Dr. Creativelove: How I stopped worrying and love AI


In pretty much every way, the creative AI boom is here. AI solutions claiming to solve creative problems are popping up like mushrooms in recent years. On the other side, businesses, whether they need it (or even understand it) or not, must have AI! Now, before taking up any more of your time with this article, I’d like to give you the customary TLDR.


In this article, we’ll be talking about:

  • E-commerce creative direction and its impact on engagement performance

  • AI powered creative solutions that claim to make original creatives

    • Basic overview of the technology

    • Creative AI samples from Adobe

  • AI solutions that can actually bring efficiency to creative ops

    • Samples from Photoshop

      • One-click background removal

      • Background extension

  • The designer’s future in the e-commerce industry

    • Much of e-commerce creative work is linear and repetitive

    • Expanded skillsets will save designers

  • Does the designer need to worry about AI taking their job?

    • A little, and that’s good!

E-commerce creativity & performance

In the initial days of dipp, when we wanted to prove the designer’s worth, one of the services we offered was campaign creative analysis. We would first take a brand’s creative assets for a given campaign and its corresponding performance data, we’d then draw boxes on these creatives to tag them with elements like brand logo, headline, CTA, primary product image, etc. and then do correlational analysis to click-through-rate. Our aim was to find patterns between design decisions and performance. In other words, do visual decisions like logo placement or product image size have any impact on CTR? And to the disappointment of everyone involved, the short and long answer is no. But allow me to elaborate just a little.

In addition to the visual tags, we also considered ad spend as a factor in this analysis. Now I’m not a data scientist so I don’t know when correlation can be classified as causation, but the one factor that had the highest correlation to CTR (above to 96%) was ad spend. If one were to zoom into the few left-over percentages, one may find some correlation between targeting settings and CTR. And if one were to do a designer squint test, then one may find some loose correlations between the gender of spokesperson in the creative and CTR, or a creative’s dominant color and CTR. Ultimately, this exercise proved to be fruitless, since over 96% of the correlation is very much tied to money spent on each creative.

I must remind our readers, this story above should not in any way infer that branding, creative strategy along with strong and clear messaging make a negligible difference. What I’d like to point out here is that only after your brand has established a strong brand language and positioned itself on the market, the day-to-day promotions and product launches highly depend on how much money a brand spends promoting such initiatives.


Back in college, I took a corporate identity class at Chermayeff & Geismar studios taught by Sagi, Ivan and Tom. The one question that kept coming up during critiques and discussions was “How do you make a logo as recognizable as Coca Cola’s logo?”

And the answer was always: “Either spend billions of dollars or 100 years on marketing that logo”

Lesson being, no matter which direction you go when marketing your brand, brand consistency is a core concept when developing a strong and recognizable brand.


So called ‘creative AI solutions’

These days, the web is very much inundated with photo-realistic images and video footage that claim to have been produced using only prompts (detailed descriptions of the desired visual). At first glance, the results are absolutely incredible! However, upon closer examination, underneath all this magic we realize the computer is merely rearranging pixels of images it has seen before (millions of such images, that are called training data) into patterns described by user’s prompts. While I realize this is very simplified explanation, but at its core this is basically how it works. 

Naturally then, if we ask a AI bot to create a logo for a car brand called "Dog", the best it will do is take pixels of other logos it has seen that feature animals and rearrange them to match the prompts we input.


To my eyes, here, it's combining Lamborghini colors and Jaguar badge styling to make Dog badge.






Let’s distinguish human from computer.

At its core, the computer functions on a very basic “on” or “off” logic. Human decision making process is far more complex, and has yet to be boiled down to something as simple as a “true” or “false” logic.


So then, we can’t possibly expect something as primitive as a true or false machine to create something that encapsulates non-pixel materials like culture, aesthetics, vision and everything else that goes into developing a brand. I’ll go even further and say that it is mathematically impossible for a computer to create anything truly iconic. Because for a computer to create something iconic, it must be trained using iconic material. And there is simply not enough iconic material in this world to be used as training data.

From the perspective of creating brand icons that embody culture, aesthetics and vision, the human designer is the only option for creating such solutions. However, when it comes to repetitive, assembly line type of work, like creating e-commerce visuals, AI definitely has its claim.

The e-commerce creatives

Let’s talk about repetitive and assembly-line-type tasks like swapping content in pre-designed layouts to create product visuals. Assembly line automations are the perfect solution for such cases. Sprinkle an AI enhancement here and there, and we’ll clearly see the value of AI. When I say sprinkle, I mean delegating monotonous and highly repetitive tasks like the following to AI:

Background removal via object detection


Extend backgrounds


Original image


Background extended & it even added a perfectly attractive leg!


And on top of all that, there are platforms that are specifically designed for bulk edit and replace content operations. All of these features and functions combined, greatly reduce the amount of time spent on the repetitive tasks mentioned above. The e-commerce designer is able to produce faster, create more and make changes quicker. And this is where things get interesting, the e-commerce designer is now under pressure to produce more, faster and cheaper. In other words, the e-commerce designer must now take on a wider range of responsibilities.  

The designer’s future

Technological innovations have, and always will, have a disruptive effects on its environments. This, in part, explains the layoff tsunamis that have been taking place over the past few years. A certain amount of chaos must follow disruptions in order for new approaches and principles to come to light.

Historically, the design industry hasn’t been subject of intense disruptions like the tech industry has, where engineers must habitually expand skillsets or … retire. These days, and on a much smaller scale, the design industry is experiencing some disruptions, all of which should force designers to expand skill sets and context in which they are operating. Whether it’s business acumen or process management or conceptual literacy, the designer must also habitually expand skillsets or … retire.

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