A picture is worth 1,000 words. And today, it takes far fewer than 1,000 words to generate amazing graphics for your association. Traditionally, associations have relied on creatives and illustrators to generate content for things like social media graphics and ad materials. Now, through AI image generation software, organizations can take more control over these efforts and tap into an unlimited source of creativity – your own staff and members.
But what is AI image generation? How do you get workable graphics? And what tools should you be experimenting with? In our post, we’ll dive into everything associations need to know and share helpful advice to get you started!
AI image generation is a powerful tool for associations to create unique visuals. By leveraging the power of artificial intelligence algorithms, associations can generate realistic and highly detailed images that capture attention and elevate their message.
At its core, AI image generation involves the use of generative models trained on large datasets of existing images. The models are then used to create new images from scratch, resulting in unique and original content – without any manual effort required.
Many AI image generators work off something known as generative adversarial networks (GANs). These networks create a feedback loop between two processes – one known as the “generator,” which is tasked with creating original artwork, and the other the “discriminator,” tasked with comparing that unique output against existing data.
So, say you prompt an AI image generator to create artwork inspired by Picasso. The creator initially builds something akin to scribbles or randomly thrown colors on a canvas. The discriminator's job is to tell if the painting is a 'real' masterpiece or just a poor imitation based on its preexisting knowledge – I.e., real Picasso paintings.
The discriminator gives the creator hints on how to improve the work, and the process repeats. Eventually, you’re provided with original art based on the prompt, checked against the AI’s existing knowledge, which is deemed to be “unique and original.”
While many models are based on GANs, there are also newer innovations, such as diffusion models, which are gaining popularity. Instead of depending entirely on creating art based on preexisting inputs, diffusion models are trained on millions of images. These images (combined with text captions), help the model “understand” both descriptions, but also conceptual information.
When it’s prompted, these models create entirely unique art based on their understanding of the words you provide. “That means that if you ask them to generate an image of a dog, they won't just find an image of a dog and then add some details to it. They'll create the image of a dog from scratch, based on their understanding of what a dog is.”
For associations, AI image generators can provide a lot of value, particularly when trying to personalize experiences for members. Some of the opportunities include:
Now that we know how associations can use AI image generation, why should they do it in the first place? Outside of gaining access to unique and creative graphics, this process can have plenty of added perks, including:
Now, it’s time for the best part of any journey into the world of artificial intelligence – experimentation! While there are plenty of different tools out there – just try searching for “AI image generator” – here are a few that work as a starting point.
Of course, all AI image generators are different, and you’ll likely find one that fits your needs and prompting style. For example, my go-to (and the tool used to create the image for this blog) is Midjourney. However, all our suggested tools can work as a jumping-off point for your needs. And remember, there are plenty of other tools out there that can even help come up with a prompt!
In-Person Conference Graphics: "Generate a vibrant and professional conference banner for our '2023 Global Sustainability Summit'. The banner should include the title of the conference, the date (June 1-3, 2023), and our association's logo. The design should incorporate elements related to sustainability like trees, a globe, and recycling symbols. The primary colors should be green and blue, aligning with our association's commitment to environmental preservation." (Made with DreamStudio)
Fundraising Event Graphics: "Generate an emotionally engaging image for our 'Hope for Children' fundraising event. The image should depict a hopeful, positive future for children, and should resonate with our audience's desire to contribute to this cause. The primary colors should be warm and inviting, such as soft yellows and bright oranges." (Made with Midjourney)
Blog Post Graphics: "Create a visually engaging featured image for our blog post titled 'The Future of Renewable Energy'. The image should represent a positive, futuristic view of renewable energy sources like solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams. Please use a bright, optimistic color palette to convey the promise of renewable energy." (Made with Stable Diffusion)
Ultimately, leveraging the capabilities of AI image-generation tools offers associations an excellent opportunity to save both time and money without skimping on creativity. Whether you’re using it for social media graphics, building that ad campaign for your next annual conference or creating data-driven infographics, there’s likely an AI tool for it.
All it takes is understanding how it works and experimenting with some of the available tools out there. And remember, if your output looks a little wonky, try adding detail to your prompt. At a bare minimum, these tools can work as an effective starting point for your team and open the door to possibilities for your association.
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Jose Triana joined the Sidecar team as the Content Manager in 2021. He is a writer and creative focused on helping purpose-driven organizations learn and find value online. When he isn't working on content, you can catch him going for a run or resting with a good book.
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