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AI within creative design: shaping the future of creativity

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. In the ever-evolving landscape of technological innovation, the integration of AI has permeated numerous industries, catalysing advancements in entertainment, building development, healthcare and beyond. AI is the fastest adopted technology ever! Open AI achieved 100 million monthly users in just 2 months compared to the 4 years it took Facebook.

In the dynamic realm of creativity, AI tools are emerging as a significant force, reshaping traditional practices and increasingly pushing boundaries, with an expansive adoption already seen in graphic design and video production.

How are we seeing AI being used within the creative sphere?

Akin to the digital revolution of the 80s, utilising AI in the creative realm mirrors the seismic shift reshaping how design is crafted and experienced. We’re seeing generative AI being used from ideation to execution, but one thing stands out: AI should be used as a tool, not a crutch. Examining various technologies within design, one of our senior designers, Scott, emphasises that creative acumen is still required to effectively utilise the software to gain the best output and that AI essentially serves as a copilot.

What benefits are we seeing

  1. Efficiency: AI can certainly help to optimise processes, boost productivity and unlock new creative possibilities. By automating routine tasks like image cropping, colour adjustments and font selection, AI liberates designers from mundane chores, allowing them to channel their energy into more meaningful creative tasks.
  2. Collaboration: In a future focused on merging physical and digital realms, artists and designers can collaborate seamlessly, generating variations and expanding ideas in real-time potentially reaching a point where stakeholders can be invited to participate. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of ownership and involvement for clients, leading to more personalised and tailored solutions that better meet their needs and objectives.
    Additionally, by actively participating in the creative process, stakeholders gain a deeper understanding of the design decisions and rationale, fostering stronger relationships and accelerating the decision-making, ultimately resulting in more successful outcomes.
  3. Exploration/new mediums: Through AI-powered generative design tools, graphic designers can venture into uncharted territory, exploring countless design variations and possibilities to uncover unique and innovative solutions.

Three key AI tools Clear B2B are using, and how we’re using these

  1. Adobe: Adobe, one of the most talked about software platforms within the creative industry has been at the forefront of incorporating AI into its collection of tools and is invaluable for removing elements from a composition or extending an image, for example, and generally speeds up some elements of the design process considerably. Firefly, Adobe’s standalone generative AI application joined Adobe’s Suite in 2023 and is one of the tools we’re most excited to see progress. Firefly seamlessly integrates with software such as Photoshop and Illustrator, facilitating a cohesive workflow for a range of creative endeavours, from graphic design to digital art.
  2. MidJourney: Another AI tool we’re seeing being used within graphic design is MidJourney. It offers a departure from conventional stock photo repositories by converting text prompts into customised images. MidJourney accomplishes this swiftly and efficiently, with the versatility a creative designer requires.
    A downside, however, is that often it produces rather complex cartoon-like visuals, which are not always suitable! More time is then invested in developing the prompts or manipulating the output in other applications. The platform as yet, is not always the best to most effectively address your design when time is limited.
  3. ChatGPT:  As an AI text-based model deployed by OpenAI, ChatGPT has caught the world by storm with its innate conversational prowess, mirroring human-like interaction and delivering swift responses. Since its release in 2022, it has rapidly gained traction within the creative process. Aiding idea generation, ChatGPT serves as a brainstorming tool, often taking a simple idea to the next level.  It also serves as a valuable tool for copywriting, helping to create a basis to start from or assists in refining content to resonate well with your audience.

Promising prospects vs potential pitfalls

The introduction of AI into the world of creativity and graphic design offers both benefits and limitations, depending on its implementation and incorporation within the design workflow.  Navigating its potential requires an awareness of both its capabilities and constraints.

Copyright and confidentiality are currently the biggest grey areas that swarms generative AI subject to debate. Generally, copyright law grants protection to original works created by human authors. However, as AI-generated content is created autonomously by algorithms, it does not fit neatly within the framework of traditional copyright law. It is not always possible to know who owns the underlying rights for the model data. Also from a client confidentiality point of view, be aware that the content you create is being re-ingested into the AI platform. The UK government abandoned an industry-driven agreement on AI copyright but is liaising with the AI sector to find a workable solution. Consistency is one of the criticisms of generative AI. Typing the same prompt into an AI system multiple times will yield different results each time. This inconsistency can disrupt efficiency and hinder creative exploration when just to refine assets may entail completely restarting the whole AI process.

Image creation is still challenging via AI, as it doesn’t always arrive at the most ideal output! Refining an image post-creation with AI is also sometimes arduous, if not unattainable, posing time-consuming challenges in its application. Importantly however, what you get from AI is only as good as the prompts you input!

Designers have the missing pieces AI just doesn’t have

Although AI may seem intimidating for creative designers, it certainly heralds a new era of creative possibilities. It’s evident that designers possess the crucial elements AI currently lacks; an innate ability to infuse human nuance, intuition and emotional intelligence. By embracing AI as a collaborative ally, designers can harness its potential to amplify and embrace creativity while preserving the essence of authentic expression.

At this point in time AI certainly has the ability to speed up the creative process by allowing quick exploration of multiple ideas – it'll get you 60% of way there with fairly minimal effort but the issue at the moment is that it can’t get you much further!

As we venture into this AI-driven future with expanding possibilities, striking a balance between efficiency and creativity will be paramount. As generative AI continues to evolve and integrate into design, its influence promises to be profound, shaping the future of communication in remarkable ways.

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