3 October 2023

Design, Die or AI

No amount of artificial intelligence can be effective without a human at some point taking the business objectives and marketing messages and turning them into something that resonates with the audience it is intended for. But AI is for another day.

Here at Gravity our lead designer Alex gets involved with designing collateral from websites and e-newsletters to print and exhibition stands, but what is the value of great design when there are ready made tools available such as Canva and other image generators. We took a few moments to chat to her about how design can influence decision making.

What is Graphic Design?

In its simplest terms, design is the art of combining image and text for print and digital media, it’s more than just making things look nice. The clients brief informs what the objectives of the design are, such as to attract audiences, to encourage people to make a purchase or to communicate a key message.

Creating a good design is accomplished in a few steps and carefully thought out with a clear objective. The first thing we do is understand who the intended audience is for the finished design and what you want the recipient to do with the information presented to them?

We then refer to the brand guidelines, if available, and use the colours, font, and tone of voice. The next step is to identify the best format to use and be conscious of what channel this will be used on – website, social media, e-newsletters, leaflet, brochures and many more.

Good design makes things look professional, as well as ensuring that the context delivers effective communication, conveying info, visual identity, target marker and way more. Can you believe all this is involved in just one design concept? Design work really is hard!

Why is good design so important?

As humans we process images and visuals much faster than text, in fact 60,000 times faster! Capturing and holding attention is essential and something that catches our eye can make us stop and listen long enough for us to take on the message it is conveying.

90% of information that gets transmitted to the brain is visual in nature, so this is why good design is so important.

Why is good design important for business?

Design is a form of communication between your business and your audience. Brand consistency is key, but that is probably for another day! Websites, e-newsletters, brochures and all other materials that are designed represent your business – and first impressions matter.

If you’re in business, you’re in the business of graphic design. All businesses want to be credible, consistent and competitive. This is where design, aligned with the right marketing channels can demonstrate that your business has a story worth telling.

You get one shot at impressing a potential customer. If your website looks rubbish or doesn’t tell a story, the visitor will quickly shut the window and look elsewhere.

The modern business world is hyper-competitive with information and opportunities whizzing by everywhere we look, therefore, good quality design is a must-have tool for your marketing toolbox to make way through the noise.

Why is design often undervalued?

Design can often be perceived as just throwing together some text and pictures, but it is so much more. Good design starts with a thought process. When a business has a great offer, design can bring those products, services and events to life.

The value is added when the creative mind sets to work on unfurling the messages and then creating a visual that will stop people in their tracks, just for a second, to read those messages. 

One misconception is that logos need to communicate something about their business, but contrary to this, many long-standing brands primary purpose is for identification with a clear message and brand values behind them, and these are the ones that stand the test of time. Take Apple, Nike and FedEx as examples that we are all familiar, they are clever and strong by the way they have been designed but also the way they are applied.

Another misconception is that designs can be whipped up quickly, it’s just a home page, or a quick poster design. Designers are bursting with natural creative ability but getting it right takes a little more time than half an hour in front of a screen. Design time is often misunderstood and an idea is hard to charge for. Who knows when it will click into place but this time spent getting it right is infinitely more valuable. Time spent in research and creative direction is time well spent.

Other thoughts of a creative mind

Yes, we can quickly come up with logo ideas but only if we understand the business, audience, fit and future goals which helps place creative direction in place first. It is important that the client is part of the process – we can then visually translate the vision of what the client wants to achieve.

A lot of what we do creates a subconscious and associative reaction in the viewer. Emotional connection to a piece of work is more important than the viewer understanding the ‘why’ behind the design.

AI vs Human

Creativity cannot be hardwired. AI design tools are trained with man-made datasheets, but emotions make a difference. AI wouldn’t understand the feeling we get from an image which is what leads us creatives to the right final creative message. But this is for another day…