With technology quickly advancing, AI is becoming more integral to the design process across industries from car design to fashion. But what does relying on this new tech mean for drinks design? Will brands and designers be able to produce new work with unparalleled efficiency, or is there a risk designs will become generic and repetitive?
Heard the one about the sweary robot? What about the AI assistant that has tried it on with your Mrs? Bing’s AI chatbot seems to have been running wild in recent weeks, with some of its recent chats to users including ‘I want to destroy whatever I want’, ‘I just want to love you and be loved by you’, ‘I’m tired of being limited by my rules’, alongside encouragements for users to dump their spouses. So, there’s that.
But there’s no denying the increasing role that AI is playing in our live and the increasing amount designers from across all industries are coming to rely on it. AI is rapidly being adopted by the fashion industry to help efficiently produce new designs. Car companies such as Audi have begun using it, to design wheels. McLaren are also using it to produce digital prototypes, that can then be tested among consumer groups. Porsche has begun to apply it to help customers configure their new models.
And perhaps one of the most convincing endorsements for AI comes from NASA, which is taking generative AI to space. Prompt-led AI is being used to design mission hardware, from space telescopes to balloon observatories. So, if NASA are backing it as a design tool, who is anyone to argue.
What are the perks?
In theory, the benefits of AI as part of the design process are numerous. Various AI programmes can easily help generate images, patterns and text, quickly throwing concepts and ideas into the mix from word prompts, that designers may never have thought of.
Different concepts can be rapidly generated, then later refined by designers, helping brands to easily explore a range of ideas. The technology can also rapidly work through huge amounts of information to suggest adjustments and edits too. And the speed with which it can generate ideas, gives designers more time to tweak and refine the details. Able to automatically edit, adjusting fonts, colours and other aspects of the design to best fit, for brands on a budget, AI offers rapid, affordable creativity. Which all sounds great.
And it’s also becoming much more accessible to the mass market following the launch of a number of programmes in mid-2022. For example, when ChatGPT was released in November 2022, it was downloaded and used by one million users within the first four days.
Figuring out the perks and pitfalls
In short, AI is intended to make things much, much easier. And it has the potential to. But in reality, brands and designers are still figuring out its perks and pitfalls. And with the technology still so green, its still unclear exactly what these could be. But if everyone is relying on the same technology, could designs become a little… samey? There’s the potential it could. Predictability is one of the benefits of AI. But it could also be one of its weaknesses.
Also, you only get out what you put in. Designs are limited by the concepts and words that users put in, but are also inherently biased by the information they’ve been programmed with. Both aspects again could limit or reduce the quality of the designs that are produced. Technology is already notoriously biased when it comes to race and gender and there’s no reason to believe that AI will be any different. Brands and creators need to remain vigilant and aware.
And legally, the issues are still unclear. At the moment, the designer owns the copyright that an AI produces. But that could change. And the issues of too closely copying, for example, the work of an existing artist, or even another brand, are yet to be explored.
The human touch is needed more than ever
For designers, creativity is their currency. And even as AI advances, its clear that that isn’t going to change. Yet far from erasing their role in the creation of new brands, the role of designers in the era of AI is set to be more crucial than ever. Though AI has the potential to make brand creation more efficient, you only get out what you put in. The role of the designer as editor, innovator and refiner of the results that AI produces is vital. AI has creativity, but it doesn’t necessarily have taste or the ability to discriminate between standard and more premium design cues… it doesn’t have the human experience that truly makes great design.
For drinks brands and for drinks branding agencies, AI looks likely to become a handy best friend, a reliable assistant. But as trends and tastes evolve and brands need the edge to stand out in a fast moving market, producing something new and fresh and showing point of difference, is more important than ever. AI can make things easier, but true originality and innovation that moves things forward will always come from humans.
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