The Future of AI Creative: Generative Design

Published Dec. 29, 2022 7 Min. Read

Everything You Need To Know To Create More in 2023

A few years ago, it seemed as though artificial intelligence was only a concept from science fiction movies and books. Fast forward to today, and it is not only becoming more powerful, but it is also gaining popularity and finding its way into commercial viability.

That’s why we’re excited to show you what it is, how to leverage it, and how to apply it to optimize your creative processes instead of feeling panicked or worried about job security, data privacy, or being replaced by robots (especially if you are a creative).

What is generative design or generative creation?

The concept of using machine learning software and a workflow to create content, graphics, or copy is what constitutes generative design or creation. It transforms input in the form of words (or your concept or idea, maybe even a creative brief lite, if you will) into reality by feeding an algorithm. What this algorithm does is basically create an asset where the input is evaluated by its model and delivers an output according to what it’s learned and anticipates.

Now, this may sound like the regular process with your current designer, where you tell them what you need, they use their skills to create an idea, and 1-2 days later, they deliver an asset to you. However, this technology can create without human intervention. For the most part, it is practically immediate, depending on the speed of the algorithms you are working with. Still, the disadvantage is that you do not have the opportunity to give feedback, make changes, and iterate until you get the desired result.

What does generative design look like?

It’s art! It’s design! It’s technology from your dreams. If you type “sushi in space as digital art,” these could be some of the results you’re served with a run-of-the-mill generative design AI tool.

Why does generative design have a place in corporate or commercial design spaces?

One of the first fundamental components of the creative process is how fast you can go from brief to final design – the faster you can go through the creative process, the quicker the output will be (and speed is money, right?). Generative design will speed up that process in a snap, complementing the traditional process, not removing the human component.

Let’s break that down into a real scenario. Suppose you’re working with a traditional designer or a company like Design Pickle and have requested a design concept using a creative brief or intake form. In the best-case scenario, you get a quick same-day turnaround for less complex projects and concepts, or you could wait several days (or even weeks) if you work with a freelancer or agency with slower turn-around times.

With this new option of creative generation being done by computers, the output is immediate. That doesn’t mean your final asset is done in a second; it means your first concept is already ready to iterate upon. A miss or a bad design can communicate just as much to your designer as a first-try-hole-in-one design.

Are there drawbacks to generative design?

One of the limitations of these generic creators is that they might not understand your brief the way your human designers do. You’ll have to re-generate and re-generate it several times to get closer to what you’re looking for. This is not too terrible since the output is immediate, but let’s say the generative design just doesn’t “get it,” and you never get anything even remotely close to what you need. You’re back to the literal and figurative drawing board with a human.

What industries are impacted negatively by generative design?

In its current form, generative design assists with low-complexity issues like sourcing stock photography. This new technology can create stock assets quickly without the overhead cost of stock subscriptions. It’s possible that stock subscriptions and other sources of stock photography may see diminishing returns as generative design explodes. Why? Because you can spend so much time looking for assets, getting them approved, and sending them back and forth, even though these assets are not the final design. And thinking about accelerated design timelines, if you’re just looking for stock assets for your projects, then using generative design tools makes it immediate and FREE. You don’t have to search through paid libraries anymore, which is huge! It translates as a faster and low-cost design exploration.

What are some ways people are already using generative design?

Other than the above mentioned “fast” concepting, or on-demand stock photography, another of the advantages of this type of tool is image manipulation. Users can upload a photo, remove the background with one click, and make changes; it doesn’t take any skill set to make it possible. And this sounds fantastic for end users and creatives because creatives feel like they’ve unlocked a superpower when they don’t have to manually remove backgrounds from images and can be more productive and work on projects requiring human skills.

Still, the real superpower in generative design is about visualizing the concept, the idea, the vision, and of course, getting it all fast (AF).

Will generative design cannibalize creative jobs?

We believe these tools will not cannibalize the entire creative industry. We’re very passionate about educating marketers and creatives alike about the benefits and complementary solutions that are being created and evolving right before our eyes.

Creating assets with the correct use of colors, logos, and brand guidelines to keep them consistent is still a human job. These tools are not operating by any knowledge of what you’re using for your business, and they don’t have a comparable accuracy rate. While design and art are subjective, marketers have specific creative needs that generative design can’t replace.

What are the legal implications and risks of generative design?

If you’ve used any app or tool that requires inputting an image or ideas, you’ve probably accepted terms and conditions that relinquish the rights to those assets to the parent company in perpetuity. Yikes. Have you considered licensing? These tools can give users commercial licenses, and you can use them. But it is a potential risk using this content as is because this content may or may not be legally protected down the road, and we will see a lot of these lawsuits start to pan out.

What’s Design Pickle doing about it?

Russ Perry, Design Pickle’s CEO and founder, recently covered this topic in a webinar. “What is huge for us as a creative company is that we’re going to leverage this new Ai process. Our goal here at Design Pickle as a company is we want this to be an evolution, not a destruction.” Dive in to learn more about where we’re headed and how we plan to make this technology accessible to our clients by watching the webinar.

And if you’re a creator, a designer, a marketer, or an agency, these are the beginning points of the creative process that we’re shortening up. “Soon, our designers can create thousands or tens of thousands of concepts immediately for ideas and inspiration and then add their skill sets to be able to refine and build better, and that time is essential. This technology increases the scale, decreases revisions, reduces cost, and unlocks the potential for new skills and scope.”

What’s the tl;dr of generative design?

This technology is complementary and not competitive to designers. So if you are a creative thinking that all of a sudden you’re going to have to compete against these tools, we’ll help you reframe your mind and see it as an opportunity to get ahead and build smarter and better creative processes to serve you better.

No matter what seat you are in, whether you are a creative, an agency, an in-house marketing team, or a salesperson, if you’re running a merch business, you’ll see the power inside of these tools to help you level up. Stay tuned as we cover this topic more in-depth as it evolves!

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