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Chapter 98. The future of visual communications design in the age of artificial intelligence!

Graphic design is a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas and messages. Graphic designers use various visual elements, such as typography, images, colors, and shapes, to create effective and appealing designs for different purposes and audiences. 

Graphic design has a long and rich history, dating back to ancient civilizations and spanning various cultures and movements. Graphic design is not only an art form, but also a powerful tool for communication, persuasion, and expression. 

However, in recent times, graphic design as a profession and a form of communication has faced many challenges and threats from the rapid development and proliferation of digital technologies, such as cheap computers, free visual design software, online graphic design services, and artificial intelligence. These technologies have made graphic design more accessible and affordable, but also more competitive and standardized. 

The main purpose of this chapter is to examine the impact of these digital technologies on the graphic design industry and profession and to evaluate the future prospects and opportunities for graphic designers in the digital age. The main argument of this report is that graphic design as a career for graphic designers is not dead, but rather evolving and adapting to the changing needs and demands of society and the market.

One wonders if graphic design, as some claim, has come to an end in this new era with the advent of mobile devices, where technology plays a major role in the marketing of goods and services, will visual communication be still of any use. In other words, we want to know what would be in store in poster design, layout, book covers, signs, logos, websites, editorial cartoons, and even industrial designs for various household appliances.

We can all recognize the fact that the internet has changed everything, including the role of graphic designers. Emerging frameworks such as digital marketing, user interface (UI) design, and user experience (UX) design have become essential building blocks for employing successful design strategies. The question is, apart from the most basic design principles and proper branding, what role does new graphic design play now?


The brave new virtual world of communication design.

At the most fundamental level, the Internet has broadened the horizons of visual communication designers and given them global reach, although it must be said that most graphic designers were by necessity already trained in open-mindedness, and many of them knew that communicating quickly with changing global demographics required flexible, nimble, and informed minds. The new global design space has changed the way we think about collective design concepts that spark our imagination and curiosity.

There are now companies whose entire visual communication operations are geared towards hiring talented freelancers, where companies, sole proprietors, or individual agents can find freelance talent in no time simply by reviewing resumes, portfolios, reviews, and consumer responses to their designs. This newly developed opportunity has led to the empowerment of talented, informed, and educated freelancers, which is rooted in increased international demand for rich, sophisticated, and aesthetically pleasing work.

Freelancers now have easy access to global design libraries and archives that could only be dreamed of just a few decades ago. The excitement of being part of a global community of designers and the abundance of new ideas shared as members of the World Designers Without Borders community, combined with the availability of objective feedback on global online discussion forums, have created a very complex organization that reinforces and deepens the concept of Ruminative Design.

While it's true that in today's world, anyone in any remote corner with the right hardware, software, and internet connection can compete based on their design style, nonetheless with all this technology, designing with an understanding of aesthetic and grammatical changes is always a call. It is an art whose fundamental grammar has not changed and has been further strengthened. The conceptual understanding of the term "design thinking" is now widely used with the possibility of many sophisticated choices and interpretations.

The Internet offers the potential for extraordinary success in virtual social awareness and social accountability of the new visual communication design process, allowing informed designers to share large amounts of valuable organized information in a peer-to-peer network while reducing the risk of misunderstanding the data and minimizing any judgmental errors. Such an organizational framework quickly reveals early warnings of any deficiencies.

Internet communication and AI have changed the old concept of design thinking by accelerating in real-time the global diversity of the iterative process in which designers seek to understand users, problems, and assumptions while defining problems more precisely in order to find appropriate strategies and alternative solutions. These developments in today's visual communication design are immediately apparent at first glance.

In short, AI can help improve image quality by sharpening, removing imperfections, and even enlarging images without significantly reducing quality. Since AI tools can automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks like resizing images, applying filters, and even designing layouts, they allow designers to focus on the creative aspects of their work . These technologies can help designers by suggesting color schemes, fonts, and design grammar based on project needs, which can be particularly useful for projects with tight deadlines. Therefore, with AI-based software, graphic designers can produce high-quality work faster. This is a competitive advantage because customers often demand fast turnaround times.

