How AI is Enhancing, Not Replacing, Design Jobs

AI is a hot topic and many designers fear its impact. Let's explore how AI will affect the design industry. It's unlikely that AI will take over all design jobs, but it may remove novice designers from the hiring pool.

AI is the big topic on everyones head these days and if you’re a designer, you’re scared shitless of it. None of us know what Sam and his team at openAI will do in the next year or decade, but we’re going to take a deep dive into AI and how it’ll effect designers. My argument is that AI will NOT take over everyones design job, but instead will eliminate the novice designers from the hiring pool.

How AI design generation work

So, you're curious about how those AI design generation tools work, huh? Well, let me break it down for you. Basically, these tools use fancy machine learning algorithms to analyze a bunch of existing designs and figure out what makes them tick. They look at things like colors, fonts, and layouts to identify common patterns and styles.

Once the tool has learned these patterns, it can start generating new designs based on user input. So if you give it a brief or some guidelines, it can come up with a bunch of different options that match what you're looking for.

MOST of the models (think of a model as the “ai”) are being trained with hundreds of thousands of images and a human is there labeling them. So he’ll label the navbar, content, header, image, box-shadow, border-radius, etc. This is how training works. Think of the model as a person who you’re teaching. And the ability of this model will be dependent on how much training it has.

So when you ask the ai “Create a settings page with a username and password input field.” it will do just that. It will find a component for a settings page, username, and a password field. And then slap the default color scheme it has, and voila. You have a free design.

Does this sound familiar? It should. It almost sounds like a components library, like Bootstrap or Material…right? Well, yeah, it’s exactly like that. Except the key different is that this will be MUCH easier to use, but most of the designs might look generic unless you get very clear in your prompts.

Who will use it?


There’s two categories of people that will use this ai design generation. First is you. You will use it in replacement of softwares like bootstrap/material or Dribbble. We all go on dribbble to find inspiration for our settings page, dashboard, homepage, etc. And using that inspiration, we create something that fits the use case of the business. So what you’ll do is ask the AI to generate certain designs and using that design, you’ll morph it into something that’s not generic and something that solves the pain-point of the business.


There WILL be companies that uses the AI to generate designs. It’s inevitable and the good news is that the companies who opts to this route, will probably not pay you much anyways. The companies i see going this route are bootstrapped companies who cannot afford hiring designers. Because at the end of the day, this ai design generator will give you designs that may fit your need ENOUGH to get to the next milestone. But if they want someone to create something that’s unique, fixes the user experience issues, and knows what is trendy…they will hire a real designer.

Who will lose their job?

Many are fear mongering for clicks

Mediocre designers and below. AI will not be kind to them one bit. We’ve all seen it. We see a website or a promo image and wonder “Who created this and did they pay?” Yes, they paid. Sometimes a lot of money. These are the people who are going to be out. Their mediocre design eye will not be able to compete with ai design tools, so it will level the design market by eliminating the novice. This can also in return cause your pay to increase, because there will be LESS designers.

It's worth noting, however, that the rise of AI design tools also creates new opportunities for designers who are able to work with these tools and leverage their capabilities to create new and innovative designs. So while some jobs may be at risk of automation, there are also new opportunities emerging in this field. So don’t be afraid, instead adapt to the AI and learn to use it to better your craft.

Another important point to consider is that while AI may be able to generate designs, it still lacks the creative intuition and human touch that human designers possess. Design is not just about creating something aesthetically pleasing, it's also about solving problems and understanding the needs of the user.

AI may be able to generate designs based on data and algorithms, but it's up to the human designer to make decisions based on empathy, intuition, and experience. A skilled designer can use their understanding of human behavior and psychology to create designs that are not only visually appealing but also intuitive and user-friendly.

Moreover, the design industry is not just about creating visual elements. It's also about communication, collaboration, and storytelling. A designer needs to be able to communicate their ideas and vision effectively to clients and stakeholders, and work collaboratively with other members of a team. These are skills that AI simply cannot replicate.

In conclusion, while AI design tools may eliminate the jobs of mediocre designers and below, it's important to remember that the design industry is not just about generating designs. Human designers still have a crucial role to play in providing context, creativity, and problem-solving skills to the design process. The rise of AI can create new opportunities and challenges for designers, but it's up to them to adapt and evolve alongside these new technologies in order to remain relevant and competitive in the industry.

Why you should be optimistic

AI will eliminate the jobs of the novice because it most likely will generate better designs than them. Whether you will lose your job will depend on the quality of your work and if you’re able to adapt to AI. Similar to how most good designers use Dribbble or Behance for inspiration, it will be in your provocative to use AI design tools to create mockups and MVP versions of designs. Instead of taking weeks to finish something, it might take days. And keep in mind, the quality of the design output will only be good as the person who is submitting those requests. A startup founder who is an engineer won’t know exactly what will resonate with users. They will have a broad idea, yes, but it is YOU who will know what is good or bad UX. It is YOU who will know what the flow of the design should be. It is YOU who will know what specific features will be needed on the design that won’t make it too cluttered.

It's natural to feel uncertain about the future of work, especially with the advent of AI and automation. However, instead of fearing the worst, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The shift towards AI is not about taking away jobs, but rather about augmenting and enhancing human abilities.

Take the design industry as an example. With AI-generated designs becoming more prevalent, it's easy to assume that human designers will soon be replaced by machines. But the truth is that AI-generated designs are only as good as the data and instructions they are given. This means that human designers will still have a crucial role to play in providing context, direction, and creativity to the design process.

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