What is the impact of AI on graphic design?

Tue 1 Dec 2020

Technological advances over the past few decades have made mind-boggling improvements to work processes in nearly every profession. Among the most exciting of these is the development of AI (Artificial Intelligence), which can do everything from directing us to the nearest petrol station to detecting credit card fraud in near real time. But will continual technological advances threaten jobs in the future? We examine the impact of AI on the graphic design industry.

Automating graphic design processes

Futurist Thomas Frey predicted that over 2 billion jobs will disappear by 2030 (roughly half of all jobs on the planet) due to technological advances. However, within the design industry researchers predict that only 8% of graphic design jobs are at risk of becoming automated. Since much of a designer’s job involves creative skills that are not structured, many aspects of graphic design would be difficult to automate. However, designers also perform a lot of laborious repetitive tasks that can now be done by machines. Here are some recent examples:

  • Adobe’s Sensei software uses AI to speed up processes such as filtering through stock photos to find the perfect image, editing facial features without distortion, and smoothing out jump cuts during video interviews.
  • Website builders such as Squarespace, Wix, and The Grid use AI to generate websites without the need for graphic designers. Users can upload images and text and then choose from a library of colour combinations and design options to create a unique, customised website in just a few easy steps.
  • Autodesk’s Dreamcatcher system lets designers input specific design objectives (e.g. functional requirements, type of material, manufacturing method, and cost restrictions) into the tool, which then uses AI to generate numerous design alternatives that meet the criteria. Designers can then select the best option or redefine the parameters to generate new ideas.
  • Berlin-based company EyeQuant uses eye-tracking technology to predict which types of banner advertisements will effectively catch people’s eye. The Ad Visibility Score uses an algorithm that analyses the visual characteristics of an advert, scoring it from 0-100. Eventually the technology may be able to automatically generate eye-catching banner adverts that are guaranteed to be effective.
  • Netflix has eliminated tedious rote tasks such as product localization and creating the same graphics in multiple languages by using AI to automate the processes. Designers now only need to check the graphics and manually adjust them if needed.

Working with AI for better design processes

Rather than seeing AI as a threat to their livelihoods, designers should embrace new technology as an opportunity to spend more time on the creative and strategic parts of their jobs and allow AI to automate more monotonous, time-consuming tasks.

Thanks to tools such as Dreamcatcher, designers can create designs faster and more cheaply than ever before, using data to make adjustments and incremental improvements. Like many other industries, AI will serve to develop and enhance the graphic design process and offer new and exciting job opportunities. As IBM CEO Ginni Rometty commented, “If I considered the initials AI, I would have preferred augmented intelligence.”

Interested in learning more about trends in today’s global design culture? Earning an MA in Graphic Design from Falmouth University’s Flexible Learning programme can help kick start your design career. 

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