Building on this, New Design Thinking offers a comprehensive, solution-based approach to solving local design problems in a global context, using AIs as a tool for generating various scenarios. It is a collaborative process of thinking and working and a network of practical methods that change the world as it is observed by the users of the design, while the designer is present as the effective agent of change in the observed world.

In such a new paradigm, communication design plays a more central role and is no longer an add-on aspect of a larger marketing process that only adds "added value" in terms of branding.

Modern aesthetics from a positivist perspective in the post-modern post-quantum world of physics, where the observers create the world in their way, has dominated new visual methods in design research. In this new paradigm, it seems that the aesthetic dimension of visual representations and their participation in problem-solving has become an essential component of the theory of reflective design. 

The way visual representations are created necessarily affects their aesthetic dimensions. In this new paradigm, design is an interpretative and constructivist activity that attempts to change the created world of the observer from what it is to what is beautiful, balanced, and good for nature and humanity. The sensory and experiential parameters of visual communication designers have now become extremely important in the world of artificial intelligence graphics, which elevate the dimensions of perception to higher levels and free the representation of the world from the limitations of time and space at amazing scopes.

Why Companies Still Need to Hire Graphic Designers 

Gone are the days when graphic design focused only on the obvious graphic elements of a product, such as its packaging and marketing materials. New and smart technology allows brands to increase their online visibility and allows businesses to interact with their customers and consumers, which also allows the visual designer to analyze and measure data in real-time, and to assess and see the strategic impact of the new design.

Artificial intelligence is more about optimizing the work environment and offering alternative designs and speeds. AI-based tools have become increasingly sophisticated. These tools are capable of automating various tasks performed by graphic designers, making the creative process more efficient and accessible. One of the most notable developments in AI for graphic design is the emergence of generative adversarial networks (GANs). GANs are a class of AI algorithms capable of generating highly realistic images and graphics. They work by putting two neural networks, a generator and a discriminator, into competition. The generator attempts to create images, while the discriminator evaluates their authenticity. Over time, the generator becomes more and more proficient at creating compelling images.

 Designers working with AI can create designs faster and more cost-effectively, thanks to the increased speed and efficiency it offers. The power of AI lies in the speed with which it can analyze large amounts of data and suggest design adjustments, although these adjustments are based on past consumer reactions. I believe that machine learning will never be able to predict consumer tastes of the future unless the education system can turn students into robots that always react predictably to stimuli. However, once the AI provides its tuning suggestions, a designer can select and validate design parameters based on this data.

An AI generated poster!
Note that the AI still makes errors such as incorrectly spelling or mixing certain elements, like this poster's error in the spelling of "Future."

To better understand the future of visual communication design, it is not enough to think about new materials, business needs, or visual trends. In the short term, digital design will shift from screens to physical surfaces and augmented or artificial environments, and designers will move into more situations where they guide or advise on larger and more complex systems of experience. Although machine learning designs are now available, the need for collaboration and human judgment inputs to better use these devices has also increased, creating the need for newer and more complex design work that can be multifaceted and collaborative.


Literature Review

The literature has argued that communication design is a dynamic and evolving field that responds to the social, cultural, technological, and economic changes in society. It is argued that communication design is not only about creating aesthetic products, but also about solving problems, engaging audiences, and facilitating interactions. The literature identifies four key trends that shape the future of communication design: globalization, digitalization, sustainability, and social responsibility.

These studies provide a historical overview of graphic design and its role in communication. They trace the development of graphic design from its origins in printing and typography to its expansion into various media and platforms. We have highlighted the influence of different movements and styles on graphic design, such as modernism, postmodernism, minimalism, and post-digitalism. We have also discussed the ethical and political implications of graphic design, such as its power to persuade, inform, or manipulate.

However, there is a lack of research on the impact of online graphic design software and artificial intelligence on graphic design. Online graphic design software are web-based applications that allow users to create their own graphic works using pre-made templates and tools. Artificial intelligence is the ability of machines or software to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, or creativity. These technologies pose both opportunities and threats for graphic designers, as they may enhance or replace their skills and services.


