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The Creative Touch: Human vs. AI

As AI booms, be on the lookout for these human-powered trends

As the old cliché goes, “the only constant is change.” CEOs and business leaders who prioritize change and develop a long-term strategy might just have the advantage. According to a PwC survey, 45% of global CEOs believe they must lean in to change and adapt to remain viable.

Creatives tend to embrace change better than most. This is because we’re hardwired to be curious most of the time, and curiosity is often a notable catalyst for change. It’s how we remain relevant and tap into what makes an audience buy in to a product or service. And when it comes to current disruptors, artificial intelligence isn’t just change; it’s a revolution.

Even as creatives use AI to stimulate — not stifle — creativity, a countertrend is developing: handmade creation exclusive to human work. This is no surprise to most industry insiders. Themed nostalgia and old-school fashion have continued to increase revenues over the past several years. We may be full speed ahead, culturally speaking, into a brave new world, but our hearts and minds are still focused on the rearview mirror.

Here are three inspiring ways this human-made trend is defining brands in 2024:

Custom illustrations. Think “The New Yorker” magazine with its famous illustrations. You will now see more brands pushing tailor-made illustrations to convey their unique personalities. A bespoke aesthetic is refreshing and can be tailored to any channel – adding a touch of human personality to brands that is memorable and relatable.

Expressive typography. The future of typography has no hard or fast rules – in fact, we are living in a typographic era where new applications are igniting a “break the rules” mentality. Designers are using fonts in combination or overlaying hand-drawn type onto bold graphics. Consider David Carson’s new collection for Stussy dropping this month: It expresses unconventional in all the right ways. Additionally, the futuristic realm of typographic artistry through variable fonts is reshaping digital type design in new and exciting ways that are tailored to brands. For those who want to stand out from the crowd, this is your year to use custom type on your terms.

Environment forward. This year, more than ever, consumers are scrutinizing brands through an environmental lens. Minimizing environmental impacts in marketing and advertising through a holistic approach will be the name of the game. Some brands are approaching this by advertising and designing products specifically for reuse, a global trend to end plastic pollution and be a part of the solution. They are also reducing unnecessary waste by rethinking traditional mailouts and tchotchke gifts and moving toward giveaways that are environmentally friendly, whether that is biodegradable packaging or experiences in lieu of single-use items.

Our cultural fascination with AI isn’t going away, and its possibilities and pitfalls will continue to be evaluated in the workplace. Organizations that continue to prioritize human ingenuity equally to AI will have the advantage.

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