Design Toast
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Design Toast

Maximizing Influence: How AI Will Help Us Create Lasting Experiences

As a curious person by nature, I have always liked to think about what is coming next and how I can keep myself one step ahead. I like to observe. With technology constantly evolving, I find it interesting to think about the future of design. What will be asked of the designer of 2029? With design being a profession that demands creativity and flourishes on solving human-based issues, I can see how advances in artificial intelligence can be met with skepticism, especially from creative thinkers. When thinking about the greater implications for design, though, AI seems to provide an opportunity for designers to maximize their potential as experience curators.

While some of the labor-based creation process may be lost, what is gained is a sense of responsibility…

These technological advances are interlaced with our behaviors and expectations as consumers, so it is only fitting for leading companies to seek ways to meet our demands. We live in a time where everything is much more accessible to everyone. Car rides? There are multiple apps for that. Groceries? Available at the tap of a button. With design being the agent of influence that it is, it is integral not only to observe these developments, but also embrace them and think about them from various angles.

Netflix understands the importance of being adaptable in an environment that constantly evolves. They have used AI to generate key art to cater to the user’s taste, making for a more personalized user experience. This also allows them to use different thumbnails personalized for audiences in specific regions across different continents. Netflix understands they only have about ten seconds to hook someone into watching something before they move onto a different title. They understand how today’s humans work, they understand our nuances — specifically, our tendencies, as consumers, to demand things instantly.

Image source: https://becominghuman.ai/how-netflix-uses-ai-and-machine-learning-a087614630fe

But in order for these systems to excel, someone needs to determine the emotional nuances — to filter out the negative content, and make decisions, such as what would be an acceptable thumbnail. These interfaces call for a greater accountability on our part in our role as experience curators. In other words, there needs to be a human who knows how we think, who will speak to the target audience, and anticipate the areas in which technology can fall short. While some of the labor-based creation process may be lost, what is gained is a sense of responsibility and accountability for the designer.

AI also allows designers to devote more time to big-picture human-oriented ideas. While I admit the idea of AI in general may seem a bit unfavorable, bigger corporations have successfully implemented AI into their practices and have, as a result, provided insight to the many advantages of using these infrastructures. Airbnb, for example, understands how to utilize the evolving technological landscape to their advantage. They use a system that allows one to sketch out a design website, which then gets coded in real time. No longer must developers do the legwork of coding, wire-framing or finding appropriate closing tags. When time is of the essence in the office, using these tools to crunch time certainly makes sense from a productivity standpoint.

When the sky is the limit, the challenge will be for design teams to think of new ways to engage with consumers…

The idea of these developments becoming more accessible is thrilling, especially when one considers the fact that this will minimize the amount of time designers spend at a desktop going back and forth with a manager about which margins and spaces work best for certain compositions. Instead, young designers will be encouraged to take more of a strategy-based approach to their projects.

Nutella has demonstrated what this looks like on a larger scale. In a recent campaign called Nutella Unica, they developed an algorithm that designed seven million unique label designs for their products. Nutella was able to create millions of label designs, each one being as unique as the person buying it. The designs included a variation of dots, patterns, stripes, and color pallets — none of which were designed by humans. While some might assume that this is detrimental to creativity, I would argue this actually encourages designers to pursue big-picture visions.

Screenshot from the Nutella Unica video campaign. Full video: https://youtu.be/sHYakhyvJps

In this instance, Nutella was able to elevate their creative presence while staying true to the Nutella brand, and driving engagement. When the sky is the limit, the challenge will be for design teams to think of new ways to engage with consumers and drive them to satisfaction. They will not only design to meet consumer demands, but also design to stand out, surpass expectations, and drive overall satisfaction. As technology evolves, so will the demands of the environments we work in, along with our demands as consumers. One needs to be adaptable, define problems, and develop systems for these problems. This allows us to reach new horizons and hit new landmarks in design and influence.

There are a number of avenues designers may take in order to prepare for this shift. One is to keep oneself preoccupied with projects that are less about making something visually pretty, and instead about the big picture idea. That is how one can stimulate that strategy bug, and that is how young designers in particular can get more comfortable with mapping out big-picture ideas. Another way is to stay up to date on the latest technological developments, including software, and taking the time to learn them, and understand how they can be utilized to empower designers. By doing all of this, designers will learn to design for specific behaviors, experiences, and systems of emotions. Moreover, this will hopefully allow designers to see opportunities for their favorite brands and companies to embrace these developments.

What does this mean for the graphic designer of 2025? Who is to say, really? While AI finds ways to help the creative of today, one can’t train a computer to conjure human experiences (not yet, anyway). We’re complicated beings, nuanced with unique histories that shape us. As designers, we’re solving issues of influence and connection, while technology keeps us busy and distracted. Audiences respond to messages that are resonant and evocative of the human experience, messages that originate not from machines, but rather, another living creature who understands all of the excitements, nuances, tragedies, and mysteries that life throws at us. That is something that will take computers decades to learn.

Article by Sergio Ramírez

Sergio is a writer, designer, and multimedia artist residing in Los Angeles, California. Recently, he has helped execute the digital marketing initiatives at Magnolia Pictures, and is eager to explore the various ways new developments in technology and design affect our ability to tell stories. You can connect with Sergio on his Instagram.

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AIGA Los Angeles

AIGA Los Angeles

Los Angeles Chapter of AIGA. Empowering the local creative community.