AI art generation is more than the few deepfakes that make the news from time to time. Loved by artist communities collaborating in Discord channels, prompts fly in and incredible images come out, defying everything from the laws of physics to the limits of human imagination.
While there are still some rough edges to work out—don't look at human hands if you want to sleep at night—it's already possible to create high-quality images from these models, which means they're definitely ready to add value to your work. If you've been wondering how to use AI image generators in your daily operations, I've put together a list of starting points to help you explore.
Can you benefit from using AI image generation?
If you browse stock image libraries frequently, can work with Canva with your eyes closed, or know the difference between JPG and PNG, I'm sure you're using a lot of images for work. And with AI in the mix, it's a good time to familiarize yourself with AI image generation.
AI image generation has similar advantages to AI text generation: you can use it as inspiration, have it create a first draft, or even prompt your way to a final result.
Instead of writing a detailed description of how a room should be decorated or how a product will look, you can turn to image generation to anchor the imagination of your readers immediately. This can serve as the starting point for discussion and as a base to start executing.
Here's a short list of people that stand to benefit the most from AI image generation in their roles at work:
Content marketers. Content marketing relies a lot on visuals. You can save time in communicating ideas to designers, quickly plug gaps in your content, or generate images with a unique look and feel to grab the attention of your audience.
Graphic designers. While you're already a pro in turning concepts into visuals, AI image generation can serve as a first draft, offer inspiration, and open the opportunity for montages or collages, adding new references and aesthetics to your work.
Product designers. There's a lot of planning before products actually hit the market. Image generation can help you discuss and explore new possibilities with your team. Having a collection of images may also ensure easier buy-in from other people involved in the decision-making process.
Architects. Forget function for a bit, and dive into aesthetics. AI image generation doesn't care about the laws of physics, room layouts, or project constraints. You can use it to gain inspiration, study implementation options on the site location, and explore moods and atmospheres.
Decorators. You can use these tools to play with colors, shapes, and objects, among many other options. A bit like architects, you can ideate a range of moods and atmospheres and explore how these can be implemented in real space.
Writers. Get out of text mode, and engage other parts of your brain. Type a prompt into an AI image generator to flesh out characters, settings, or abstract ideas, and work from that base to create more vivid descriptions, enrich your imagination, and get clear on story elements if you're writing fiction.
10 ways to use AI image generation for work
1. Create blog hero images
Tired of diving into stock image libraries? Reusing your go-to template too much? Shake it up by using AI image generation. Instead of having to look for images that loosely fit what you're writing about, you can laser focus on the article's topic. The results may be more unique and surprising, depending on how deep you go when prompting.
You can even automate the process of blog hero image generation: here's how to generate blog images with DALL·E and Zapier.
2. Get logo inspiration
The first two things we think about when spinning up a new brand are the name and the logo. Visual identity is important, so it's nice to have a way to explore it before talking with designers. You can use AI image generation for logo inspiration, or even to find the first version of your logo.
DALL·E 2, an AI image generation model, offers good results when producing logos, providing a great base to work from. To automate the process of logo inspiration, take a look at how to create logos with DALL·E and Zapier.
3. Create social media posts
Standing out in social media feeds is a challenge: you need to stop that scroll for a bit. Images are a great way to do this, especially if you manage to create something unexpected and original with AI. You'll be able to freshen up the aesthetics of your feed, incentivizing people to stop and see what your post is about.
If you also need to write a post caption and don't know where to start, I put together a workflow for how to create a social media post with AI for free. You can also check out how to automatically write social media posts with AI and Zapier.
4. Build instant presentations
Slide decks are great to support a presentation, but putting them together can take a lot of time, especially if you want the visuals to have a unique identity. While you can use AI image generation to tackle each image you're using for each slide, there are also solutions that include text and image generation to create the whole thing with just a few prompts.
There are a few apps here that can help. I mentioned Beautiful.ai as one of the best AI productivity tools, or you can also see how to speed up the production of images for presentations on Canva. Then take a look at Zapier's picks for the best presentation apps, some of which include AI image generation.
5. Brainstorm new products
They say an image is worth a thousand words. So instead of writing a novel to describe the look of a new product, why not generate a collection of mockups to explore possibilities? This can help your team reduce the level of abstraction and start focusing on user experience, aesthetics, and features sooner. As you pass the designs to other teams, stakeholders can also provide clearer input on challenges and opportunities, speeding up development.
There are a collection of apps and models that you can work with here. In addition to all the image generation apps out there, you might also try Vizcom to turn hand-drawn sketches into 3D renderings.
6. Create a storyboard for a video
Filmmakers use a range of techniques to build storyboards and mood boards to convey the intended aesthetic of the production. I've seen storyboards drawn by hand (with varying levels of detail and depth), a set of frames from reference movies, and even 3D renditions of the key scenes.
Using AI generation here helps focus the team on what the end result should look like, while also improving the likelihood of getting buy-in from investors and supporters. It can also serve as an inspiration for your team as they reproduce the look and feel of the generated images either during production or post-production stages.
7. Brainstorm decorations and scenery
Need to refresh the layout and decoration of any space? You can do it outside of your mind now, too. Use AI image generation to switch things up, either for rooms in your house, a section of your shop, or scenery for an event.
There are a few apps you can try here: RoomsGPT for starting from a photo or Planner5D to turn 2D floorplans into editable 3D models.
8. Generate visual designs for websites and mobile apps
There are plenty of icons and image libraries out there to help fill out the visual elements of your websites and apps. If you're tired of the ones you've been using—or need a one-time unique design that you can't find anywhere else—AI image generation may be the most fitting solution. It can help spin up new icons for a pricing page or refresh the features section, for example.
Take a look at Appicons AI to spice up your icon collection and Illustroke for vector illustrations. And check out Adobe Firefly, which is geared toward designers.
9. Put together a mood board
For some projects, the best place to start is with the overall look and feel, especially if you want to unlock the creativity of everyone involved. As you put together a mood board with photos or other existing images, you can use AI image generation to plug in the gaps, combine ideas, and tease the imagination of others.
10. Offer personalized image content
What if you could have a way of using your customer data to generate images that you know they'll like? If you have access to that data, you can set up automated ways to generate those images and then include them in your marketing channels, having them appear whenever users are logged in or reading your newsletter.
Personalization goes a long way in increasing engagement, so this could be the beginning of a tighter relationship between you and your audience.
How do you use AI image generation for work?
I just grazed the surface of everything that's possible here. Image generation is growing fast as new AI models and apps are launched, so their ChatGPT moment may be close by. Right now, consider it a low-effort way of finding inspiration and communicating visual ideas to others.