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Impact of AI robotics on job market for graphic designers, skills they’ll need to stay competitive

Johannesburg, 12 Sep 2023
There are advantages and disadvantages to AI.
There are advantages and disadvantages to AI.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionising many industries, including graphic design. “While some designers view AI as a tool that can enhance their skills and increase efficiency, others worry that it may eventually replace them altogether,” says Stephanie Van der Walt, Senior Graphic Designer at Bizmod Development (BizDev). As with most technology developments, there are advantages and disadvantages, and the same is true with AI.

Van der Walt says AI can help designers save time by automating repetitive tasks and generating design options that will allow them to focus on creative work. It can also help them explore more design options and generate new ideas quickly. She says the launch of Adobe’s Firefly is a great example of this. However, on the other side, one of the biggest concerns is that AI could eventually replace human designers altogether, leading to job loss and a shrinking job market. The major concern with this is that AI could perpetuate biases or create designs that are less human-centric, more algorithmic and lack empathy.

Van der Walt says designers need to be constantly upskilling so they can stay competitive in the changing market driven by AI. She lists some key skills below:

  • Programming skills: Designers may need to learn programming languages such as Python or Java to work effectively with AI systems. This will enable them to create custom scripts and programmes to automate tasks and work more efficiently with AI-powered design tools.
  • Data analysis skills: Those with a strong foundation in data analysis and visualisation will be able to work more effectively with AI systems and make more informed design decisions.
  • Creative thinking skills: AI can help automate repetitive tasks and generate design options, but it cannot replace human creativity and innovation. Designers who can think creatively and come up with unique and compelling design solutions will be highly valued in an AI-driven industry.
  • Collaboration skills: Designers will need to work closely with other professionals who specialise in AI, including developers and data scientists. Those who can collaborate effectively with others and understand the technical aspects of AI will be better equipped to succeed in this environment.
  • Continuous learning: AI technology is constantly evolving, so designers who are committed to continuous learning and professional development will be better equipped to adapt to an AI-driven industry and stay ahead of the curve.

By developing these skills, designers can position themselves to thrive in an AI environment and create designs that are both innovative and effective. Van der Walt says: “The impact of AI on the job market for graphic designers is still unclear and, while AI can bring many potential benefits to the industry, there are also significant risks to consider.” Ultimately, it will be up to designers and industry leaders to ensure that AI is used in a responsible and ethical way that augments human creativity rather than replacing it. She concludes: “The designers who are able to adapt and develop new skills to work alongside AI will be the ones who are best positioned for success in the future.”