The human touch in design Vs artificial intelligence design

By Jen Yeo

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It's no surprise that artificial intelligence, or AI, is high on most radars. Following the launch of ChatGPT, businesses and individuals have begun to rely on the ease of using an AI tool; some even fear the loss of their jobs.

As a creative agency, we've seen AI being implemented across multiple tools, and still have lots of opinions when it comes to AI in design. We feel that, quite often in design, the essence and importance of human influence is extremely important and cannot be overlooked. 

There is no doubt that the inclusion of AI tools in the design industry can boost the industry with innovation, smooth out processes and offer new creative ideas. Yet, no matter how complicated and innovative AI algorithms are, there is always room for a creative mindset in the industry.

From recent AI innovation and popularity, it is believed that all these newtechnologies could succeed at creating designs on their own without any human touch. The fact is that human thought process and creativity in design not only useful but inherent in the creative industry.

AI in Design 

AI , in general, is the process of a machine using an intelligent agent, with the ability to perceive its environment or a prompt and take the best action to deliver an end product. AI tools are applications or software using algorithms and data to imitate tasks and functions, making it possible for machines to learn from data, recognise patterns, make decisions, and perform tasks.

Generative AI is a subset of AI that builds systems capable of self-creating new content, pictures, patterns, and solution models, given the input data patterns and examples fed into them. In other words, through this process, a person can request something of a computer or an AI tool, even in multiple languages, and almost instantly the AI tool would present and create the asked-for content.

Generative AI mainly induces creativity and innovation by allowing the machines to create, imagine, and produce new content, original graphics, or solutions beyond what they were programmed into. 

The use of many of these tools is precisely where AI and design meet, but there is still a fine balance in order for assets to be fully bespoke and creative.

Adobe and its Impact on AI in Design

It is important to note, we are innovative as a creative agency and this article is not to say that all AI is bad. Over a decade ago, Adobe Photoshop released its Content-Aware Fill tool among its lineup of AI-powered tools to seamlessly fill a selected portion of an image with similar image content from surrounding parts of a photo. Long gone are the days of what's now known as Adobe Photoshop's Content-Aware Fill. Any parts to be duplicated also had to be done manually by a graphic designer, a time-consuming activity.

Adobe Firefly's generative AI models help users create images and other assets through text prompts, which a creative can certainly take to when they hit a roadblock and need some inspiration.

Alike, very strong generative AI from Adobe is also available in Adobe Illustrator. The Generative Recolour AI tool will morph colours in vector artwork to multiple energising palettes and themes using everyday language.

The ability to help these AI tools generate images, resize them, and transform text into images is highly important in graphic design and something designers do day in and day out.

Inside a graphic designers mind

With all this knowledge and acknowledgement of how AI can be helpful in design, we realise how tools that are meant to be helpful can become hurtful with the evolution of AI, especially taking into consideration that people and businesses will use AI instead of a designer or, eventually, replace graphic designers.

In the bigger picture, all designers are very creative in nature. They can take an idea and then work on it in their heads to create something memorable that could become the base of the whole brand or message in a small loco or icon.

In the process of creativity, designers consider every bit of detail is looked after from logos, to typography, colours and messaging.

The main things that AI can't do are some of the most powerful parts of a designer. Understanding emotions and valuable messages, fostering up creativity across different industries, solving problems with the help of visuals, understanding the context, and collaborating within the design and business are extremely important parts of having human influence and creativity within design.

Inside a graphic designers mind

Understanding emotions

Designers create emotional statements in products and promote a connection to businesses through the design and messaging. By embedding a beautiful story into their designs, designers utilise creative aspecst, stirring deep emotions, we make real emotional connections with their brilliance.

A human-centred approach to design leads to the most unique solutions and content generation that are hard for AI and algorithms to accomplish. The level of understanding a designer has when collaborating with a brand and putting themselves in the perspective of target audiences cannot be replicated by artificial intelligence in the same capacity.

Fostering Creativity

Graphic design is a professional skill that uses both analysis and creativity. Very often, graphic designers will thrive on a process of exploration within a creative workflow. Graphic designers deep dive and cross boundaries to find innovative solutions and to display messages visually.

Genuine creativity often involves intuition, emotions, and unique human experiences—which are often difficult to put into algorithmic inputs. Although AI can lead to visually appealing designs and assist in tasks, it might not be able to comprehend some abstractions, emotions, or cultural nuisances—the very elements that go into some of the most innovative and truly creative designs.

