The impact of AI on designers and writers

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With AI programmes that can now seemingly do everything, you may find yourself asking: are designers and writers still necessary? To answer this, a deep-dive into AI’s real capabilities versus those of its supposed ‘human dinosaur’ counterparts, is needed.

Robert Marufu, Business Unit Lead: Design at Eclipse Communications through-the-line agency, delves into how AI can support professional designers and writers in executing their creative campaigns for clients, but cautions that this support depends largely on how AI capabilities are manipulated by humans.

Designers have made use of design programmes such as InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop for decades, but one of the most significant impacts of AI on graphic design is the automation of repetitive tasks, for example colour-correction, image resizing and font selection.

This is particularly useful for designers working on tight deadlines or who need to create a large number of designs quickly. AI-powered tools can also help designers to create more accessible designs. For example, AI algorithms can analyse images and identify areas that may be difficult for people with visual impairments to see. Additionally, AI algorithms can analyse text and suggest alternative phrasing that may be easier for people with cognitive impairments to understand.

What AI can do for designers

Designers can use AI platforms such as Astria to upload photos and create product shots or stylised portraits; LUMA AI turns photos into 3D images; Durabl can create complete websites in seconds; Autodraw can turn doodles into improved images of the object; Craiyon can generate a selection of images using DALL.E2 technology; Font Joy can mix and match fonts to create new ones. These are just a few of the many platforms available.

Design and content creation go hand in hand

There is a significant crossover between design and content creation. While designers sometimes use content creation AI platforms to provide sections of text where it’s needed in their designs, the content is often generic and lacks evidence of the expert knowledge that professional writers have about their clients. Designers use AI-generated text as a starting point, but it needs to be shaped by writers to powerfully reflect the brand’s messaging.

At best, writers could use it to create an outline and generate ideas, but it takes professional skills to turn it into a unique, creative and relevant piece that also forms part of a clearly defined communications campaign for clients.

AI and job losses

Much concern has been raised about whether AI will replace the jobs that humans now do, leaving an incalculable number of people without work around the world. However, understanding the unique qualities, skills, language mastery and the ability to build relationships are beyond AI’s scope of capabilities. Currently AI can only do what its human operator tells it to do, and what it churns out needs a lot of refining and creative massaging to become usable.

Designers would need to either feed new, more refined and nuanced prompts into the programme, or fix the image with their own skills. In either case, despite how good the image is that’s created, it still needs the expert touch of a professional designer. 

Another concern is that AI-generated designs can lack creativity and originality. While AI algorithms can generate designs quickly, they may not be able to come up with truly unique ideas. This could lead to a proliferation of generic designs that lack personality and do not stand out from the crowd.

AI is therefore not an immediate threat to jobs in these fields; however, the fact that it is automating more basic functions that are currently performed by humans, may lead to those jobs becoming obsolete quite rapidly. The solution is that people occupying these positions need to upgrade their skills, for example, learning how to operate and manipulate AI programmes.

The bottom line: Agencies and brands have a useful starting point in AI, but nothing more

There are several reasons why hiring a professional agency is more beneficial to a business in terms of cost and promoting their brands effectively. 

AI can make predictable, logical connections between what has historically been shown to resonate with humans and suggest more ideas along those lines. If you’re looking for an imaginative leap, a game changer or something unpredictable to blow a competitor out the water, AI will not deliver. 

While AI-powered tools can assist in automating certain tasks and saving time, they cannot replicate the creativity, strategy development, human touch and objectivity that professional designers and writers bring to the table.