Will The Web Designer Be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence?

Innovations change designers’ lives and our understanding of design as a whole. Serious changes became apparent after the introduction of Macintosh. Designers no longer need sophisticated retouchers and typesetters.

The whole working process suddenly became much simpler. However, at that point, nobody expected what will happen next. The internet broke into the world of design and brought not only new simple solutions but also unexpected new challenges. The era of fixed-size projects was over. Businesses started switching from print publishing to websites, and now designers must make sure their projects will fit all possible screen sizes.

Today, artificial intelligence is exploring various industries. Neural networks play board games, they make medical discoveries, create songs, paint pictures and even write code. Chinese tech experts are afraid that AI will take 50% of our jobs by 2030. Should designers start looking for a new job? That is the question, and there’s no single answer yet.

On one hand, everything that can be automated gets automated, sooner or later. Almost all content available on the internet today is based on some sort of framework: WordPress, Drupal, Blogger, etc. Using frameworks and shortcuts, you can spend less time creating the website itself, and so have more time for creating content. Now you don’t need to be an experienced designer to create a professional looking page in just a few minutes. There are thousands of paid and free templates, so why hire professional designers?

On the other hand, robots are still far from the deep understanding of design. Not so long ago, there were three major categories of designers: those who had no experience or a little experience, average designers, and top experts. New technologies filled the gap between the first two categories. Now any beginner can access numerous AI-driven tools and create an average design with no help. This means that average designers are in danger because customers will likely try to do simple work themselves. However, this is also a reason why top-notch professionals become more valuable.

The Impact of AI on Design

Even though AI still lacks creativity, we need to understand how it’s going to change the design as we know it. Artificial intelligence offers many new opportunities, and some of them are so good that we can’t just ignore them. AI is unlikely to take our profession in the nearest future, but AI-driven tools can help us complete many important design tasks much faster.

First of all, we don’t need to start from scratch anymore. Sometimes, the hardest part of a creative project is the very beginning. There are tools that can analyze the content from your social media or websites that you’ve designed before, and create solutions that will likely fit your objectives. Moreover, not only are such web pages good-looking, but they also match your niche and location. Thus, you have a lot of time to focus on really important questions, such as user experience.

Another thing that used to drive most designers crazy is creating logos. AI makes this process much simpler. In just a few minutes, you can make several logos and show them to your client. You also don’t need to spend hours scrolling color charts anymore. AI will help you choose the right color that will match the entire scheme.

Another thing machines are really good at is decision making. We all want to know which design will bring us the best results, and AI can literally measure the effectiveness of our solutions, analyzing billions of data points and telling us which image or color will bring more conversions. Some algorithms are capable of estimating the effectiveness of social media campaigns or banner ads. Hence, no more manual A/B tests.

AI-Powered Design Tools

Logo Generators

There are many popular tools that create dozens of logos in just a few seconds. For example, Logojoy and Brandmark are services that become more and more popular. All such tools use different methods. For instance, some of them allow you to choose a template and then tailor it to your personal needs. Of course, it’s not the best approach, because nobody would like to do that with a client. However, some tools will need only a few keywords to create your original logo. You get offered dozens of logos with different typefaces and color schemes. Of course, these tools cannot analyze your target audience or create a good branding strategy, but they give you a solid basis for customization and save a lot of time.

Tools like Tailor Brands go even further and create your complete branding identity: logos, business cards, merchandising items, website design and social media posts. Even though designers are unlikely to call such solutions perfect, it’s important to understand that these tools were created for small businesses and startups. Now such companies don’t need to hire expensive logo designers, because a machine can do it in a few seconds.

The Grid

Everyone has already understood the importance of the internet for marketing, that’s why every coffee shop owner wants to have his or her own website. Not so long ago, there were almost no website builders, and everyone in this industry should know how to code. Even now, this job is mostly about coding, especially when it comes to optimization and making your website more beautiful, which is quite a piece of work.

The Grid is an AI-based website builder that automatically generates a color scheme and website layout. Depending on your content, theme and given preferences, this AI is able to arrange, optimize and design your website according to your needs.

This AI even has its name: Molly. If you tried some traditional DIY builders, you will notice a number of significant differences. This website analyzes sentiment, colors, negative space, and detects faces. The whole process takes less than 3 minutes, however, it becomes even faster as the machine learns what you like. Working with a human designer, you would need to review several versions and approve the final project before publishing. Usually, this part of work is the most time-consuming and involves additional expenses. Working with The Grid, the website is published without previewing. Molly will ask your opinion and create a new website in a few seconds. This robot learns more about your business as you add more content, and you can change the whole design of the website anytime you want.

