AI. Artificial intelligence. The world’s media, films and social media influencers are still undecided as to whether it is here to save the world, or to destroy it. Some would have you believe that it is the answer to the world’s creative problems. What those problems are, they might not be able to tell you. But nevertheless, AI is here to fix them. Others would tell you that AI is spelling the downfall of creativity itself, as if AI is the total removal of the human participant in the creation process. These views are disparate, but both extreme. While it is difficult to ascertain the true impact AI might have on the creative fields right now, it is also far too early to jump to conclusions about its saving or destructive nature.


Recently, there has been a significant jump in the use of AI to create artwork and illustrations. Platforms like Midjourney AI have opened this up to the public, and people have leapt at the chance to see their wildest imaginations illustrated ‘by the computer’. Modern humans seem to have an innate fascination with the idea of technology playing a preeminent role in the creative process, and see AI as the opportunity for the democratisation of art and illustration. You no longer have to have any talent or skill, you don’t even need the spark of creativity. All you need is a laptop and a Discord account.

So, where does this leave design? Is this the beginning of the end for graphic designers and design studios? Well, I think the answer is no. Let me tell you why.

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For a little bit of context, it’s important to look at the capabilities of AI and why it is seen as a potential threat to designers. How the AI systems work (the public ones anyway) is that the user can input a random prompt, eg. ‘Logo for new sports team, red, white and blue colours’ (below on the iphone screen are the results we got from using that prompt on Midjourney AI.) The AI will then synthesise images related to the prompt from around the internet, into a selection of new illustrations. You can then choose to upscale your chosen illustration, or generate four more options from one of the illustration styles. And you can keep going, and keep going until you find one you might be happy with. You can also edit the prompt to be more specific, include more features and try get to what you’re actually wanting. This strikes people as an exciting prospect: quick, easy design that they can generate off their own back, for free, without needing to send any emails or deal with any real people. It hits all the desires of today’s culture. But, it has some massive flaws, all of which can be seen even in my own short exercise. Let’s break this down.

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One of the things that makes bespoke designs created by individual graphic designers or design studios so perfect is that they are designed specifically for the client and for them only. The designer takes care to best translate the brand, its message and the client’s aesthetic desires into a logo that best represents the company. AI cannot do this. Even if you were to spend 12 hours generating and re-generating designs until you find something that suits, it will never be authentically and uniquely your’s. And anyway, you’ve just spent 12 hours of your own time, off your own back, creating something you could have employed an actual professional to do. This is the thing that most people miss: to create something usable and something you’re happy with using AI, it can take more time than it would take a designer to do it, bespoke and directly for you. To put it bluntly, AI doesn’t know you, doesn’t know your brand, and, as a computer system, doesn’t care. Brand message, ethos or values can’t be inputted into the AI. But they can be with a professional designer.


Along with potentially democratising creative processes, AI has muddied the waters around intellectual property, ownership and copyright. When a public AI system creates artwork on a public platform, with access open to everyone, there is no telling who could use that artwork. It is not your’s, and it could become a sticking point for your brand in the future. There aren’t any set pieces of legislation, guidelines or rules surrounding AI-generated artwork, and leaves you in a bit of a spot. This is the exact opposite with a professional designer. Unless that designer has decided to delegate all his work to stock imagery and/or plagiarism. AI leaves your design open for debate and the potential for reuse by a different brand.

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Once you’ve created your AI-generated logo, where do you go from here? AI can’t generate the design standards, website or brand guidelines you’ll need to have a successful brand. It would be like a sat-nav leading you to the top of the street and leaving you without the necessary directions to help you find your true destination. AI might be a nice start, but it leaves you stranded. A professional designer will take into account the need for design standards, websites, collateral, design variations and different branding opportunities. They will equip you with all the necessary tools for brand success.


Along with the crucially important issues mentioned above, there are some more nitty gritty details that make using AI generated designs nigh on impossible. The images created are not scalable, they are not large enough to be used on massive billboards, and not high-quality enough to be used on tiny icons. A lot of them are in square aspect ratios, without the ability to be changed for different shapes or designs. They are also textured, as though they have been placed onto a mock up of a shirt, textured material or a product. This makes it practically impossible for them to be used on flat designs, for websites or collateral. It’s incredibly difficult to actually use the AI designs for the purposes they were created.

AI art and design is, in many ways, an exciting prospect. It can lead to a multitude of different art styles, potentially new art forms and new outlets for people. It can be a bright future. But will they replace the traditional designer? No. Well, not anytime soon, anyway. The position of professional designer is safe for the time being. You just can’t beat human creativity and art. Even if the AI was to come alive and rule the world one day, I’m pretty sure it’ll be art that lives on.

Here at Stonefern, we are those traditional professional designers. We are the stalwart defenders of human-created design and art. We can offer you everything AI can, and everything it cannot. We create bespoke, innovative, engaging design work for your brand, setting you apart from the crowd and enabling you to swim confidently with your head above the rising waters the AI invasion.