In the world of graphic design, the evolution of technology has been nothing short of extraordinary. What many of you do not know is that I start learning graphic design in 1997, the tools we used seem like relics when you think about it. Back in 1997, graphic design involved utilizing software like Paint, Word Art, and Publisher to create designs that, at the time, were considered groundbreaking. Windows 95 was the thing, and the digital landscape felt like it was transporting you to a dreamy place.
Fast forward to today, and the transformation is staggering. We've transitioned from design tools such as Corel draw and Adobe photoshop 5.0 to sophisticated software like Adobe CC 2024, boasting an array of innovative features in Illustrator and Photoshop. Additionally, tools like Adobe Express have democratized design, making it possible for practically anyone to create high-quality designs.
The design landscape is further reshaped by the abundance of resources. Gone are the days of scouring Google for images with frustrating watermarks. Now, we have resources like Freepik, Envato Elements, and various stock photo websites that offer a treasure trove of images and assets. But, the most significant game-changer in recent years has been the integration of AI technology in the design world.
AI has rapidly evolved and is now poised to revolutionize the way we approach design. It can analyze and, in some cases, even remove watermarks from images, making previously unusable content accessible. However, as a seasoned graphic designer with 25 years of experience, it's natural to feel a sense of unease when considering how AI may affect your craft. After all, it seems like the art of design, a skill that took years to master, can now be rapidly adopted by anyone with the assistance of AI.
A growing concern in the creative sector is the rise of AI-driven image generation platforms. Midjourney, along with numerous alternatives, has emerged as a powerful image generator. These tools allow individuals with a flair for imagination to create almost any image they can imagine. What was once a playful jest—claiming that AI couldn't draw human hands properly—has become outdated. AI algorithms are rapidly improving, constantly learning, and are now capable of generating remarkably detailed and accurate visuals. The presence of AI within widely used platforms like Canva, Microsoft, and Freepik signifies a  shift in the design industry.
AI's integration into these platforms means that, with a simple prompt, you can swiftly obtain a design that would have taken days to create. In terms of productivity, AI has shown itself to produce high-quality work quickly and efficiently.
Initially, I could only see AI as a looming threat I looked at the negative aspect of AI and how it’s taking over my job until I heard this quote : AI won’t take over your job, a person using AI will”. And that shifted how I look at AI. This statement is a powerful reminder that AI is not a competitor but a powerful tool that can help with my productivity.
With AI, I am able to generate a 1:1 image, move it to photoshop,, use generative fill to build it into the size I need and then work on this image to create it and make it better as per my interpretation and the clients need. This symbiotic relationship between humans and AI can result in design that is faster, more efficient, and tailored to individual requirements. Reducing “Itakuwa ready kesho (it will be ready tomorrow) syndrome”
In conclusion, while the rise of AI in graphic design may initially evoke feelings of apprehension, it ultimately offers an opportunity for designers to evolve and leverage the power of technology. Rather than viewing AI as a rival, designers can embrace it as a collaborative partner, enhancing their creative capabilities and output. The future of design lies in the hands of those who skillfully wield AI as a tool, not in the hands of AI alone. As the world continues to evolve, so too must the designer's toolbox.
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