Wix ADI

Wix is another website builder that frees you of the necessity of coding and learning technical sides of web development. Even if you have no coding experience and don’t know how to build a website at all, you can create your own website using this simple tool. First, it asks you a few questions to learn more about your business. After this, it starts scanning billions of combinations and creates an original website that fits your objectives. All generated websites are unique and dynamic.

However, this tool doesn’t stop on design. It also analyzes social media and the web, offering you relevant content that you can customize and use.

Firedrop

This website builder is based on the technology of machine learning. It comes with the AI assistant that talks to you and learns more about what you’re looking for. The Chabot is called Sacha. She asks you important questions about the website and is always ready to help you in any situation, providing useful recommendations and suggestions.

Just as with traditional systems, Sacha will offer you a number of templates, however, the working principle here is completely different. Instead of adding personal features to somebody else’s design, you’ll be offered several templates based on your content. Firedrop also allows you to build a website from your smartphone, and the whole process is no different from a regular conversation with a designer in any messaging application.

Once the first version of your website is ready, you can continue to work on it, chatting with Sacha. Edit the content, change the font, add new sections and insert images in a few seconds, while the robot learns your tastes. Even though it cannot compete with a top-notch designer yet, it still can simplify your work a lot, saving your time.

Adobe Sensei

This AI framework was designed especially for those who use Adobe tools. It expands the range of options for file management and simplifies work, making the existing tools more effective. Everyone can see Adobe Sensei in action by installing Face-Aware Liquify app. It recognizes faces and allows you to enhance the image, editing facial features. It also uses a number of effects to transform and edit low-quality selfies.

AI in Design: Pros and Cons

AI has at least one undeniable advantage: it can easily cope with tedious tasks and demonstrates higher productivity than humans. Now humans can delegate all the boring tasks to AI and focus on creativity. Artificial intelligence is also much faster in decision making. It takes less time for a computer to analyze all the existing opportunities and take actions.

Another distinctive feature of computers is that they make fewer mistakes. Indeed, we make mistakes so often that we even have a special term — “human factor.” If programmed properly, computers don’t make such mistakes, being always focused, regardless of the amount of data.

On the other hand, we still love human touch. Most customers would rather talk to a human than to a chatbot. Computers still lack creativity, and website builders prove it. They can’t just figure out what type of content would be good for your kind of business, so they need a lot of input information. Computers can’t make creative decisions and they know nothing about cultural references. Is it bad? Of course, it’s a problem for those who develop AI solutions, but it’s certainly the good news for designers. Even though AI-powered algorithms can help customers with creating a simple logo, it’s too early to speak of replacing designers with robots.

Instead of taking our jobs, computers can really help us. For example, they allow us to create more modular and smarter design solutions. Computers can analyze how users interact with different elements of the website and understand what function will work better. They can optimize any module of the design system so that it will deliver better results.

Such apps as Prisma and Artisto has demonstrated the opportunities of image recognition. AI can understand whether a photo contains a bicycle or a face, and decides what effect will fit the image. Auto Draw, presented by Google, completes poorly drawn sketches, allowing you to draw nice sketches with one gesture.

AI technologies also offer many opportunities for personalization of the user experience. Robots can analyze such factors as the device used to access the website, day of the week, time and countless other signals that users don’t see. Without AI, analyzing such data would require a team of designers, strategists and technologists, trying to figure out all the possible scenarios.

With the help of AI, there will be no need in manual A/B testing, as computers will be able to:

  • Define what areas need to be optimized
  • Understand how exactly to provide optimization
  • Run the A/B test
  • Analyze results of the test and decide which version is better
  • Implement the new design, update the product, and run the cycle again.

A dream about websites that optimize themselves becomes true, and it’s only the beginning. Is it a threat to human labor? Rather the opportunity.

Final Thoughts

AI design is already able to work on many tasks that designers do. If you need 1,000 banners for a global marketing campaign, using different information and different languages, it’s not a problem anymore. Robots can do it in a few seconds. All the boring routine tasks become much simpler and require fewer people. Artificial intelligence affects the world of design as we know it, but robots still cannot replace humans.

Designers can use countless advantages of AI systems and see such technologies as opportunities instead of being afraid of them. It’s not the first time when machines have proven to be more effective for some jobs, the same happened during the age of industrialization. All we need to do is adapt and learn to be flexible.

Great designers don’t make their decisions based on color charts and statistical data only. We still have the thing that makes our solutions unique and impossible for robots: creativity. As artificial intelligence evolves, designers must realize the importance of looking from a bigger angle. There’s nothing bad with delegating tedious technical tasks to computers. Quite the opposite, machines allow us to focus on important challenges, creating entire brands and making important decisions on a higher level.

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