AI in Design: Let’s Talk About Use and Value

Oct 18, 2023 | by Xenia Gray

In recent years, generative artificial intelligence (AI) has become an increasingly popular tool for designers and artists seeking to create new and innovative works. These algorithms can produce unique and often stunning images, generating a ton of content. However, as generative AI becomes more widespread, questions have arisen about the value and ownership of these works. Artists are worried about models learning about their work and copyright issues. Designers must grapple with the implications of this technology on their role and the future of their profession. In this article, Xenia Gray*,* Head of Design at EastBanc Technologies, delves into the controversy surrounding AI in design and art and its impact on designers in the tech industry.

Being both artist, designer and manager myself, I feel the questions about AI rising constantly, affecting my work, my method and my art. On one hand - i’m exited and embrace the AI at work, and on the other - I’m concerned about the copyright issues and other legal and ethical aspects of the AI.

Xenia Gray [Head of Design, EastBanc Technologies]

Xenia: As the buzz around AI and generative AI got louder, I was excited and concerned at the same time, so I decided to participate in an open discussion Art and AI: A Conversation on the Future of Art in the Age of Artificial Intelligence held in Washington, DC to see what topics are stirring in the community and talk about my experience with AI.

Let’s look at the topics that came up the most - they are mostly a combination of legal and ethical concerns:

  1. Models are biased, and there is no transparency on how “clean” the data sets are. This can and will lead to misinformation and misrepresentation and might skew the people’s perception.
  2. Copying someone’s style using AI is unregulated; there are no clear rules and guidelines about copyright and, in general, about ownership of AI-generated images. This can lead to both lawsuits and the devaluation of art.
  3. Job security is a significant and rising issue; designers and artists don’t know how AI will change their income. Will the rise of AI make their work less valuable if a lot of it can be done faster and make clients change their view on the price of designers’ and artists’ work?

Overall, the designers and artists’ community wants to see some regulations arise, and the main question is - will AI become an extension of our toolkit, or will this transform the way we look at the artwork and design entirely, and how can we survive this shift? I’ve taken this question back to my work, and I want to share our experience and the answers we found for ourselves.

Within EastBanc Technologies, our design team has been experimenting with generative AI across the board and found that, for us, it is yet another tool within our design arsenal. We found AI helpful in quite a few areas of our work:

We recognized two main benefits for our design team that AI presents:

  1. Faster iterations - we can shorten feedback to iteration cycles on imagery production, saving time and hours of work. It’s also more accessible since it’s the natural language you use to produce results, not countless hours of drawing or ordering an illustration.
  2. Brainstorm assistance - we can ask AI to give us many ideas, analyze them, and see what is missing, allowing us to think outside the box, eliminate the obvious, and find creative efficiency.

In our practice, the combination of AI and human work provided results that both our internal and external clients preferred over the versions done by AI alone. For us, this means AI is not bringing value to the team by itself. It is a valuable extension of the toolkit, not a new colleague. We understand the limitations of this new tool and, at the same time, embrace this as a helpful tool for our design process. From now on, we’re looking forward to the projects where we can take this new tool to its limits.

Written by Xenia Gray, Lead Designer at EastBanc Technologies. Her opinions are hers alone and don’t necessarily reflect those of EastBanc Technologies.