generate logos based on user preferences. They draw “inspiration” from a repository of icons, design trends in various industries, and frequently commissioned logos.
  • Web design: Several companies have been dabbling in developing AI-assisted platforms for website design and development. Wix and GoDaddy, for instance, have both come up with intelligent algorithms that automatically recommend website layouts for optimal user-friendliness and content readability.

Industry Predictions: What’s Next for Creative AI?

Many designers are banking on Tensorflow, a JavaScript machine learning (ML) library, that allows designers to develop a pre-trained, Web-based AI model. The tool runs on a browser and is considered a genuine game-changer. It is also capable of removing latency when contextualizing information from, say, physical to digital design environments.

Industry insiders are also optimistic about the rise of algorithmically based art using artificial neural networks and symbolic AI. Harold Cohen’s AARON algorithm can produce beautiful pieces of art based on preprogrammed templates. Neural networks like ConvNets, meanwhile, have shown a lot of promise in terms of creating art on its own. Alexander Mordvintsev’s Deep Dream, which depicted what constitutes ghastly fever dreams is one example of this. Experts believe that a combination of neural networks and symbolic AI can disrupt the art and creative sectors.

The examples cited in this post are just some of the ways that AI is currently changing the creative field. It remains to be seen if AI can develop capabilities to work entirely without supervision. But, for now, designers can find joy in the fact that they can unleash their creativity using the currently available AI and ML solutions.

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