trade tales | Apr 12, 2024 |
Are you using AI?

Artificial intelligence is taking over the world—and infiltrating the industry, as more and more designers implement new technologies in their projects and businesses. In this installment of Trade Tales, we asked 10 designers—Jodi Berger, Shelley Cekirge, Renee DiSanto, Lisette Fernandez-Hilson, Chelsea Lembi Murawski, Cheryl Luckett, Corine Maggio, Karen Post, Christina Samatas and Rachael Stollar—if their firm is using AI tools.

Are you using AI?
Lisette Fernandez-Hilson and Chelsea Lembi MurawskiCourtesy of Together Home

Easy Edits
“We’ve been dipping our toe into AI with apps like Canva and Midjourney via Discord. We’ve been using it mostly to edit the color and texture of things like tile, walls and furnishings in client presentations and during our inspiration and design process.” —Lisette Fernandez-Hilson and Chelsea Lembi Murawski, Together Home, San Anselmo, California

Are you using AI?
Cheryl Luckett.Courtesy of Cheryl Luckett

“My team and I have embraced AI as a valuable tool in our day-to-day operations. Currently, most of our use of AI centers around drafting communication. For instance, when it comes to [staff] performance appraisals, ChatGPT helps in creating more insightful and comprehensive written evaluations. It has helped ensure that our team members receive constructive criticism and recognition tailored to their strengths and areas for improvement. More regularly, AI serves as a valuable resource for sparking inspiration in content creation. Whether we’re crafting social media copy or blog posts, AI-generated suggestions help us develop fresh ideas and engage our audience more effectively. We’ve also used AI in fine-tuning written communication with clients, ensuring clarity, professionalism and accuracy. It’s been extremely helpful in refining language and tone, which helps us maintain strong relationships and provide excellent service. When it comes to assignments such as videos, media appearances and speaking events, I’ve utilized AI as a time-saving tool for generating draft scripts that help capture the essence of my message thoroughly and succinctly. AI is quickly becoming an indispensable asset that helps us save time and allows us time to focus more on what we love: design.” Cheryl Luckett, Dwell by Cheryl Interiors, Charlotte, North Carolina

Are you using AI?
Shelley CekirgeCourtesy of Shelley Cekirge Interiors

Realistic Renderings
“AI has made my job infinitely easier and so much more fun. At heart, I am a computer nerd, and I love to create renderings that show the clients how the elements we select will look in their home. If we need a really photorealistic 3D rendering, I outsource it so the clients can have a very clear idea of the direction the house is going. As a designer, the way a room will look is always clear in my own head, but being able to show the clients a rendering ensures that it is clear for them too. The best part is that no matter how great the rendering, the space is always so much more incredible in real life. People are blown away when they walk in and see it all brought together, and even more stunning than they had imagined it would be.” —Shelley Cekirge, Shelley Cekirge Interiors, Tenafly, New Jersey

Are you using AI?
Rachael StollarCourtesy of Studio SFW

A Phone Call Away
“We actually have limited use for AI other than some fun graphics we’ve done for flyers using Adobe’s AI beta. Most of our fabricators and contacts are people we’ve known for years, and they also have small practices, so picking up the phone is still the best way to communicate. We do tend to use talk-to-text a lot! Does that count?” —Rachael Stollar, Studio SFW, New York

Are you using AI?
Karen PostCourtesy of Home Frosting

Writing Tutor
“I’ve dabbled with ChatGPT as a framework for blog posts to embellish [manually] with our brand story and facts. It makes the process a lot more efficient and allows me to easily store my past research. I’ve found it’s no replacement for a copywriter, but it definitely gets the project started.” —Karen Post, Home Frosting, Tampa, Florida

Are you using AI?
Corine MaggioCourtesy of CM Natural Designs

Changing Times
“We have not [incorporated AI into our business], but the topic is buzzing with my peers. Things are changing so fast with AI, but most systems are not quite adequate [for the level of work we do], and it can be hard to know where to put the time and energy since the latest tool may be outdated or improved upon in a year or two. The best thing to do is to keep a finger on the pulse. But that can be incredibly challenging when you have all of the other factors of being a designer and running a business—especially when your current system is working for you! It can be hard to commit the time to learn and potentially adjust.” —Corine Maggio, CM Natural Designs, Mill Valley, California

Are you using AI?
Jodi BergerCourtesy of JLA Designs

Beta Testing
“We use the Photoshop AI tool now for editing renderings, and have tried SketchUp’s beta AI renderer, but it’s not where we need it to be yet. I’ve also used SU Podium, the photoreal rendering software. It’s definitely something we’ve been thinking about as well and has a lot of great options.” —Jodi Berger, JLA Designs, Potomac, Maryland

Are you using AI?
Renee DiSanto and Christina SamatasCourtesy of Park & Oak

The Human Touch
“We’ve started talking about [using AI] more as a team and monitoring how it’s being used in the design space. We know it’s something as a firm that we will eventually integrate—what that will look like is hard to tell, as we believe the human touch is always going to be necessary. We appreciate the value AI brings and could see it being beneficial in the future to convey our designs in a more efficient manner, as long as it feels authentic to our voice and style.” —Renee DiSanto and Christina Samatas, Park & Oak, Glen Ellyn, Illinois

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