This AI-powered logo design service shows how much we need human designers

This AI-powered logo design service shows how much we need human designers

Developer Jack Qiao has been working with AI a fair bit lately to aid his design projects. He previously built a tool to help pair fonts, and he’s now launched Brandmark, which uses artificial intelligence to create a unique brand identity for your business.

We’re not the sort to take people at their word, so we had Brandmark try redesigning TNW’s logo to see if it was really all that. It works by identifying an icon, font pair and color scheme based on keywords you enter to define what your brand is about.

You can see the results above; below are some other options as well as some mockups of the logo in action:

I showed this to our head of design, Alexander Griffioen. He’s behind our brand identity and site design; we redid our logo last year, and you can read all about the process and thinking here. Griffioen said:

While there’s definitely some clever technology at work in finding an icon relevant to the company name, it raises a question if the icon itself — often used for social avatars, favicons, etc. — isn’t far too generic and iconographic for any kind of branding. The typography could do with a bit more stylistic relevance, too.

However, it’s worth remembering what futurist Ben Hammersley said at TNW’s 2017 Conference: any innovation that sucks today might put you out of business 10 years from now. It’s not a bad idea for designers to explore what risks and opportunities AI provides for their industry.

Our illustrator Ashley Evans, who’s behind the illustrations you see at the top of some of our stories like this and this, was more concise in his response:

As for me, I think that Qiao’s project is first and foremost a nifty use of AI to promote his design service. Visually, the results are unfortunately rather generic and as such, the only way I’d use this or recommend Brandmark is for a personal side-project, experiment or a bootstrapped startup. At $55 for vector assets that you can download and use instantly, this could prove to be a boon for people who need to get something off the ground quickly.

But if you’re serious about developing a powerful brand identity, you’ll want to work closely with a designer to communicate what your business is about and come up with something that’s relevant to your industry and helps you stand out from the competition. Thankfully, that’s not something that an AI can pull off just yet.

Qiao is conscious of this, and says so in his blog post explaining how the AI works to reject commonly used icons, pair fonts and generate color schemes:

Ultimately logo design is a very subjective field where nuance and attention to detail is important.

Convolutional neural nets probably won’t replace designers in the near future, but does open the door to new tools that can democratize the design process and make it a lot more accessible to everyone.

Would you use a Brandmark-designed logo for your project? Let us know in the comments.


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