A.I. for Creative

We’ve recently talked about using A.I., like ChatGPT, for copywriting. But now we want to explore another way to use artificial intelligence in marketing—through visual art. 

Maybe you’re one of those people who loathes stock images and tries to avoid them. In that case, you might actually enjoy the idea of quickly creating never-before-seen art in almost any genre with a subscription and a few clicks of a mouse. It’s not only possible to create original images for your campaigns, it’s easy.

But there are some downfalls.

One of them is, of course, the much-mocked “fingers” issue. A.I. art is not yet perfect. It can simulate realistic-looking photographs and artworks, but it has struggled in a few noteworthy areas—like replicating realistic-looking human fingers. People often have too many, too few, or noodle-looking appendages. It’s a giveaway that you took a shortcut. Other aspects that are yet to be perfected are things like signage, letters, numbers, crowds, and eyes (which has always been one of the most difficult traits for artists in all media to capture). That being said, all of these elements are being improved upon day by day.

Another major issue for marketers is copyright laws. A.I. sources its “inspirations,” so to speak, from a wide range of materials available online (and you can also deliberately feed it inspirations). But if the software presents a final result that hews too close to another piece of art—or even another artist’s distinct style—and you accidentally use it, then you may be the one on the hook for the copyright lawsuit. Until A.I. becomes more transparent about how it sources images, and more rigorous about protecting human artists, then the level of care that marketers might need to take, manually, to protect themselves legally, might not be worth all the fuss. One lawsuit could certainly undo any savings that came from turning over your artistry to machines.

But let’s talk about those costs. The very best of A.I. generators still come with a hefty subscription fee, for all their imperfections. Companies would have to consider how often they really plan to use the software to make the price tag worthwhile. Additionally, it’s important to remember that the software isn’t self-managing; so you’re not actually replacing time and labor. Someone needs to be trained to use the software to make the best use of it and then apply their own artistic merits in choosing, adapting, and applying the art.

Finally, there’s perception. Using A.I. for marketing campaigns can go a few different ways when it comes to public perception. Clients might be happier if it’s more affordable for them. And some people might also applaud your forward-thinking approach. But others remain dubious; they still doubt these new approaches and consider them “cheating” or feel “tricked” when they think they’re looking at something real and deliberately crafted that is—at best, and loosely speaking—curated. That being said, some people who work closely in the world of A.I. understand that being able to refine your prompts and spend the time carefully sorting and sourcing the results that fit best is an art form unto itself.

With those thoughts in mind, we have to acknowledge that A.I. is not going away anytime soon, and it’s useful for progressive marketers to keep their fingers to the pulse of the conversation. In the future, many of these potential downfalls might cease to be barriers altogether, and it might make a lot of sense to have some knowledge of the ways it’s possible to put artificial intelligence to work in your creative department.

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