Is it a Good Idea to Print AI-Generated Art?

There’s been an explosion in AI art generation platforms in the past year, many of which have garnered quite a bit of attention from the masses and media for better or worse. MidJourney, Stable Diffusion, Dall-E, and the rocky launch of Google’s Gemini AI art generation platforms enable users to insert prompts and, within a few seconds, receive an output of various graphics which can be used for various purposes.

Is it worth printing AI-generated art into a brochure, on a tee-shirt, or into a poster? What are some important things to know about AI art and printing it onto physical media?

Unique and Creative Inspiration

First and foremost, AI art can greatly expand what the user may perceive as creativity (although it is very much arguable whether or not what language learning models do is “creative” in the first place). For example, imaginative prompts such as “give me a futuristic cityscape with a giant cat” can give you all sorts of outputs that you might anticipate as well as many that you might not.

What this means is that with clever prompt engineering, users can expand their own creativity by discovering artistic styles and designs that they may like, further narrowing down their future prompts to get better and better results beyond what they may have originally wanted.

Low Barrier to Entry for Graphic Design

A major benefit of AI art is that it has essentially democratised graphic design to an extent. For free or for a minimal subscription payment, users can generate AI art quickly and in sometimes large batches without any prior knowledge of graphic design or how to draw at all.

This means that just about anyone can create a prompt and, with enough patience, find a design that might look fantastic enough to warrant publishing or printing.

Copyright and Legal Matters

Although AI art is a relatively new phenomenon, many jurisdictions around the world are already beginning to propose legislation for AI art (and other products and outputs) such as the EU Artificial Intelligence Act. It may come to pass that some legislations such as this would require AI art users to show a disclaimer that the art was indeed generated by AI and not a human.

Moreover, copyright over AI art remains dubious as of early 2024. Some AI art platforms grant users commercial use and copyright over their prompt outputs, for example, but others may not in the future.

Supplement, Don’t Replace Human Labour

As with all early stage adoption AI tools, consider not jumping the gun and completely replacing human labour with these tools. ChatGPT, for example, can be phenomenally useful for many tasks but its output lacks the creativity and “voice” of a human writer. AI art, although often uncanny, also has its problems (six-fingered characters, for example).

Consider AI art platforms as ways of generating creative designs for cheap, but don’t cheap out and hire a real graphic designer for touching up graphics or for taking care of important business logos or branded designs, for example.

Is it Worth Printing AI-Generated Art?

As of early 2024, it can certainly be worth using AI-generated art for digital and printed publications, so long as the user carefully inspects every graphic and touches it up appropriately so that it doesn’t “feel” fake or AI-generated.

Nevertheless, for simple graphics or for personal use such as creating posters for your bedroom or large format prints, AI-art can be truly unique to your preferences and it can definitely be worth it.

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