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The graphic designers guide to making your life better with Chat-GPT

We’ve been a little slow out the gate with our first post about Chat-GPT and the AI (artificial intelligence) behind it. Why? We’ve been too busy playing with Chat-GPT and every day we’re finding new applications that blow us away. This article covers all of the ways AI is changing our lives as designers, writers and marketers here at Rocketspark.

So what is Chat-GPT?

Chat-GPT is a free AI (artificial intelligence) online tool that you can sign up for and use. In some ways it’s like a search engine — there is a text field where you can ask Chat-GPT to do something for you and it will come back with a response.

Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s I remember AI being talked about on the Australian TV show Beyond 2000. Fast-forward nearly 40 years and AI has well and truly arrived as a mainstream tool accessible to anyone. We incorporated the GPT-2 technology into Rocketspark's AI assisted SEO tool Flint in 2021 but the capability of Chat-GPT has gone to a whole new level.

Most of the early articles we’ve seen talk about Chat-GPT for writers and designers are playing on the drama of “is it going to replace me?” future fear-mongering. This article reframes the question to “will other designers live a better life than me this year because they’re leveraging AI to accelerate and streamline their workflow”. They’re riding the AI scooter while you’re walking. You both get to the same destination but they’ll get there faster.

There is a māori proverb that says 'He aha te mea nui tea o? He tangata he tangata, he tangata!' What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people!' It is easy to worry about what the future holds with AI — what does it mean for humans? However, right now Chat-GPT is a free tool that can make life better for the people — especially sole trader graphic designers who are juggling so many different challenges from creativity to admin alone. As a one-person-business, you don’t have a team to spread the load. Could Chat-GPT help take some of the pressure off and help you do more in less time?

Use Chat-GPT to ideate, create and iterate

One critique I’ve heard from the naysayers is that the quality of the writing is bland or middle of the road — factually accurate but lacking personality. This is fair, I don’t think I’ve used any content verbatim that Chat-GPT has given me.

The real power of Chat-GPT is it’s ability to help you ideate, create and iterate. For many people that have tried using Chat-GPT they’re only using it to create content. For example, if I ask Chat-GPT to “write a blog post about the main reasons a small business might be nervous about working with a graphic designer for the first time” it does a pretty decent job of a blog post. However, Chat-GPT is much more than it’s ability to write — you can use it to think, learn and research (but remember it’s data currently only goes up to 2021).

Ideate with Chat-GPT

It’s fun to get Chat-GPT to write content for us. It feels like magic, like the future has arrived. But have you tried getting it to think for you — not just write for you?

  1. Rather than getting it to write a blog post about people being nervous about working with graphic designers for the first time, ask it “What are the main reasons a small business might be nervous about working with a graphic designer for the first time?”.

  2. Point three returned as “Quality: Small businesses may worry that they won't get the quality of design they're looking for, or that the designer won't be able to deliver the results they want.”

  3. I then asked “how can I overcome point 3 with my graphic design business?”

  4. The first suggestion was “Build a strong portfolio: Your portfolio should showcase your best work and demonstrate your skills and experience. Consider including a variety of projects and styles to show your range.”

  5. I said “I'm only new in business and struggling to win projects to add to my portfolio, how can I get my first few projects?”

  6. It came back with some helpful and practical tips for winning your first few projects.

So as you can see, Chat-GPT is like a thinking-assistant as well as a writing-assistant. And it can reference back to earlier parts of the conversation. It’s drawing on its massive wealth of knowledge and data to give an answer that makes the most sense from the data it has at hand.

Chat-GPT isn’t perfect though, so before you blindly follow its advice, remember that you need to discern whether the advice it’s giving makes good sense.

Learn to be the race-car driver of AI operators

Don’t get me wrong, we wholeheartedly believe in the skill that a professional copywriter provides. And the skill that a professional graphic designer provides. But Chat-GPT can help you design the same quality layout or writing in less time.

Anyone can drive a car but in the hands of a race car driver something incredible happens. The outcomes of using Chat-GPT will only be as good as the driver. If you’re a talented copywriter, the results you’ll get with Chat-GPT will be better than an average writer could achieve, because you know the questions to ask it, the adjustments it needs to make.

Create with Chat-GPT

Chat-GPT is like a fast-forward button to your first rough draft of a piece of content. Whether it’s a blog post, health and safety policy, internal company memo, email to a client or a valentines message for that special person in your life 🙂

Just give Chat-GPT a set of instructions and see what it comes back with. Writing is hard, slow work — even for experts. By getting Chat-GPT to do the heavy lifting at the beginning you can spend more time refining and improving.

