AI, or artificial intelligence, is quickly sweeping across every aspect of our lives and businesses, and the design world is no exception. For some, “the rise of the robots” is a phenomenon to be weary of. Some people view AI as a threat to their jobs, while others worry that AI could make ‘creativity’ homogeneous. Despite these thoughts, AI-driven design is here to stay, and understanding its implication in the creative process can help businesses identify opportunities to drive efficiencies and free up humans time to in fact be more ‘creative’.

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly what AI-driven design is and discuss how you can use artificial intelligence to inform design.

What Does “AI-Driven Design” Mean?

AI-driven design means using artificial intelligence to inform your design. When you design manually, you’re putting a lifetime’s worth of experience into the design process to create the product, website, content or packaging. AI-driven design allows you to bring quantitative analysis into the process, combining this with your human intuition to prove the effectiveness of your design.

AI can drive design in two key ways: by using algorithm driven design to create a design automatically, or by using data-driven design to input into the manual design process.

Artificial intelligence design software such as DALL.E and CLIP uses GTP-3 to automatically create designs based on human concepts. The AI design tool can generate several different design concepts within seconds, shortening the design process considerably. However, it’s unlikely that this could ever operate without any manual input as it lacks the human intuition to actually understand the concept or design.

In contrast, data-driven design uses AI to inform the manual design process, using design analytics to create the most effective design, first time. AI-driven usability testing analysis means that less time and money needs to be spent on testing prototypes and the design can be thoroughly tested and adapted before it is ever released to the public.

What Is The Creative Process?

Ever wondered how artist and innovators come up with their greatest ideas? While we may never understand the exact formula for creativity, science can provide us with some insight into the creative process. One of the most popular theories can be found the book, The Art of Thought, by British psychologist Graham Wallas. This process has since been updated and adapted to a 5 stage process.

The five key stages are:

1.     Preparation

The preparation stage involves immersing yourself in information. That could involve research or looking at or listening to ideas. For example, a designer might conduct market research and competitor analysis in this stage.

2.     Incubation

The incubation stage is a thoughtful stage, where the information that was taken in during the preparation phase is slowly digested by the subconscious mind. This stage can take any length of time, ranging from hours to months. It might feel counterproductive to walk away from the idea for a while, but this is where the magic happens.

3.     Illumination

The illumination stage, sometimes referred to as the insight stage, is where you have that lightbulb moment. These moments usually happen when you least expect them to, when you’re driving, laying in bed at night or taking a walk.

4.     Evaluation

The fourth stage of the creative process is the evaluation stage. This is where you consider the validity of your idea and ensure that it is unique. You’ll reflect back to the original preparation that you did and ensure that your idea fits with this research. This phase may also involve conducting market research to prove the validity of your concept.

5.     Elaboration

The final stage is elaboration, although this phase is sometimes referred to as the validation stage. This stage is where the hard work is done, including testing the concept, creating a prototype and testing and adjusting the final piece of work.

How Has AI-Driven Design Impacted The Creative Process?

AI-driven design processes is replacing the most formulaic and procedural tasks, allowing the creative individual to spend more time on actually creative things.

In this section we will look at how AI is being integrated into the creative process to supercharge efficiencies and speed up design processes.

Deep Learning

During the preparation phase of the creative process, extensive research is required. This is where artificial intelligence can help. AI can quickly analyse hundreds or even thousands of design variations to speed up the research process.

Through artificial intelligence, you can even generate alternative designs along a similar theme, providing valuable input into the illumination phase of the creative process.

Speech-To-Text

A huge breakthrough has come from Open AI in its GPT-3 language generator. Not only can this tool create text including HTML coding, but it can also generate code to create images. For example, a designer could ask for a button that looks like an avocado and GPT-3 will generate the code automatically.

This speech-to-text tool can be useful in the illumination stage of the creative process, helping designers to generate ideas faster than ever before. It’s also valuable in the elaboration stage, where it can help to speed up the design process.

Quantitative Usability Testing

When you’re evaluating your idea, you’ll probably need to analyse data to find out whether your idea is viable. Quantitative usability testing can help with this, producing UX analysis reports to demonstrate likely web traffic, pages visited, user flow and exit pages.

These key UX metrics can help you to understand user behaviour and how your new idea is likely to perform in the real world.

Predictive Heatmap Tools

Predictive analytic heatmapping tools such as Dragonfly AI have become essential in the elaboration stage of the creative process. Heatmap tools can help you to evaluate the saliency of your design, understanding how user attention will be attracted by your design and where distractions might lie. This can help you to optimise your design without the need for time-consuming user test cycles.

How Is AI Being Used To Inform Design For Marketers and Designers?

Artificial intelligence is already used in many different areas of industry, including digital marketing and graphic design. Here are some of the ways that AI is used across the creative industries.

AI In Digital Marketing

An ever-increasing number of businesses are implementing AI into their digital marketing. AI technology is helping marketers to save time and work smarter, whilst tailoring their advertising to individual users more than ever before.

