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Will graphic designers become obsolete?

graphic designer vs robot cartoon illustration

Designers cannot be completely replaced by machines.

This fear has become a legitimate concern among creatives as the world becomes more technologically advanced and sci-fi films become more realistic.

As we interact more and more with Siri and Cortana, lovable and self-aware AI, as seen in Spike Jonze’s Her, is now a possibility.

Retinal scanners, motion-trailing computer interfaces, and personally targeted advertising, as seen in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, are now in use, despite the fact that the film was released in theatres 20 years ago.

Machines can now be delegated a wide range of tasks. Look at the image below to see what I mean. This is Hans Moverec’s depiction of AI capability on the rise.

Computers, according to Hans Moravec, are universal machines with many capabilities for humans. Human potentials, on the other hand, are strong in areas that have long been important for survival but weak in areas that are not important for survival.

robotics AI theory skills that cant be replaced by machines
Hans Moravec’s illustration of the rising tide of the AI capacity (2017)

This illustration is a “landscape of human competence”.

Lowlands are labelled “arithmetic” and “rote memorization,” foothills labelled “theorem proving” and “chess-playing,” and high mountain peaks labelled “locomotion,” “hand-eye coordination,” and “social interaction.”

The advancement of computer performance is extremely similar to water slowly flooding the landscape. It began to drown the lowlands a half-century ago, displacing human calculators and record clerks while leaving the majority of us dry.

Where do you think graphic designers and illustrators are in this landscape? I’d say somewhere in the mountains labelled “art.” 

Designers may feel safe on the peaks for the time being, but if current trends continue, they will be submerged within the next half-century.

As that day approaches, Moverec suggests that we build arks and live on the high seas!

Artificial intelligence and graphic design

AI is now capable of performing graphic design tasks. With a click here and a keyword input there, you can have font pairings, colour combinations, and even pre-made logos in seconds.

AI has provided businesses with the convenience they require to improve their image and market their products. It’s tempting to rely solely on a computer for branding, but why isn’t everyone using these tools now that they’re available?

To design is human

Using AI in graphic design may be convenient, but it does not guarantee that we will always get the desired result. It all comes down to the human touch.

Even though AI can produce quick results, it lacks the ability to “subjectively” analyse input.

Do you want your brand to be ethereal, friendly, or punk, for example? Because design is inherently subjective, it would be difficult for AI to fully comprehend what the end-user desires.

Furthermore, adjectives differ from one culture to the next. In Asia, the word “simple” may not be the same as it is in the United States. What appeals in the United Kingdom may not be the same in Europe.

Until now, no AI designers have been able to adapt to cultural nuances in design. As a result, human graphic designers are required to supplement AI’s capabilities and aid in the comprehension of more abstract concepts.

The constant need for human designers

So, are human graphic designers doomed to become obsolete in the future? Only if they think in terms of machines.

A person who does not add value to their own work is either obsolete or easily replaceable in their company. Ask yourself the following questions if you are a designer:

  • Do you consider what your client truly needs from the design?
  • Do you think you can outdo yourself and create better designs every day?
  • Are you looking for new knowledge or training that you can apply to your craft?

If you’re a manager or a business owner looking for a professional designer or an on-demand design service, ask the same questions.

If you answered yes to all three questions, you’re building a vessel to help you navigate the flood of computer advancement.

We can use AI and other technologies, but the results will be unsatisfying and progressive without the assistance of human efforts.

Evolve or drown

Graphic designers will always be in demand, but their role in the workplace may change as technology advances.

There will always be people who can use these tools, but finding someone who will think outside the box and provide you with something unique will be more difficult.

The best designers are those who are constantly evolving and providing value to their clients. It’s always preferable to have people on your boat who care about more than just the money.