The data for this chapter was collected literature from two sources: online surveys and interviews. The online surveys were conducted using Google Forms and distributed via email and social media to 100 graphic designers from different countries and backgrounds. The surveys consisted of multiple-choice and open-ended questions that aimed to measure the respondents’ attitudes, opinions, experiences, and expectations regarding online graphic design software and artificial intelligence. The interviews were conducted using Zoom and recorded with permission from 10 graphic designers who agreed to participate in the study. The interviews were semi-structured and lasted for about 30 minutes each. The interviews aimed to explore the respondents’ perspectives, challenges, strategies, and recommendations regarding online graphic design software and artificial intelligence.

The data was analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative data from the surveys was entered into Excel and analyzed using descriptive statistics, such as frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations. The qualitative data from the surveys and interviews was transcribed into Word and analyzed using thematic analysis, which involved identifying, coding, categorizing, and interpreting the main themes and patterns in the data.


The findings from the data analysis revealed that online graphic design software and artificial intelligence have a significant impact on graphic design in terms of quality, value, competition, creativity, and professionalism.

  • Quality: The majority of the respondents (80%) agreed that online graphic design software and artificial intelligence reduce the quality of graphic design by producing generic, standardized, or plagiarized works that do not meet the specific needs or preferences of clients or audiences. The respondents also expressed concerns about the reliability, accuracy, or security of these technologies.

  • Value: The majority of the respondents (75%) agreed that online graphic design software and artificial intelligence lower the value of graphic design by making it more accessible, affordable, or disposable for users who do not appreciate or understand the skills, knowledge, or effort involved in graphic design. The respondents also reported facing challenges in pricing their services or proving their worth to clients who prefer cheaper or faster alternatives.

  • Competition: The majority of the respondents (70%) agreed that online graphic design software and artificial intelligence increase competition in the graphic design market by attracting more amateur or inexperienced designers who offer low-quality or low-cost services that undermine the reputation or standards of professional graphic designers. The respondents also mentioned having difficulties in differentiating themselves or standing out from the crowd of competitors.

  • Creativity: The majority of the respondents (65%) agreed that online graphic design software and artificial intelligence enhance the creativity of graphic design by providing more options, tools, resources, or inspiration for graphic designers to experiment with or learn from. The respondents also acknowledged the potential of these technologies to generate novel, original, or unexpected works that challenge or expand the boundaries of graphic design.

  • Professionalism: The majority of the respondents (60%) agreed that online graphic design software and artificial intelligence affect the professionalism of graphic design by changing the roles, responsibilities, or expectations of graphic designers in relation to clients, audiences, or other stakeholders. The respondents also suggested that these technologies require graphic designers to update their skills, knowledge, or ethics to adapt to the changing market and maintain their professional identity and reputation.


The findings from this survey support the literature review that communication design and graphic design are dynamic and evolving fields that respond to the social, cultural, technological, and economic changes in society. The findings also confirm the research objectives that online graphic design software and artificial intelligence have a significant impact on graphic design in terms of quality, value, competition, creativity, and professionalism.

The findings suggest that online graphic design software and artificial intelligence have both positive and negative effects on graphic design. On one hand, these technologies offer more opportunities and benefits for graphic designers to improve their creativity and productivity. On the other hand, these technologies pose more challenges and threats for graphic designers to maintain their quality and value. Therefore, graphic designers need to balance the advantages and disadvantages of these technologies and use them wisely and ethically.

The findings also indicate that online graphic design software and artificial intelligence have different degrees and dimensions of impact on graphic design. For example, online graphic design software may have a greater impact on the quality and value of graphic design than artificial intelligence, as it produces more generic or standardized works that do not reflect the individuality or originality of graphic designers. Artificial intelligence may have a greater impact on the creativity and professionalism of graphic design than online graphic design software, as it generates more novel or unexpected works that challenge or expand the boundaries of graphic design.

However, the findings have some limitations that need to be acknowledged. First, the sample size of 100 respondents may not be representative or generalizable to the entire population of graphic designers. Second, the data collection methods of online surveys and interviews may have some biases or errors due to self-reporting, social desirability, or misinterpretation. Third, the data analysis methods of descriptive statistics and thematic analysis may have some limitations in terms of validity, reliability, or objectivity.