how creatives can use ai for inspiration

We’ve all heard it before: AI is taking over our jobs. Our designer, Keenan, has a more optimistic view. He shares 5 ways creatives can use AI as a tool for inspiration.

aug 16, 2023

ai - content - trends - marketing - creative trends

by: keenan mathura

AI: it’s all anyone is talking about. GPT, Midjourney, Bard. Some say it’s the start of robot world domination, or to put it more mildly, that AI is coming for our jobs. (Which it’s not. Right? RIGHT?)

I say neither. Sure, it does some cool artwork. But if all you’re looking for is mediocre artwork, AI does the job. At least today it does. As AI evolves in the long term however, we’re all wondering what will AI really mean for creatives? And better yet, how can we use it to our advantage?

For what it’s worth, my take is that it’s a tool for inspiration and experimentation. If you can think it, AI can help bring it to reality. At least, hypothetically. Here are five creative applications AI can be used for:

1. prototyping

You know when you’ve been fiddling on a crazy structure or logo design for hours? You see it in your head. It’s so close, but you just can’t get it right. Anyone?? Just me?

Let AI help you see it IRL. It’s a prompt away. Compute what you want to see, execute it, learn from it. It can help you iterate much faster.

Or it could also be the nail in the coffin showing you that your idea will absolutely not work. Either way, it can help you get somewhere faster.

2. inspiration

Sure, inspiration exists all around us. But we all know that feeling of staring at a blank document, thinking “oh gawwwwwdd, where do I start?!”

That’s where AI comes in. Give it a couple of keywords and it can help get those brain juices grooving.

I was playing around with some vintage southern-influenced truck prints and turned to Midjourney to generate the right style, colour tones, and perspectives. Instead of staring at a blank artboard for hours, this gave me a direction to start with, sparking new ideas and approaches.

3. storyboarding

Finding visual examples for your storyboard can take hours. Especially when they’re as specific as ‘a vehicle from a ¾ angle with a heavy bokeh effect with a lens flare in JJ Abrams-style, during a July sunset in SoHo while pigeons are flying in the sky.’

Which, according to AI, looks something like this:
It helps client see the shot before actually seeing the shot, ensuring your vision actually gets across.

4. stretching your thinking

As a cheesy quote in a coffee table book once said, creativity is limitless. Put that to the test with AI. Whatever wacky, outrageous, unimaginable ‘what ifs’ lurk in your head, you can make it come to life.

Like what if Charlie Brown was convicted of a crime? Or what if 50 Cent’s song ‘Candy Shop’ was about literal candy?

What if Gucci and Nespresso collaborated? What would that look like?

5. personalised birthday gifts

Do you have a friend you refer to as Bronco (like the car) so much that he has come to terms with it and now wears Bronco merch? Did you forget that it’s their birthday? Sure. Here’s a T-shirt design you can gift him where he, Bronco, is a Bronco

T-Shirt Design of Bronco in a Bronco.
Yeah this one is really stupid but hey, it works.

I’m not saying you should add these five creative applications to your everyday creative process. They may not be the most efficient way at it for you or lead you anywhere good. But consider it another option. Just like we peruse Pinterest or scour creative sites for inspiration, AI serves the same purpose: a tool for us, not a takeover of us. At the end of the day, we’re entering the age of AI. If it feels like a threat, let’s find a way to make it work for us.