Graphic designers went through many brands developments throughout the centuries, and evolved with the emerging technologies of those generations.
Mentioned in a previous article, graphic design became a recognized industry in the 20th century with the first graphic design agency emerging in 1903 (Wiener Werkstätte) and later on becoming relevant in tv-based marketing, with the first full-time graphic designer being employed (John Sewell) in 1954 by BBC Television.
The area of graphic design we’re familiar with today began at the end of the ’80s with Adobe Illustrator which led to digital design taking over. Instead of literally cutting, copying, and pasting designs, graphic designers became pixel pushers on desktop-fitting computers.
Earlier in 2019 I went to a talk about AI Generated Art, and there are definitely developments being done in this area. The basic idea is the AI is fed lots of reference art and it builds new images from the older references.
But graphic design isn’t just art. Some claim you don’t even need to be an artist to be a graphic designer. A graphic designer needs to understand things like ideal typography, color theory, and effective text and image placement. In other words, psychology is a huge aspect of graphic design.
AI can definitely be taught to understand color theory and ideal fonts based on data of engagement on previous similar topics. An AI studying thousands or millions of posters could decide the ideal font for a yoga flyer, based on human response to the material. While creativity is appreciated, the main goal is consumer engagement with the product.
A current existing example is how a platform like Spotify can automatically modify their background to a color that suits album cover colors. There is also interactive automation with text-wrap features for text displays.
So does data-driven design lack creativity or inspire new ideas? Corporate designers and social media managers often observe engagement data to better understand their customers. Steve Jobs once said people don’t know what they want until you show it to them, highlighting the need for some creativity outside of the status quo.
So could an AI of the future create whole brand guides and assets simply by telling it the mission of the business? An AI that can effectively produce entire flyers or motion graphics could be many years away, and even then graphic designers will probably add a human touch to the AI draft to avoid awkward AI hiccups.