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Are you using AI yet?



I just received this auction booklet in the mail and realized at a single glance that it was made using AI images.


Which got me thinking…

  • AI has such a distinct visual style - is this specific style here to stay?

    • Will there soon be Photoshop actions to enable you to mimic the “AI look”?

    • Will this, like 3D renderings before it, be a trend for just a year or two before people get sick of it and move on to the next new thing?

  • Is this really the best use of AI - generating photos you could easily find on a stock photo site (ie. a typical fancy watch)?

  • What is a good use of AI?

  • Is AI really going to make that much of a difference in our daily lives?


The world is roaring over these image-generating AI’s (Midjourney, DALL E, etc.) but is all the fuss worth it? Will our lives change that much or will people get sick of this in a year or two and move on to the next big thing?


While we can’t predict the future, we can look to the past to locate patterns.


There have been other developments that have popped up over the years that made designers wonder about their job security - online logo generators, Canva, Fiverr, Wix, etc. But, at the end of the day, we’re all still here and our jobs are more valuable than ever. On the contrary, these new tools created new job markets and services for designers such as Canva template creators and Shopify developers.


No computer can replace years of training your eyes to see nuances in layout and hierarchy, understanding human (and your target audience’s) psychology, and empathizing with your customer.


AI might be able to create a beautiful logo, but will it be the perfect logo for your client that reflects their values and will attract their specific target audience?


Probably not.


It can get you to the first step - generate ideas and directions, but it will still need a human to perfect and optimize it.




These tools are just that - tools. They can be used, much like Pinterest or Behance, to spark ideas, broaden your horizons, and take you in even greater creative directions.


AI is just another tool like Canva templates or Shutterstock. Another way to generate ideas, inspiration, and imagery for your projects. A new form of creative expression. And possibly, like 3D renderings before it, a new visual style/vibe that will trend for a while.


Put eloquently by Eddie Shleyner of VeryGoodCopy (about Copy AI bots):


​​AI can be a remarkable productivity tool.


For example, I use AI as an instrument, an aid for sourcing and organizing ideas.


AI can give writers and copywriters the dots to help us start writing (which, often, is the hardest part).


But you know, it cannot connect the dots like we can. It can’t be personal like us, human like us. It can’t feel the gravity of a profound moment, like a birth, much less the essence of another person. These are uniquely human things. And so, AI cannot write like us. It can’t tell stories like us. It can’t. Because the specifics, the details, the granularities we collect through our lived experiences belong to us.


The Human Condition—its nuances and imperceptibles, its vastness—belongs to us.


So will AI replace writers?


No, it will not.


AI may eventually replace some writing. But it cannot replace writers, people, everything we know and feel and emote.


We are, as it were, too much to bear.


 


So, how can you take advantage of this new tool to improve your workflow?


Here’s a few ideas to get you started:


1. Brainstorm Abstract Concepts

  • When confronted with an abstract concept, I will sometimes type it into a search engine such as Google or Shutterstock to see what it comes up with and spark ideas. You can do the same with AI - start with an idea and see where it takes it. Then work from there in new directions, building off of it.

  • Play AI’s style to your advantage as fuel for more abstract or interesting visuals you might not have otherwise thought of, such as these balloons that ended up halfway through the door. The visual appears to be an accident but it does look intriguing. Who knows what directions AI’s visual errors might take you down the rabbit hole of ideas.


2. Brainstorm Designs

  • I spent some time scrolling through Midjourney and found plenty of people playing around with the AI to help them generate designs - usually for logos or web layouts, but I also saw some for Facebook ads and an event invitation. They aren't very good (using Pinterest would probably be faster) but they might spark some ideas or directions for someone in a design rut. You can tell from the results that the people who really understood how to create better prompts were able to get much better designs.


  • I tried to get it to generate a web mockup for Frocks in Stock and you can see the results weren't very good. Clearly I need some training on how to use the program better.


3. Custom imagery without the Photoshopping

  • Concept Art - Have an out of the box idea for a project but don’t want to spend hours creating it in case your client doesn’t go for the whole concept? Instead, generate something quickly with AI as a raw concept to sell your idea.

  • Nothing can replace a photo of actual customers and products that you get from a photoshoot. But when something more generic or abstract is needed, but still specific enough that a stock photo site wouldn’t have it, try generating it with AI. Hopefully we can soon say goodbye to photoshopping yarmulkes onto heads! (That might be wishful thinking, though - AI doesn’t seem to be too good at Jewish photos yet, until it collects more data to work with…)


4. Creative Expression/Fun

  • Enjoy seeing all your crazy ideas brought to life in new and amazing ways while AI does all the legwork for you.


 

Now comes the hard part...

How do I get AI to listen to me???


Getting AI to generate your specific vision can be a lot harder than it sounds. You can go through hours of trial and error, or you can improve your AI skills by learning from the experts.


Here are a few courses that have already come out on using AI:


 

Wait! What about copy-generating AI - how do I use those?


Here are some articles on the topic you might find helpful in using AI, such as ChatGPT, to generate research, blog and social media post ideas, headlines and subject lines, and more.


 

Unsure which AI to use?



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