Embarking on the AI design journey

26 Apr 2023 by Steven Giannoulis


I’ve been following the rise of AI like a kid with a new toy, excited to play. I’ve been ‘writing’ stories through ChatGPT and ‘designing’ composite images through Adobe’s Firefly. Through my excitement, I’ve been avoiding that really big question casting a shadow on my playing field: what will AI mean for the design industry? One of my LinkedIn discussion groups suggested that AI would replace me, developing comprehensive marketing strategies as good as mine within seconds. Surely, an AI couldn’t replicate the 30 years of experience I bring to developing marketing, brand and communication strategies for clients? Or can it?

So I gave it a go, carefully crafting my input question. Within seconds it produced something pretty decent and well-researched but a little over-simplified and linear. I was somewhat horrified and, at the same time, a little relieved. Many so-called marketing strategists would use this output to position themselves as experts, diminishing the perceived value of what real strategists do. For those of us who are both qualified and experienced in developing brand, marketing and communication strategies, the AI generated strategy was nothing more than a good start. 

Within a few hours, I was able to transform the AI marketing strategy into a much more tailored and cohesive plan that better dealt with the interdependent relationships the plan had to navigate. I wouldn’t however have been able to write a plan of this quality in this short a time, without the head start from ChatGPT.

So, clearly AI is both a threat and opportunity that will have a big impact on the creative field my team and I make our living in. Understanding its impact quickly became my obsession, but where do I begin? AI itself, obviously. ‘ChatGPT, tell me what the impact of AI will be on the design industry?’ And here’s what the little artificial person behind my computer screen replied with:

As we enter the age of artificial intelligence, the graphic design industry is poised to undergo a significant transformation. AI technology is advancing at an incredible pace, and designers are already using AI tools to automate tasks and streamline workflows. 

First and foremost, AI technology will make it easier and faster for designers to complete tasks. One of the biggest advantages of using AI tools is that they can automate repetitive tasks, such as resizing images or formatting text. This means that designers will be able to focus on more creative and strategic tasks. This will not only increase the efficiency of the design process but will also lead to higher quality and more innovative designs.

AI tools can assist designers in creating personalised designs by analysing data about customer preferences and generating custom design elements based on that data.

It is important to note that these tools can never replace the creativity and expertise of a professional designer. While some tasks may become automated, it is unlikely that AI will replace human creativity and innovation. In fact, many designers are already using AI tools to enhance their work, rather than replace it. 

Ultimately, the rise of AI in graphic design is an exciting opportunity for designers to push the boundaries of what is possible and create truly innovative designs.

I wasn’t sure if this explanation gave me comfort or created more alarm. It did however reinforce that it’s therefore crucial for me to stay informed. But how? Again, I turned to ChatGPT for the answers. Here’s what the machine told me:

As a design agency leader, you should seek to remain informed about the latest AI technologies and how they can be leveraged to improve your agency’s operations. Attend conferences and seminars on AI and read relevant publications to stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the industry. Additionally, collaborate with experts in AI to learn more about how it can be applied to branding and design.

Furthermore, it’s essential to invest in AI-powered design tools to enhance your agency’s capabilities. Additionally, AI-powered tools can provide data-driven insights that can inform design decisions, leading to better designs that resonate with target audiences.

It’s also crucial to integrate AI into your agency’s workflow gradually. Don’t try to implement AI all at once, as it can be overwhelming and lead to resistance from your team. Start with a small project or task that can be automated with AI and gradually expand its use across your operations.

As you integrate AI into your agency’s workflow, it’s vital to provide training to your team to ensure they can use the technology effectively. Ensure your team understands the benefits of AI and how it can improve their work. Provide them with the necessary tools and resources to integrate AI tools into their workflows.

Additionally, it’s essential to monitor the impact of AI on your agency’s operations continually. Analyse the data to determine the effectiveness of AI-powered design tools and identify areas for improvement. 

Finally, it’s crucial to remain flexible and adaptable as the impact of AI on the branding and design industry evolves. AI technologies are rapidly advancing, and it’s crucial to remain open-minded to new possibilities and opportunities. Stay informed about the latest advancements and adapt your agency’s operations accordingly.

My favourite new toy is about to change my world in the most profound way. I’m a little scared but a whole lot more excited. We’ve always been a strategic-creative agency, arguing that pure graphic design is largely a commodity. What clients really value is the thinking behind it and the results it can deliver if it’s done well in combination with the right messages and channels. AI magnifies the value of good strategic-creative, even ChatGPT says so! I’m pushing forward with confidence that AI is like the introduction of the Mac and online designs – the catalyst for us to deliver even more  innovative and creative work for our clients.

As a final thought, I realise that all the industry sectors that our clients operate in will see opportunities and challenges with AI. ChatGPT’s advice above on how to prepare for it applies equally to all of them. I hope they are as excited by the prospect as I am.

Note: At this stage, Insight Creative uses AI in a very limited way to improve our internal workflows. No doubt that usage will grow as the technology and our understanding of it advances, allowing us to be more efficient and effective in delivering creative work for our clients. As we do, we’ll be transparent will clients about how and when we use it.