Another bonus is that it helps you consider all aspects to cover for a piece of content. Something I struggle with writing from scratch is “is there anything I’m forgetting?” Chat GPT covers all likely points and you can refine from there.

You can give it lots of detail and it understands

The more detail you can add into your prompts, the closer you get to the end result with the first attempt. The great thing about Chat-GPT is that you can give it a roughly worded explanation of what you want it to do with lots of detail and it turns that into a well written depiction of what you’ve asked for.

Chat-GPT and creative block

Every good designer struggles with creative block. When you’re looking at that new web design project, struggling for ideas on how to design the top of the page (maybe with an industry you haven’t worked with before), why not ask Chat-GPT?

I could even take that further and ask “With point 1 and 2 how should I do the layout so the text isn't obscuring the image?” One of the suggestions was: “Split Screen: Divide the screen into two halves and place the hero image on one side and the headline on the other side. This creates a visually appealing layout and ensures that the text does not obscure the image. You can also add a CTA button next to the headline.”

Another approach could be to ask what the most common services are for a plumbing website that people are looking for?

Chat-GPT and website redesigns

What about a website redesign project? Copy all of the text from their existing website and put it into Chat-GPT and get it to describe the weaknesses of the website content for a business in the hair and beauty industry. Chat-GPT will itemise the improvements you can make to the website and give you a list of ideas for the new version.

Iterate with Chat-GPT

So how can I take the bland first draft content Chat-GPT gives me and make it feel like it was written by an expert writer? Use Chat-GPT to refine and improve the copy. Get it to inject personality and adapt it to your brand voice/style.

The example below shows the process of creating content for a graphic designer’s website:

And remember, at any point you can copy the text from Chat-GPT and move it into a Google Doc and refine it the old fashioned way. Most content reaches a point where it’s so close that it’s faster just to add the finishing touches yourself.

My favourite prompts:

What is a prompt? A prompt is what you type into the field of Chat-GPT to give it an instruction. You can say whatever you like and it will apply your instruction to the information or the wording it returns. Prompts can also reference earlier parts of the conversation.

The power of AI is in the quality of the prompts you give it to refine what it creates. Don’t just settle for the first result. Be creative about the prompts you use to hone down and get the results you want.

  • Shorten this paragraph.

  • Simplify this text.

  • Rewrite it for the reading age of a 10 or 12 year old (For a non-technical audience this simplifies the technical concepts and terminology into something that’s fast and easy to comprehend — increasing the likelihood that people will keep reading. This kind of rewriting is slow, challenging work.)

  • Make it less formal and like you’re writing to a friend.

  • What colour is this #[hex value]. (This comes up with fancy sounding names for brand colours you set up — thanks Jason Tiller for this one!)

  • Make this easier to read.

  • Write me a heading for this paragraph.

  • Write a paragraph that explains [point 1][point 2][point 3] etc etc.

  • Give me 5 other examples.

  • Write an SEO-friendly….. heading/paragraph/title tag/description tag for a business called [business name] located in [location] in the industry [industry].

  • What are the weaknesses of this website text and how could we improve them: [select all website text]

  • Write an email for….

  • Replace [snippet of text from previous generation] with [some specific text you want included]

  • Rewrite it without the word [word you don’t want].

  • Make it less excitable and a little bit witty.

  • Make it less like a sales pitch.

  • Make it more fun.

And if you combine all of the above, you get something like this 😀 ”Rocketspark keeps your website safe and sound, like a fortress guarding your treasure. So you don't need to worry about bad guys trying to steal your website or your customer's information.”

Will Chat-GPT help you avoid working those late nights this week by speeding up your workflow?

This article wasn’t written with Chat-GPT, but……

I wrote this article the old fashioned way, writing about my experience of using Chat-GPT. However, after completing the article I asked it to have a go. It covered all of the main points that I’ve spoken about. Generating ideas, writing copy, design feedback — but it also added proofreading, to make sure your grammar and spelling is up to scratch.

It was pretty bland and droll in style but if I’d kept refining it with prompts, I would have gotten much closer to the feel of this article (minus my own anecdotal experiences).

The best way to avoid being replaced?
Use AI to make AI better

If you’re not a confident writer, have a go at covering the basic information then ask Chat-GPT to rewrite what you’ve written to be clearer or simpler or easy to read. But remember, if you just take what Chat-GPT gives you in the first instance it might be mediocre or off-brand for your business. Use the techniques from this article to make your AI content better than AI with a little bit of human brain power.

If you’re just scratching the surface with Chat-GPT try and think of new things to ask it to overcome hurdles you’re facing. Or if you haven’t tried Chat-GPT, give it a go!

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