Robot designing metaverse with colorful primitive volumes

Is AI Useful for Design Tasks?

AI algorithms are creating logos, color schemes, website layouts, and more. AI is being heralded by some as the ultimate design tool, with its ability to process massive data, find patterns, and generate creative results. However, despite these impressive capabilities, we think it’s far from replacing the need for human designers. Charli Marie has a very informative video with specific examples of AI design tool’s current shortcomings if you want to learn more, by the way.

Though these new tools have potential, the human touch remains irreplaceable. Here’s why:

Lack of Original Creativity

AI relies on algorithms and patterns. It can scan a dataset, learn from it, and replicate similar designs. However, true creativity comes from thinking outside the box, making unexpected connections, and occasionally breaking the rules — all areas where AI currently falls short. AI still lacks the ability to originate fresh, never-seen-before concepts. And frankly, so do human artists quite often…but still, there is a sort of “canned” feeling to much of AI’s output even if its technique is flawless.

Misinterpretation of Context & Nuance

Design is not merely about the combination of shapes, colors, and fonts. It’s about conveying a story, a mood, or an emotion. For AI, understanding the cultural, social, or historical context of design elements is still a substantial challenge. It lacks the ability to interpret and apply nuances that might be crucial to a design’s success. It may generate aesthetically pleasing designs, but they might not effectively convey the intended message or even fit within a specific set of requirements.

Lack of Consistency

For a computer, AI has a surprisingly hard time remembering its own output and keeping any future output consistent with previous efforts if the requirements of a specific project call for it. Try to ask an AI tool like Tome, Midjourney, or uizard to generate a 50-page multicolumn booklet, or a large website, or a set of 20 illustrations portraying the same characters for a full advertising campaign. You will get nonsense or, in the best case, unusable outputs.

Dependence on Quality Data

AI’s performance is only as good as the data it’s trained on. For design tasks, curating a comprehensive, diverse, and high-quality dataset for training is a significant challenge. AI might inadvertently reproduce biases present in the training data or create designs based on outdated trends if the data isn’t current.

Limited Interactivity

As of now, AI design tools offer limited interactivity. They can’t engage in a meaningful dialogue with clients, understand their individual tastes, or interpret vague ideas to create a design that hits the mark. Moreover, AI lacks the ability to provide explanations or reasoning behind design choices, which is often an essential part of the design process.

More Trouble than It Is Worth

While AI has its uses (more of that below), we find it hard to justify the time it takes to get semi-useful results on complex, professional jobs. Honestly, we still rather use that time to fire up Figma or InDesign or Illustrator and do it all ourselves from scratch.

So, What Is AI Good For (at this Point)?

In the foreseeable future, it seems that AI will serve best as a tool to assist and enhance human designers rather than replace them. Its potential lies in automating repetitive tasks, providing inspiration, and handling aspects of design that can be parameterized. This fusion of human creativity and AI capability holds exciting prospects for the future of design. In fact, at Digit we have been successfully using creative and business AI tools for some time within a very focused set of tasks and applied to both internal and client projects.

The fundamental qualities of human creativity — intuition, empathy, context-awareness, and originality — remain vital to the design process. So don’t worry quite yet about losing your job to the robot (although, who knows what the future might bring?).