1.      Personalised advertising with AI

Artificial intelligence allows digital marketers to personalise their advertising messages and designs to suit each individual user.

The AI technology first analyses the audience using data collected to identify their individual goals and requirements. The system then uses natural language generation (NLG) and natural language processing (NLP) to create a personalised advertisement which is suited to the individual user, increasing both attention and conversion rates.

2.      Market research using AI

In digital marketing, ensuring that you’re targeting the right audience is essential and AI technology is extremely valuable in this area.

AI is able to analyse both past and present customers, as well as ad performance, to compare against pre-defined key performance indicators (KPIs). It will then identify the best audience to target with future advertisements, based on the data analysed.

3.      Using AI to optimise performance

In digital marketing, it’s important to continuously monitor the progress of campaigns, identifying and implementing improvements wherever needed. AI technology simplifies monitoring and optimising performance of marketing campaigns.

Machine learning algorithms are able to analyse how campaigns are performing and generate recommendations for improvements to optimise both performance and user experience. AI is even capable of identifying performance issues that the marketer may have not even realised existed.

4.      Predictive analytics

Predictive analytic heatmapping tools such as Dragonfly AI allow users to assess the saliency and impact of their designs before testing them on real-life users, enabling conversion driven design.

Heatmaps provide a clear visual representation of where attention is being grabbed and where distractions may be diverting attention, helping designers to optimise their designs to be as effective as possible, without long and costly user testing cycles.

AI In Graphic Design

AI technology allows graphic designers to create new designs quickly and efficiently, with the ability to create multiple variations of designs which feature dynamic personalisation. The use of AI allows graphic designers to work more efficiently than ever before, with a range of personalisation techniques at their fingertips.

1.      Product Design

Artificial intelligence graphic design is beginning to be used in the design of products and packaging, especially where uniqueness is required.

For example, in 2017, Nutella used AI-based algorithms to create one-of-a-kind jars known as “Nutella Unice”. The algorithm was able to put together patterns and colours to create millions of unique jar designs at the touch of a button. This campaign resulted in over seven million jars being sold in just 30 days.

2.      Logo Design Makers

Another area where artificial intelligence graphic design is useful is in logo design. There are many free logo design tools online which use AI-based technology to create unique logo designs based on data inputted by the user.

If you’re looking for a more high-end logo design tool, Tailor Brands is a logo designer based on highly advanced AI technology. This intuitive technology creates unique logos for businesses, and then allows the user to continue to customise the logo until it meets their requirements. 

3.      Speech-To-Text

Graphic designers can bring their ideas to life without even picking up a pen, thanks to speech-to-text technology. Open AI’s GPT-3 language generator allows graphic designers to see their ideas come to life by simply saying their design concept out loud.

From a scroll bar that looks like a snake to a banner of the FA Cup, AI technology is transforming the creative process for graphic designers, allowing their ideas to be brought to life at the touch of a button.

How To Use AI Within Website Design

Artificial intelligence is a valuable tool within design, using predictive analytics to demonstrate where user attention will fall on a page and where distraction may take over.

Dragonfly AI uses predictive visual analytics heatmapping system to provide you with a clear visual representation of user attention, enabling you to perform user experience analysis to facilitate improvements to your design.

Here is how you can use Dragonfly AI to optimise the design of a webpage:

1.     Upload your website page to Dragonfly AI

First, upload your website page to Dragonfly AI using the intuitive upload tool, which will perform analytics by design.

2.     Analyse using the predictive visual analytics heatmapping system

Dragonfly will then perform predictive visual analytics to produce a heatmap. The ‘hot’ areas will be displayed in red – this is where user attention is being drawn to. The ‘cold’ areas will be displayed in blue – this is where users are typically ignoring.   

3.     Review the saliency of your design

You can then review the saliency of your design. Are the most important areas of your content gaining the most attention, or are users becoming distracted elsewhere?

4.     Make adjustments to your design

You can then adapt your design and move elements around to increase user attention. This could include moving important elements to high-traffic areas, decreasing the size of elements which are causing distraction and adapting your colours and font sizes to increase or reduce attention accordingly.

5.     Utilise A/B testing to optimise your design

Once you have your benchmark design, you can then perform A/B testing on adaptations of your design before making them live, so that you can see how they’ll perform in comparison to the original. This will help you to save time and money on lengthy user testing processes, getting your design right first time.

In summary

Artificial intelligence is transforming the creative process and changing the way that we design products, packaging and marketing materials. There’s understandably some tension and uncertainty in the creative industry when it comes to AI-based technologies, with people wondering whether machines will replace humans completely in the future.

However, AI design should be seen as an assistant rather than a replacement for humans. The design process becomes faster, smarter and more efficient when technology and humans work together. Although AI has an important input into the creative process, it still requires input from creatives to function effectively and provide that all-important human touch.


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