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The Impact of Custom Image AI Models on Design Workflows

Image AI

AI’s image generation capabilities are simply reinventing design workflows. The impact is tough to over exaggerate, and it’s not easy for every designer to embrace what can be perceived as a potential threat to both human creativity and one’s entire career. However, brands, marketers, agencies, and indeed, designers are delighted with the potential, output, and enhanced levels of productivity custom image AI models deliver.

DALL-E, MidJourney, Stable Diffusion, and other AI image-generating tools and models are changing design workflows on a fundamental level. Expectations for design concepts, style, quality, versions, edits, and timescales for delivery have been completely adjusted based on what custom image AI models can do with the right training and prompting. Time-to-market for brands, websites, marketing campaigns, video games, apps, and social content just shifted gear into overdrive. So how exactly is custom AI image generation affecting design workflows? 

Revolutionizing Design Workflows 

AI image generation is rapidly evolving how designers and their internal or external design clients work together, innovate, iterate, and ultimately drive the success of companies that rely on the response of today’s visually engaged customers.

Automating repetitive tasks and releasing creativity

We’ve heard extensively how AI is automating repetitive tasks and freeing professionals across a massive spectrum of roles and industries to spend more time problem-solving, serving customers, and utilizing their expertise. In the design industry, it’s no different. 

In fact, some might argue that automating repetitive tasks in design is far more impactful to a designer who thrives on exploring their creativity but may be held back by spending hours on such tasks as resizing and retouching images. Up to now, designers have spent many hours producing collections of image versions based often on a single idea. Today, trained custom image AI models can produce new images to a set theme, style, and other parameters in seconds. Designers and brands can move swiftly to exploring new ideas and commit more time to conceptualize and refine, create and strategize. Designers can even submit a sketch or the outline of an idea, and a tool like MidJourney will extrapolate a complete image, letting them decide whether to pursue the concept or move right on to the next. 

Reinventing the role of designer

Automating image editing and version production removes a significant amount of a designer's mundane tasks. The time released for creativity and ideation can shift designers into a more consultative role. Rather than brand leaders, marketers, and developers waiting for simple version changes and new images on a repetitive theme, these basics can be delivered in minutes. Instead, these design customers can truly collaborate and innovate with their design teams. Designers can rapidly produce mood boards, color palettes, composition presentations, and visual concepts for clients to review. The ease of AI image generation also means that clients can explore their ideas using AI tools and then visually communicate them to designers who can refine the design into effective output, improving communication in the design process. 

Designers, as well as once again becoming creatives, can be curators and overseers of image libraries and brand assets and become far more involved in delivering the impact, empathy, and personalization demanded in commerce and industry. 

Version iteration and customization at scale  

If your design workflows require endless product images or quick graphics on a theme for socials and blog posts, even game environment graphics, then no doubt you’re already investigating custom AI image generation. However, AI’s impact is not just to speed up what you already do, it’s also about what AI can facilitate that just couldn’t be done before.  Again let’s take our transformative example, our digital marketing agency client, where we fine-tuned their custom AI image model so it produced visual assets at scale, entirely customized to EACH potential customer. Before generative AI’s newly developed abilities, such a campaign would have been totally cost and time prohibitive and that’s if sufficient design expertise could be sourced. 

Staying on-brand every time

Now let’s dig down to the nitty gritty. As a company, marketer, agency, or designer, you’ll have specific colors, fonts, styles, themes, products, or human models that you need to accurately reproduce every time to maintain the aesthetics of your brand. That’s not always easy, and the editing process for a designer and their customer can be extensive and sometimes problematic. An AI model simply has to be instructed with a brand’s expectations and parameters, and it will consistently turn out on-brand imagery. Fine-tuning a model with feedback on its output increases its accuracy, and its potential to iterate closely to a defined theme. If you already have a bank of photos and images and need new variations, these can be fed to AI tools that quickly regurgitate new versions. Although it sounds crude, it’s highly productive and can provide a competitive advantage when customers often buy based on brand aesthetics, product images, and visual marketing.

Accelerating time to market

Competitive advantage can be discovered not only in visual brand building, campaign volume, and personalization but also in the speed at which a brand, product, or service can be launched. If you’ve ever been involved in a launch, you'll know that it’s not always the ideas that take the time to get to market but developing the marketing, brand, website, visuals, and copy. AI is an epiphany when it comes to readying sales and marketing collateral.

Changing design expectations

Custom AI image generation is not just changing design workflows but also the expectations of design capabilities, timeframes, and costs. Companies won’t automatically factor in time and budget for photo shoots or a lengthy design and brand iteration process. Designers and marketers will be expected to deliver highly visual personalized campaigns in a fraction of the time and will need workflows and, indeed custom AI image generation tools at the ready for internal or external client needs. 

When design workflows are predominantly internal, companies will need to explore AI image tools and invest. But it doesn’t stop there. Effectively utilizing AI image generation requires the right choice of AI image tools and expert fine-tuning combined with robust prompt habits to ensure accurate, risk-mitigated, top-quality outputs. It also requires a graphic designer’s creative flair, eye for detail, and expertise because the most compelling, successful AI use cases necessitate human-AI collaboration. 

If you’re seeking strategic AI consulting and implementation to get AI right fast, consider working with us here at Generative Labs.


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