Russia’s largest design company has some of the best designers in the country. Eerily enough, not all of them are human.
At Art. Lebedev Studio, a certain Nikolay Ironov has been diligently working on a host of commercial projects for over a year, creating everything from beer bottle labels to startup logos. In every sense, he definitely appears to be among the most productive employees at the company. The catch? Ironov is an AI system.
The best part is that the clients had no idea that their projects were being completed by a software didn’t breathe. They simply loved the quality of the work they got and were grateful for the services of this “human” employee.
“Many of our clients were extremely happy with all this buzz in the media around the project… But what is even more interesting, is that many of them were happy with the result before they knew about Nikolay,” Sergey Kulinkovich, the studio’s art director, said in an interview.
So how was Ironov able to flawlessly replicate the performance of excellent designers? Art. Lebedev designed the system to cover every stage of the design process, from understanding the context and background to creating the final product and exporting various files for media use.
Trained on a massive hand-drawn dataset of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) icons based on different themes, Ironov is able to analyze a prompt provided to it by a client, and handpick words from it to convert them into images for a nice little logo. The results are further improved by passing them through a host of algorithms that scale, smooth, simplify, and generate different color schemes and fonts. The final output is a dizzying array of logo options that the client can happily choose from.
In a sense, Ironov is simply the encapsulation of the entire design process in a single system.
“Basically, Nikolay Ironov’s brain is a combination of different design automation systems that serve different stages of the design process,” said Kulinkovich. “And all these systems combined together provide users with the experience of instantly converting a client’s text brief into a corporate identity design pack archive. Within seconds.”