The Power of AI for Designers

April 10, 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving technology that has already impacted many industries, including design. In the design world, AI is being used to streamline processes, enhance creativity, and optimize user experiences. In this Summit recap, we will explore some of the ways that AI is being used in design.

Streamlining Design Processes
Designers often spend a lot of time performing repetitive tasks, such as resizing images or adjusting colors. AI can be used to automate these processes, freeing up designers' time to focus on more creative work. For example, AI-powered design tools like Canva and Adobe Sensei can automatically adjust the layout of a design based on the content and purpose of the project. This saves time and ensures that the design is optimized for the intended use.

Enhancing Creativity
AI can also be used to enhance creativity in the design process. One example of this is the use of generative design, which uses algorithms to generate and iterate on designs. Autodesk's generative design tool, for instance, can create thousands of design options based on specific parameters, such as material type and weight restrictions. This can help designers come up with ideas they may not have considered otherwise and can lead to more innovative solutions.

Optimizing User Experiences
AI can also be used to optimize user experiences in design. For example, AI-powered chatbots can be used to provide customer support or answer questions on a website. These chatbots can learn from user interactions to provide more personalized and helpful responses over time. Similarly, AI can be used to analyze user behavior on a website or app to identify pain points or areas for improvement. This information can then be used to optimize the user experience and improve overall satisfaction.

Augmenting Human Creativity
While AI can automate certain tasks and enhance creativity, it is not intended to replace human creativity altogether. Rather, AI should be seen as a tool that can augment and enhance human creativity. By allowing designers to focus on the more creative aspects of design, AI can help them create better and more innovative designs.

In conclusion, AI is becoming an increasingly important tool in the design world. It is being used to streamline processes, enhance creativity, and optimize user experiences. While there are some concerns about the role of AI in design, it is clear that AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach design and lead to better, more efficient, and more innovative solutions.

Note to readers: OpenAI was used to draft the above summary. Should any of us be afraid that it will soon put us out of a job? No, it’s not likely. Is it a good summary? Yes, it is a great start to this use case example. 

When AI is discussed, we often hear words like efficiency, usefulness, but also, dehumanization and replacement. Our Summit speakers, Hugh Dubberly of Dubberly Design and Shelley Evenson, Managing Director of Song, walked everyone through the basics of AI and asked attendees questions to help bring about a greater understanding of how AI can benefit design.

There are massive economic drivers pushing AI forward with billions invested by companies like Microsoft, Google, Adobe, and Figma. AI is not going anywhere and will only grow exponentially. Adaptation, not avoidance, is what needs to take place in the design industry.  

So, what does this mean for design and designers? Designers have to learn to work with AI tools. We need to use AI to our advantage, to have generative conversations that build on the existing AI knowledge base. There are opportunities in this new space and designers should be, and are, poised to take advantage of what AI tools offer. As an attendee said, “A human is still needed to translate in some way, to be able to shape what comes next.” Designers are an integral part of the AI solution. 

There are ethical concerns surrounding AI that need to be discussed. Bias concerns, transparency in how the data is used, stored, and protected, and obviously, how do you create AI opportunities and not deprive people of the same opportunities?

Designers have a role to play in the interaction with and the interface of AI. Individuals need to fill in the gaps and create a complete circle for AI users. There needs to be human supervision of AI’s development and use. As was noted several times during the session, designers are all about adaptation. Designers need to leverage all their  skills as society accepts the next phase of AI. We accept AI will have major implications for the design industry’s future.