No matter the field, talk of AI can be intimidating these days, but it can be especially unnerving when we’re thinking about graphic design, with some sources predicting we’re on the cusp of websites that design themselves. In reality, AI is actually an exciting new tool that can help designers expand their visions, while helping to quickly whip up design variants.
The designer’s assistant
There’s a lot of grunt work that goes into modern graphic design to make sure designs work across a number of different devices — in other words, the technical part of the job, as opposed to the creative side. AI is set to automate this side of the profession, giving designers more time to work on perfecting the essential aspects of their designs that make them stand out.
Good graphic design isn’t pure creativity of course. There are reliable aesthetic rules that graphic designers often fall back on, like the rule of three and Fibonacci’s spiral, that can help with a design’s alignment, repetition, and balance. For many experienced designers, these principles are intuitive — but AI tools can still provide suggestions and advice when designers are stumped by an aspect of their design that simply isn’t working.
The bottom line? With AI, elements like user interface (UI) tweaking and resizing and reformatting would be automated. Repetitive, time-consuming production tasks will be a thing of the past, freeing up designers to think more about the creative side of designing, and giving them more time to strategize about the big picture of their campaigns.
What AI can’t do
Good graphic design is an art form, which means it’s suffused with a human touch and an understanding of what makes us tick and what excites us.
Originality. The best graphic design is exciting precisely because it offers something unexpected and utterly original, and try as it might, AI is still far away from that spark of unique creation.
Communication. A design starts with an idea, something that can be communicated to clients if they have questions about the design — for that reason, plenty of companies are likely to still prefer working with human designers, even if AI does advance to the point of self-designing websites.
Understanding. Just because a design is eye-catching doesn’t mean it’s sending the right message. Maybe there’s a unique juxtaposition that just feels subtly off to viewers, or a color scheme that doesn’t strike the right note, even if it is exciting. Human designers have an understanding of associative nuance that AI simply can’t match.
For now, AI remains reliant on designers to give it instructions. The creative ideas of the designer are still the most important part of the design formula. All that’s new is that designers leveraging AI capabilities will have more time to focus on the passion side of their projects — while less technically experienced designers might find it easier to break into the field.