Don’t make the mistake of thinking that generative AI’s impact on design is about image services (such as DALL·E 2, Firefly, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion). Sure, those are fascinating and relevant, but they’re not the main event. Images have always been just the visible tip of the design iceberg.

Generative AI will change design in major ways over time — it will:

  • Help conceive experiences ranging from entire products to microinteractions.
  • Transform how user researchers conduct design research.
  • Make new design assets and produce critiques or variants of existing ones.
  • Become embedded in design technology providers’ tools for digital product teams.

And today, already, generative AI can help design teams with:

  • Clustering concepts from ideation sessions.
  • Summarizing findings from research studies.
  • Hatching ideas for inspiration or to overcome blank page syndrome.
  • Eliminating tedious writing tasks such as generating utterances for chatbot training.
  • Generating images ranging from illustrative to photorealistic.

It’s too early in the development of generative AI for most digital product design teams to bet the farm on it — but it’s also risky to remain on the sidelines with a wait-and-see attitude, because of how transformative it will be.

If you’d like to get going with applying generative AI to design, I think you’ll be interested in my new report, Generative AI: What It Means For Design, in which I: 1) explain each of the nine opportunities above; 2) recommend four steps for getting started with generative AI now; and 3) provide guidance about how to steer clear of seven risky pitfalls.

If you’re a Forrester client and would like to ask me a question about generative AI and design, you can set up a conversation with me. If your company has expertise to share on these topics, feel free to submit a briefing request. You can also follow or connect with me on LinkedIn if you’d like.