Insights

AI-generated Imagery in Web Design

Oct 19, 2023

Generative AI tools open up new opportunities in web design β€” from rapid concept development, to creating the perfect image for a specific situation.

How it works

At its simplest level, AI tools create an image from text entered at a prompt.

This can be general ("business meeting") or more specific ("four people of diverse backgrounds in a conference room with modern architecture").

The AI tool then outputs a set of multiple images which can be selected and further revised.

Content for Web Design

Any web design process requires content, which may include original photos, stock photos, illustrations, animations, and videos.

Typically, enterprise-level clients have a repository of such content ready before work begins, and a budget for more content creation as needed.

Meanwhile, small companies and startups don't have this content, so they need help to create it.

Generating Concepts

In the early stages of brainstorming and creative concept development, generative AI can help explore and mock up different ideas quickly.

If the concept is selected, the AI content could be further refined, or replaced with newly-commissioned photography of actual products, people, or places.

Generating New Content

In cases where original content is not available or is prohibitively expensive, web agencies often resort to stock photos.

However, stock photos vary greatly in quality, take time to search through, and are sometimes still not up to expectations.

AI tools can create a perfectly-tailored image for a specific situation, saving time and even providing a better result.

It it legal?

Images created by AI tools are often legal to use in commercial works, depending on the terms of the specific tool.

However, AI images can't be licensed, and therefore given exclusive usage rights and protection.

It is worth noting that laws around AI-generated content are under consideration, and subject to future change.

What's going on in China?

Much Chinese forum and social activity is focused on Midjourney.

Signing up for Midjourney (and its interface, Discord) requires an international phone number and credit card. This is prohibitive inside of mainland China, though workarounds exist.

Local alternatives exist (for example Baidu WenXinYiGe), but are not as popular, and from our experience so far, don't give comparable results.

Summary

  • AI tools can help agencies develop and iterate through concepts more rapidly.
  • AI tools can also create the perfectly tailored image for a specific situation.
  • Most AI-generated images are legal to use in commercial works, but can't be licensed.