Creative problem-solving

The work of a designer goes beyond aesthetics. They most definitely create beautiful designs, but the gist of it is solving complex problems and fitting their work in according to business needs and user preferences. However, design at the end should drive engagement.

Designers immerse themselves with knowledge about what will be attractive, what works, and what truly resonates with targeted viewers. That includes meticulous attention to detail, acute sensitivity toward user behaviour, and awareness of the evolving landscape within design trends and technologies.

Problems demanding genuine human judgment, creativity, and understanding of subjective and sometimes sensitive elements create a specific solution for a designer to solve.

While AI can perform remarkably in pattern recognition and optimal solutions guided by data, it may not be able to fully comprehend problems that are abstract and require intuition or more of an understanding of the subtleties in human behaviour and preferences.

Many graphic design problems are multi-dimensional and require flexible thinking, something that Generative AI would not be particularly good at when dealing with requirements that could constantly change or have different perspectives depending on varying audiences. Whereas the AI can assist and parts of the problem solution, it may not have the adaptability and clear understanding to do a complete job on all parts.

Ultimately, designs are complemented by AI tools but AI does not replace the human designers problem solving and creativity skills. 

Collaboration and communication

Collaborating with businesses and with people is one area where a lot of graphic designers fare well. Often needing to liaise witha huge number of stakeholders, clients, and teams, and present their conceptual designs, designers are great at taking on feedback and opinions. 

A good graphic designer has good interpersonal and communication skills to understand the requirements in a better way, generate ideas in collaboration, and communicating the purpose. 

AI algorithms struggle with interpersonal and communication skills which are crucial in design collaborations.

Diverse perspectives spark creativity

Think about having a team of members with very different backgrounds, skills, and experiences. The diversity of the team brings in different ideas and viewpoints into the creative process, which more often than not results in design solutions that can be truly creative and cannot be perceived by one mind alone.

When great minds come together, magic happens. The idea of fusion is sparked through brainstorming sessions and collaborative efforts, leading to innovation and shifting the boundaries of conventional design. Most of the time, it is a collective effort that finally results in refined and impactful design outcomes.

Within the team, everyone brings something different to the table: illustration, typography, user experience, and much more. This sharing of talent creates a basis on which design is truly the best it can be.

Dividing tasks based on expertise streamlines the design process. Specialisation allows the focus on specific aspects, thus contributing to efficiency in work and results of higher quality.

In the face of changing project requirements or client preferences, human design teams prove more adaptable and understanding than that of generative AI designs.

The creative process

Graphic design is a journey involving continual enhancements and often repetitive tasks to create something unique. Designers engage in design, testing, and feedback loops to refine their creations and optimise user experiences. They rely on intuition and experience to make informed decisions throughout this process. AI algorithms excel at identifying patterns and may be able to automate tasks allowing designers to be efficient, but they lack the imagination and human judgment required to leverage these patterns effectively.

Design is a process where every small detail is often thought about. It can take multiple days and weeks of research and ideas bouncing off creative minds to find the absolute perfect visual content, brand idea, or even logo.

AI's biggest strength, the speediness of giving content, is also its biggest weakness in the design industry, as there is no knowledge of the different research that has been divulged to create the finished product.

The creative process

AI & Design: allies or enemies? 

Design professionals use state-of-the-art AI design tools not as something to replace creativity but as tools to amplify creative visions in creating experiences that straddle technology with the warmth of the human view.

However, their coming together—human creativity and AI's computational power and tools—holds immense potential to unlock new possibilities, shaping new possibilities and the future of design.

Will AI replace designers?

The AI-powered tools are definitely a game-changer in their own right and help optimise certain aspects of the graphic design process, but even with technological advancements, in the near future, designers will continue to shape up the user experience design beyond AI's replication.Generative AI is simply no match for the human touch in design. 

Our human design experts 

Whether it is a complete brand identity or branded marketing collateral, we believe design to be the vessel through which a brand expresses itself and are committed to ensuring that anything we produce serves a wider strategy.

Our graphic designers use the same design tools and knowledge to export designs about web design, logos, images, full marketing campaigns, and thousands of visual assets our services require. 

If you need help with any type of design, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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