March Nuggets - machines

2 min read

As we move into spring and sunnier days, I've been thinking about how Ai could impact the design industry. 

Over the past few months, AI has been a hot topic as tools that use machine learning to generate art, power chatbots (and more) evolve and become more powerful. Adobe recently found in a survey that over 60% of creatives think that AI will have an impact on their work. Plus, just take a look at what ChatGPT 4 is capable of.

So, I’m interested in the potential for tools to impact the design industry in many ways, and how the rise of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence could spur an increased appreciation for analog crafts.

I have been keeping up to date with the advancement of Ai tools over the last several months to stay in the loop of how they could be a useful (or detrimental) part of a designer’s toolset.

The ethical question

On the surface, the creation of Ai art may pose ethical questions (AI can reference and emulate an artist's work, to produce something new and different just by us telling it to do so); and the use of ChatGPT feels to a lot of people like cheating the system (most people disliked writing essays at school, but now, we are glad that we were encouraged to explore our critical thinking by doing so).

I am not interested in using AI to generate designs or produce content, so while these concerns do exist, I want to focus on the positive side of how AI and Machine Learning can help artists and designers of the future. Because, let’s be honest, a machine will never be able to replace the human emotion a skilled artist or designer can inject into their work.

On the topic of referencing and sources, it will continue to be important to use our critical thinking to fact-check, screen, and edit anything we ask AI to produce.

AI and the creative process

As the tools become more powerful and gain more traction, I think it is more likely that they will become a core part of many professional toolkits. 

I don’t believe that AI will ever replace the job of a skilled designer, but the use of AI by an experienced designer with the right prompts and direction could streamline processes and free up a designer to dedicate more attention to areas of a design problem that need a human touch. It seems more believable that AI could become part of our toolkit, like Adobe Illustrator or Figma, rather than replacing a designer's role.

AI and the crafts

On the other side, the importance of craft, experience, and expertise in art and design is more prominent than ever. Much like the move away from malls and chain stores to shopping locally and supporting Mom and Pop establishments, the rise of the machine in the creative space will call for an increased demand for authenticity and the human touch.

Would you rather own a mass-produced shirt from Target with a print that thousands of other people own, or would you rather own a shirt you bought from a local artist who has sourced the softest, highest quality t-shirts, experimented to find the best ink, honed their screen printing skills, and lovingly crafted a limited edition, unique design that means something? 

In any case, I think this is an exciting time to be a designer, and I’m looking forward to evolving with the industry.