AI’s Impact on Web Design Evolution Part 3

Introducing AI Images

We’ve talked about AI and its ability to affect the design process, we’ve talked about AI and how it assists in personalizing websites, but have we talked about AI and one of the coolest ways it can impact the design evolution in imagery? I think not! Allow me to introduce you to the futuristic brilliance of AI images. That’s right, you probably thought that I, as an artist and designer, hate AI art… and yeah, a part of me does, but baby, have you seen what they can do to a website’s lack of images? It’s so sweet, and it’s a great way to add personalization without the overuse of… shivers stock photos.

AI and the End of Stock Photos

Look, I’m all about authentic images; in fact, if you have a website, you best be having as many authentic images as you can. However, in all my (couple) years of being a web designer, I have only once come across a website design that was able to use all photos taken by their company alone. And that was because they were a photography company. Let’s be real, not everyone is able to get good images, especially not ones optimized for websites, and trust me, there’s a difference.

See, when people want their photos taken, they are looking for the prettiest angle, the nicest close-ups, the most spectacular views — but web design? It wants things far away and widespread so it can be optimized for all sorts of viewing: up close and personal on our phone, and stretching to the ends of the world on your massively large desktop (looking at you, Chris… you know who you are).

So naturally, when we faced this dilemma of having too few images for the standard needed on design, we went to… online stock image sites. Don’t get me wrong, stock photos are great; I mean, people letting us use their photos for free? That’s just cool, man — except for the fact that 80 percent of the time the one you found is also found on 80 million other websites. Way to be unique, you know what I mean?

So it’s always been a struggle, until AI images came out. Oh baby, it’s fixed things to be heckin’ cool! Because now if your website has trash images or it just doesn’t have any, then we got AI-generated images, baby, and usually, they are generated by yours truly to match your style, your site, your colors, and so forth — but best of all? They ain’t found on any other site!

That being said, please, if you have authentic images, we want those. Those are 8 million times more effective than any other pretty images you may have found because it proves you’re legitimate.

But after we can’t find any of your images, we will look to AI because I no longer have to be looking for hours for the right stock photo. Forget about being unique, it makes things downright efficient!

Efficiency Takes Center Stage

I can’t tell you how many hours it’s been that I’ve spent searching up the right images for a website. Oh man, is it time-consuming, but with things like AI images, I can now type in exactly what I’m looking for. Because let me tell you, finding an image of a woman behind a desk typing in an order with 50 boxes behind her that are ready to ship, all the while there is a line of customers in front of her, and two of them are playing poker, while there are two service dogs in the corner and a man losing his marbles and there are children on the floor playing a game of marbles with said missing marbles —

You can’t, it’s just not possible unless you take that picture, or you find one of those expensive stock photos, but it’s still something that anyone can use, so it’s not unique, and you aren’t a photographer — yeah, in those situations, it’s just nice.

Without having to worry about getting the right images, I can focus now on the design process, and man is that nice, not to mention I can customize those images to my heart’s content, making certain areas of the image greyscale, make that one pink super-saturated — and more often than not, I can’t do that with all of the images because there’s not enough time.

Customization, man, am I right?

Customizations and Modifications all at Your Fingertips

No seriously, I don’t think you understand how cool it is to be able to customize things to the extent that I can now. I can weave any visuals I want to perfectly align with a brand identity. In addition, I can take an image and make it painted in the blink of an eye if I wanted to because that’s how AI is now: your own personal Picasso! But it isn’t just that, it’s the sheer ability to modify at a level unseen before.

Let me give you a little story. A few months ago, little Anna (that’s me) was working on a design, and I was given a picture that was great; the only issue was that it was not optimized for the design, it was too small and I needed it to spread the entire width of the design. Little Anna was sad, Little Anna was distressed, she had been working so long and any time she tried to change the image’s size it became far too pixelated, and no matter how much she tried to upscale the image (make it a higher resolution so that it’s clear even though it’s blown up bigger than it should be) it just looked blurry and wonky.

Bet then! Little Anna realized that Photoshop made an update just that previous week and she needed to update the app, and she found the goldmine of updates: auto-expanding the image with AI. Little Anna knew that it was possible to do this, but she’s more efficient at design, not photo editing, so when she clicked and dragged the image to make it larger and she saw the image expand so it was the proper resolution while adding on additional trees to the image automatically — Little Anna’s brain exploded, she almost cried, but after all of this and she could comprehend the genius, she was then known no longer as “Little Anna” but “Anna.”

It was quite a day, for her and for many others as they found how AI didn’t just create images, it could modify and expand images to become grander than before! And even the poor resolution issues have been worked out even more; soon AI will likely be able to make any blurry image clear!

With all of these advancements, how can people even compete anymore? Are we all doomed? Has AI taken away the need for human creativity?

AI has Not Taken Away The Need for Human Creativity

It hasn’t. It’s become a great tool; I mean, the last story I gave you? It was still all from the original image, it just allowed me to use the image despite the fact it wasn’t a large or wide enough image. Too much reliance on AI honestly risks losing creative spark, which will make everything into one giant soulless-looking stock photo when the whole point is to look unique.

As I said before, we need real photography before anything else because with all of these AI images comes the question of what’s real anymore. It’s honestly a little spooky how real AI images look, and with all of that, people have been absolutely craving authenticity. If you have original photos, though, it will allow people to see the real you and the realness of your products and will make you authentic.

It’s like I said in the past, we use stock photos if we don’t have enough of the real deal, and well, that’s now been the case with AI. We’ll use AI images if you don’t have enough real photos, and we can also even use AI to help use your images if they aren’t optimized properly. Which, you can argue, is AI’s way of helping you be more authentic.

Ah yes, double-edged swords, they really are food for thought.

Food For Thought

The integration of AI-generated images into web design is not just a trend; it’s a visual renaissance. Designers now have a powerful ally that offers efficiency, customization, and elevated images. As we ride this wave of change, designers must navigate between leveraging AI’s capabilities and preserving the essence of human creativity, and looking awesome while doing it!

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