AI has been disrupting the world of design for over a decade now. And as each day passes, the algorithms grow in capability. Now, even the most creative skill sets are within machines’ reach.
Fortunately, innovative design companies aren’t looking to replace people with robots just yet. But designers must align with these technology trends and use developments to their advantage to ensure they remain irreplaceable.
What Is Machine Learning?
Go to any graphic design online chat room, and you’ll see nervous tones among graphic designers as they debate the impact machine learning (ML) may have on their future. Graphic designers worldwide are worried, but the question is: Should they be? To find the answer, we must first understand what ML is.
ML is a subset of AI, defined as the capability of machines to imitate human behavior. AI, meanwhile, is based on the idea that systems can learn from analytic data to automate model building, identify patterns, and create solutions without human intervention.
Why Do Designers Need to Embrace Machine Learning?
ML won’t replace the designers of tomorrow, but it could replace the designers of today if they don’t embrace it. As the hype surrounding ML intensifies, it increases the pressure on companies to use the technology or risk getting left behind, and we can say the same for designers.
Designers are facing increasing demand to work with digital systems powered by ML. And the designers who embrace AI will turn the demand into opportunities. But what direct impact does ML have on graphic design? Let’s find out.
What Can Machine Learning Do for Designers?
ML can reduce the workload of graphic designers by performing their repetitive tasks, saving them time and resources and freeing them to focus on the bigger picture. In other words, machines aren’t replacing designers but working as their assistants, increasing their productivity and efficiency.
But AI can do more than assist. It can help designers create images that would otherwise be impossible by analyzing available data to identify patterns and develop models beyond human capability in a given timeframe.
The result? Graphic designers can use AI to create multiple design variations quickly and cheaply and use vast amounts of data to suggest adjustments and improvements.
Let’s take a closer look at where ML is having the most significant impact.
How Is Artificial Intelligence Changing the Design Industry?
It’s clear that AI will play an essential role in the design industry’s future. In fact, we should allow ML to inspire innovation while ensuring that the fundamentals of graphic design are kept intact. The key to achieving that lies in identifying where AI has the most significant influence on the design industry. One area is website design.
1. AI and Website Design
Website builders have been using AI to create sites with no human graphic designers for almost a decade now. The process starts by asking the user a few design questions and the website’s name.
Next, the AI analyzes the user’s website needs and design preferences, then designs various layouts after confirming the relevance of distinct elements using cognitive abilities.
Users upload text and images then choose from library design options and color combinations to create a customized website based on their unique choices.
Web design AI removed the need to build websites from scratch using code. Now, anyone can create an attractive yet functional site with no previous web design or building experience.
2. AI and Brand Design
Logo design is another area where AI has become useful. What once took professional designers and a sizable investment to create is now accessible to anyone with an Internet connection and a credit card.
ML and AI logo makers are now very popular because they’re affordable and can provide a logo in many file formats, equal to what most freelancers on Fiverr could provide.
AI logo-making platforms are also straightforward to use. As with AI website builders, you answer a range of industry- and design-related questions, and the logo tool does the rest.
AI has thus been creating a massive difference for first-time business owners and entrepreneurs by making brand design affordable and accessible, even to those with little to no design experience.
3. AI and 3D Graphics
AI can do more than design two-dimensional graphics like branding materials and websites. It can also build three-dimensional graphics.
Architects and engineers also use AI to build three-dimensional architectural models, enabling them to create highly detailed blueprints of the most complex building plans.
But AI goes beyond our imagination in its ability to create worlds for virtual reality (VR), mixed reality, and artificial reality. These tools design the graphics for virtual worlds and also react intelligently to user behaviors and interactions.
4. Design Context Interpretation
We base traditional design work on a step-by-step process. It takes time and dedication to bring design elements together to create a harmonious, functional relationship.
AI-based software, however, isn’t constrained by this process. ML tools adopt a different approach by focusing on the design context, interpreting its needs and creating numerous solutions.
By doing so, AI can produce similar quality results to human designers based on a design’s context. This advanced AI ability to automate tasks makes the technology so appealing to the design industry.
5. Speed and Efficiency
Designers who use AI can now create designs at a speed and cost that would have seemed like science fiction only a few years ago. That is because AI can analyze vast amounts of data at lightning speed and provide design suggestions accordingly.
This capability brings many advantages to the graphic design world, one is enabling designers to create multiple design prototypes for companies that wish to run A/B tests with their target audience.
6. Multiple Design Options
AI can also identify thousands of designs based on one core structure. The technology is used in structural recognition systems and thumbprint and facial identification software, among others. It helps machines become more capable of identifying patterns and memorizing them for each design.
Once AI identifies and memorizes a pattern, a machine can use it to generate multiple variations instantly. One such case was “Nutella Unica,” where an AI algorithm pulled patterns and colors from the secret Ferrero Group database and created 7 million unique versions of Nutella’s original packaging.
7. Effortless Design Process
What you’re designing or your level of design experience doesn’t matter when using AI. Bringing several elements together in harmony while looking effortless is a complicated process. AI and ML ease that process.
While you still require a basic understanding of what you’re designing, AI reduces manual work. It simplifies the execution by providing options based on your design’s context and requirements. The previously mentioned website development and logo-making platforms are excellent examples of this at work.
But does this rapid rise in AI usage and automation mean it will soon make designers redundant? Not if you use the technology to your advantage.
Using Machine Learning to Your Advantage
Advanced ML tools are already here. It’s up to us to either let them replace us or enhance our design capabilities.
Designers can use AI to their advantage by adopting and teaching machines to understand their workflow. An example would be for regular Photoshop users to educate an ML tool to analyze your workflow and suggest shortcuts and improvements that can increase your productivity.
Companies like YouTube and Amazon use this process daily to detect what you regularly search for to make suggestions based on your search history.
AI will not put designers out of business, but it will certainly replace the traditional way of doing things.
We have already embedded AI into the design industry. It helps generate graphics for brands, create websites, utilize VR, reduce workloads, and speed up business processes. But AI isn’t here to show us what we’re already aware of, it is presenting us an open market for more innovative thoughts and ideas.
If designers harness this opportunity and align the power of AI with their ingenuity, the future could present a mutually beneficial and lasting relationship between humans and machines.