We’ve seen advances in technology influence changes in the retail space, from the emergence of e-commerce and omnichannel marketing to AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality).
Now, we have a new player in the tech game and its impact on retail is still in the air.
In this blog post, we share AI-generated retail display concepts and explore the question, will AI eliminate the need for retail designers?
AI (artificial intelligence) is here and we’re just seeing glimpses of its capabilities. From passing exams to creating art and music, AI has shown us that the future is closer than we think and we need to prepare for it. While it can enhance our lives and make many tasks easier for us, it seems like it still has a ways to go in a number of areas.
There are a number of websites now that actually offer the ability for AI to produce designs for almost anything you can imagine.
Using a popular AI art generator site, Midjourney, we asked it to create a few retail displays based on a few criteria and it gives us some rather interesting results.
First prompt: ‘a luxury point of purchase display for a bathroom faucet company’, here is what we get:
2nd prompt: ‘a retail display that fits on a shelf, sitting a modern showroom’
Finally, ‘a modern point of purchase display for a bathroom faucet company, in a showroom’.
It’s almost mind-boggling to see how quickly these sites can search for related images and create something that might possibly be what you’re looking for. However, we are seeing that there is still a long way to go before these AI systems can create something usable.
The biggest benefit of such a tool for a designer is idea starting. The AI pulls together popular images (in some cases from copywritten images) to give you a rough idea of an aesthetic. The images show colors, shapes, and finishes that you might want to explore. In many cases, the forms themselves are a bit alien (to say the least) to displays, but in many ways that is a good thing. There is an old trick in design where they say if the designs in your sketches are seeming stale, turn them upside down! Certainly the results of something like Midjourney do a similar thing by utilizing a ‘mind’ unencumbered by preconceived ideas of what a display is.
Of course, the pitfalls are just as obvious. Take one look at those ‘faucets’ and you’ll see what we mean. As interesting as they are to look at, they’re certainly are not functional.
Also, essentially any display project request involves many, many different things from retailer requirements, product capacity, budget constraints, and graphic needs. Generating a shape and look is fine, but all of these other factors in an RFP ultimately affect the overall design. Retail Designers take a holistic approach from the start since trying to go back and make a concept sketch into something workable usually isn’t a good path to take.
As with any new technology, there are positives and negatives, and certainly a lot of teething issues. Still, we know that AI will do nothing but improve in the coming years, and we welcome seeing what kind of results they can produce.
Will AI eliminate the need for retail designers?
No… at least not yet.
Just like 3D modeling and rendering tools eliminated the need for marker renderings and sped up the ideation process, AI is a tool for enhancing the concept stage in the process. It will generate concepts quickly but it will also rely on effective design prompts.
The better question is, how will retail designer’s roles evolve to adapt to Artificial Intelligence?
For now, however, if you’re looking for a functional retail display or environment that fits your needs, you are going to need to employ the services of an experienced design team backed by solid product development and production capabilities, not unlike Benchmarc! Go ahead, type up your display parameters and send them to us.
What are your thoughts?
Reach out to us if you’re interested in learning more about refreshing your display program at:
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