Why Designers Need To Understand AI

Silka Sietsma
3 min readApr 17, 2018


Reposted from Adobe Design Blog, April 2, 2018

At Adobe’s Design Lab, we bring together a group of experts to visualize, experiment and create the technologies and techniques we will need in the future. On any given day, highly specialized and studious engineers can be configuring artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in one corner, while talented designers restructure the touchpoints of a single digital journey in another.

Each side has a role to play in the future of design, as our world jumps from the 2D screens of mobile and tablets and into the immersive experiences of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), voice interfaces and more — a topic I explore in Designing for an Immersive World. Today’s digital environment has forced designers to explore a new, immersive design approach — one that offers interactive experiences that fit seamlessly into our daily lives.

To build these immersive experiences, engineers need to embrace human-centred design goals just as designers need to understand artificial intelligence and its impact on productivity. Any image and video search is powered by narrow-focused AI, and thousands of Adobe Creative Cloud users turn hours of work into mere minutes by accessing the variety of AI capabilities available. AI is increasingly being used to power digital experiences, a trend particularly strong in the Asia-Pacific region, which has the highest rate of AI adoption for design work in the world.

AI is helping designers create powerful experiences and is supercharging the immersive tools — voice, VR, AR — that will inevitably become the products and services we use tomorrow. Designers consequently have unprecedented influence as these technologies encourage more natural interactions with our digital world. Luckily, businesses are starting to notice.

Adobe and eConsultancy’s 2018 Digital Trends Report discovered that the overwhelming majority (87%) of respondents agree that design-driven companies outperform other businesses. Today’s designers are giving brands the vision of what their customers will demand in the future, and a map for how they can position themselves as a true disruptor in their industry.

When we take an immersive design approach, we are, in our own small way, designing for the future of humanity, so the best way we can prepare is to take inspiration from people. For example, when illustrating an idea, voice user interface (VUI) and gesture user interface (GUI) are natural and faster than a keyboard and mouse. How can these technologies help us become more creative in design and more fluid in our communication with each other?

AI engineers and designers need to understand one another to realise this future. We are already seeing progress. Engineers are being taught to be more mindful in their work, and robotics companies are teaching children to code AI using Scratch. If kids can learn AI capabilities, it’s time for designers to start exploring it themselves.

Watch Silka Miesnieks talk more about designing for an immersive, sensory future with Janie Lim, Adobe’s Senior Director for Digital Media Marketing, Asia Pacific.



Silka Sietsma

Previously Head of Emerging Design @ Adobe