There is no question that AI (artificial intelligence) has taken the world by storm in the last few months since the launch of ChatGPT. Everywhere we look, we find discussions or debates on how AI image generative tools are revolutionizing the world of content marketing, design, and management. Generative AI, a branch of AI, has caught the attention of many marketers.
This technology refers to a type of artificial intelligence that is capable of generating new content or data similar to a given input. This can include generating text, images, music, and other forms of media. Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize many industries by automating content creation and enabling new forms of creativity.
Industries that have already started adopting AI include marketing and advertising, technology, consulting, manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and defense. Generative AI can be used in marketing and advertising to personalize experiences, content, and product recommendations.
We had the opportunity to speak with Steven Louie, Flightpath’s Creative Director, who has over 25 years of experience in the digital marketing space. We wanted to get an insider’s perspective on how Generative AI is currently impacting the digital marketing industry and more.
Q: How do you envision AI image generative tools impacting your creative process as a creative director?
A: First off, I think it’s a very transformative new tool to have in your arsenal. It clearly has the potential to be a significant tool to use. When it comes to sourcing artwork, stock images, or organizing photo shoots, AI image generative tools add to the options available to you. In the process of creating a creative piece, you have various sources to choose from. You can draw it yourself, hire someone else to draw it, obtain stock art, explore different styles, or arrange for a photoshoot or video shoot. This provides an additional way to, for better or worse, replace those assets as you move forward. This is especially relevant in terms of imagery.
Moreover, if you expand the narrative beyond a single image, video, or artwork and consider the composition and different ways of presenting information or infographics, AI image generative tools can be a game changer. They offer the potential for finding inspiration or a starting point, opening up new possibilities and avenues for creativity.
Q: What are some potential benefits of using AI generative tools in creative projects? How do you see these tools enhancing your work?
A: It provides additional options and sources of inspiration that can be accessed much more quickly than ever before. In some ways, it parallels what some people use ChatGPT for. There’s nothing in ChatGPT that you couldn’t achieve on your own with extensive Googling and research. However, ChatGPT can provide answers or outlines in a matter of seconds, whereas the same process through manual searching might take you many minutes or even hours.
Q: Do you have any concerns or reservations about incorporating AI generative tools into your creative workflow? If so, what are they?
A: There’s the rights issue. If you use AI generative tools, sourcing material becomes questionable regarding the legal rights to use it. It puts us and our clients at risk to use such imagery, perhaps rightly so. That’s why it’s increasingly important to use AI generative tools that have been trained on diverse and licensed source materials. AI-generative tools from companies like Adobe or Shutterstock are guaranteeing that their AI-generated imagery is safe to license and use.
Another concern is that, at this stage, some AI image generative tools, despite their impressive hyper-realism, may not consistently produce pleasing results compared to more traditionally photo-realistic methods. Additionally, if everyone starts relying heavily on AI generative tools and everything looks the same, it diminishes the uniqueness and freshness of new styles and stock.
However, the upside is that as these tools continue to improve, the range of styles in which AI image generative tools excel becomes virtually limitless. Currently, certain aspects may appear better than others, but this won’t always be the case. The technology will undoubtedly advance to a point where it can rival professionally shot content. I have no doubt that’s the direction things will ultimately head in the end.
Q: How do you think image AI generative tools can contribute to innovation and push creative boundaries within digital marketing?
A: We’re always striving to find the right creative that will succeed and meet the goals we have for our advertising. Image AI generative tools can assist in quickly creating different variations that can be tested against each other. It’s not just about artistic appeal, but rather about whether something effectively converts, delivers results, garners views, or entices viewers to click, learn more, or make a purchase. These tools, much like generative tech tools for generating Google SEM keywords, can do the same for imagery.
Let me give you an example. Suppose you’re creating an ad for pet care. Maybe the right pose, the right dog, and the right bandana are important factors. But with AI tools, you can explore variations like a Chihuahua, a Labrador, or a Golden Retriever to see which one tends to work best. You can even use these tools to segment and target different audiences based on gender preferences—for instance, identifying breeds that appeal more to women versus men. The hope is that these tools can help us generate imagery efficiently, as long as it doesn’t appear fake or artificial. Currently, some generative images of animals may still appear CGI-like, but this is likely to improve more rapidly than generating realistic human images. It’s a similar situation where even in movies, you can sometimes tell that a dog doesn’t quite look natural, whereas it’s challenging to discern the difference with dinosaurs since we have no real-life reference point.
Q: How do you strike a balance between the human touch and the use of AI generative tools?
A: In terms of the history of design, at least within our industry, we’ve never relied on a single style, tool, or image type. Inspiration comes in various forms, and what surpasses that initial inspiration can take many different paths. This diversity will continue to evolve and thrive. Some individuals have a unique artistic touch that can only be captured when they draw on paper or a tablet. It’s something that can’t be replicated artificially. At the same time, there are numerous things that can be generated artificially, which would be impractical or impossible to create by hand, especially when it comes to meeting high-volume demands.
Finding the right balance between using these tools effectively and achieving success will always be the key. It’s about utilizing the tool in a way that enhances our creative output and aligns with our objectives. The ones who navigate this balance skillfully will consistently find their stride.
Q: Do you think these tools will eventually replace human creativity?
A: AI image generative tools have already augmented our work, and they will continue to do so in the future. However, I sincerely hope that they will never replace human creativity. These generative tools are ultimately built upon the foundations laid by human creatives. It’s similar to how we sometimes complain about movies having repetitive plotlines. It would be a sad scenario if these tools were to entirely replace human creativity.
But as of 2023, it’s important to note that AI generative tools require prompts. For now and the foreseeable future, there remains a creative aspect in how we use these prompts to generate the desired outcome. If the prompts are not given in the right way, the results will differ, and everyone won’t achieve the same outcome. This highlights the role of creativity in utilizing these tools effectively. Of course, people will improve their skills in crafting prompts, and there may be additional features or buttons to guide users in generating desired results.
I believe that AI image generative tools will continue to augment our work, but hopefully never fully replace it. The optimal outcome lies in a harmonious coexistence where human creativity and these tools complement each other. It would be a bleak world indeed if we were to be dominated by automated creations.
We explored different aspects of the future of AI and image generative tools. From the impact of these tools to changes in a creative process to the challenges of rights and uniqueness, we’ve examined some of the opportunities and potential pitfalls of AI.
It is clear that AI image generative tools have the potential to be transformative, providing new options and sources of inspiration for creative professionals. However, we must also navigate ethical concerns and strive to preserve the unique touch of human creativity. Finding the right balance between leveraging these tools and maintaining our artistic authenticity is key.