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AI: Friend or Foe?
David Winterhalder, Creative at Seventy7.
David WinterhalderDesigner

Our Creative Artworker David delves into the good, the bad, and the ugly of the world of AI. 

As David’s job role has evolved to harness the potential of AI as of recent years, we asked for his take as a digital creative design worker. Here's what he had to say on the topic:

There has been so much talk about AI and the role it can play within the creative services, some of it good and some of it bad. 

Admittedly, I was apprehensive to embrace the idea of using AI in everyday creative tasks. I soon realised, as have many other creatives, AI is not a replacement but an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to enhance your own creative skill set.

Now, that is a comment very much based on current AI software. Where we go in the future and how far AI technology actually goes, is another conversation, and I think that is important to clarify.

You can be conscious of the possible long-term issues of where AI could go, while also adopting the use of AI software as part of your daily creative tool set. There’s no doubt that the majority of people, let alone creatives, have become ‘fans’ in recent years.

However, when this goes beyond enhancing a creative’s role and begins to act as a replacement – that is where, rightfully so, we should all make a stand.

A creative ‘supplement’ not a replacement

Creating a piece of good creative work is like nutrition. You can use supplements to boost your performance but they cannot replace a good diet. 

From generating text on Chat GPT to creating one of a kind images on Midjourney, these are like the daily multivitamins of creative and digital fields. They can be used to supplement or enhance your work in content, software or outreach, but what it should not be used for is the start to end production of your work. 

Now don’t get me wrong, we all have days where we have brain fog and know it’s easier to see what AI comes up with for ideas - we’ve all been there! 

Just remember, there is nothing better than original, quality, personal work.

As a creative I would recommend using these technologies to every and any fellow creative. Followed by the advice of, when you get the basics right you can supplement if needed. AI is not a replacement to creatives and designers, it’s simply a tool for us to use and make our own.

Using AI in a creative agency

Personal usage aside, what does this look like for a creative agency? At seventy7, our teams are pioneers in the future and embraced AI early on.

For us, staying ahead of the curve is not just a goal but a necessity. Recognising the transformative power of AI early on solidified our position as a trailblazer in the industry, setting new standards for creativity and innovation.

Our digital team saw the potential of AI in revolutionising the creative design process. This allowed us to not only meet the demands of our clients and face competition but also position ourselves as a forward-thinking agency ready to shape the future of design.

Whether it's automating repetitive tasks, generating personalised content, or predicting design trends, our early adoption of AI has given us a competitive edge. By proactively integrating AI into our design processes we are delivering results that surpass traditional methods.

Let's go over how AI affects a creative day in, day out and where or how it can be implemented.

What is AI good at and what can’t it do yet

These are the obvious questions which often get overshadowed by the sexier, click bait-y headlines such as ‘AI will take your job!’. If you need the reassurance and a cool down from the fear-mongering, see here for our discussion of AI vs humans in copywriting.

Personally, Midjourney is the one piece of AI software that I use as a designer. Over the last few years I must admit, I have become quite attached to it. It has become a go to tool for me and the wider creative team, providing a whole new element to our work in many ways, all whilst being incredibly easy to use.

I wanted to use this blog as a chance to explore how, as a creative team we use Midjourney. What that looks like at ground-level for a creative agency and how in turn, it can benefit our clients. 

Basically cut all the nonsense and give you an honest take on using AI as a creative tool. Is it really all that? Well, yes… and no.

What is Midjourney and how does it work?

As AI continues to grow beyond any of our predictions, countless image and digital art generators have appeared in recent times. However, one has quickly risen to the top, known as Midjourney. 

Midjourney is an artificial intelligence software developed to generate imagery from written descriptions called ‘prompts’. For example, you input “a rusty car in the middle of a field” and in a few seconds, you have multiple creations of the image.

Example images using Midjourney AI.

Something to note is, yes, things can go wrong with your image and the software model isn’t perfect. For example, it can struggle to generate hands or other complicated objects, and backgrounds can often be blurred or confused. At the end of the day, these are problems you’ll find with any artificial softwares.

Where does the AI imagery come from on Midjourney?

In the past, Midjourney has stated that like its competitors, the software scraped the internet for millions of published images. They analysed the text used in these to describe them for crucial training. The majority of AI image generators with public source code generate these images through a process known as diffusion.

Subject to licence, you as the user own all assets you create with the services provided as they were created in accordance with this in agreement. Although, this excludes upscaling the images of others, in which images remain owned by the original asset creators.

Can AI images be used commercially?

Yes, of course! We currently do and will continue to do so. If you have an image entirely generated by Midjourney, you can also use it commercially. To start creating images, you must be logged into your own personal account, with a Midjourney subscription plan.

Teaching AI to get to know you

Another misconception with AI is that it requires little to no human effort or input. 

At face value, using Midjourney seems quite simple but there truly is a skill in mastering the prompt feature. The software almost has its own language, and there are many tricks to get better images. Therefore, it takes time to understand the software and get to grips with what is possible. It is not a case of clicking a button and done, there is also a lot of trial and error.

There is of course a lot of buzz around AI and it will continue to grow and develop further and we will be right there capitalising on the advancements. It is exciting to see how Midjourney grows and develops. One area I can see the software improving is how it can incorporate existing ecommerce imagery within their digital AI composites. This effectively creates product focused imagery with no need of repro / additional composite work.

Existing software such as Adobe Creative Suite has started to embrace AI. Photoshop now has a Generative Fill feature which in essence can create Midjourney like images. 

So to summarise, Midjourney has fast become a main-stay in our creative team’s creative tool kit. Despite what news and media tell you, this AI software doesn’t mean that we can suddenly operate with a smaller team or use it to reduce overheads but rather improves upon our existing tools. 

In a way think of it as it is an incredibly sophisticated stock image provider. Only one that can read your mind!

This tech isn’t going anywhere and we need to keep using it to benefit clientele and continue to improve our workflow and creative output.

(This blog was not made by AI… at all…)

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