Design and artificial intelligence – design diary

Machine intelligent systems are no longer science fiction. AI-assisted design is now widespread. AI image generators such as Midjourney or Dall-E are enjoying increasing popularity. Algorithms are taking over more and more design tasks. The authors of the book “Design and Artificial Intelligence”, Marc Engenhart and Sebastian Löwe, believe that what has been missing so far is a systematic overview for creative people of how artificial intelligence can be understood and used. #lottery

The vast collection of processes and systems summarized under the keyword artificial intelligence promises an evolutionary leap in the world of work. The design is no exception. Artificial intelligence not only optimizes design, it also expands the skills of creative people. It can be used to find design solutions that were previously unthinkable.

According to the two authors, the artificial intelligence (AI) applications that emerged in this way are offset by a gap in the theoretical reflection of intelligent design. In their just-published book “Design and Artificial Intelligence”, Marc Engenhart and Sebastian Löwe show how designers’ task, role and understanding expand when the machine takes over design decisions, when the concept and practice of what is essentially called creativity is modulated.

To exploit the potential of these new intelligent processes and create new user-centered applications, creative people need orientation. So far, however, there has been no systematic overview for creative people of how artificial intelligence can be understood and used. There are no fundamental considerations of how artificial intelligence can be used as a tool for design, nor how it functions as design material.

The publication “Design and artificial intelligence”. Theoretical and practical fundamentals of design with machine learning systems”, which was published by the traditional Swiss design publisher Birkhäuser.

Authors Marc Engenhart and Sebastian Löwe explain in an understandable and comprehensible way what lies behind the dazzling buzzword artificial intelligence. They provide insight into the wide range of possible applications and potentials of intelligent systems. For the first time in German-language literature, interdisciplinary orders are developed for intelligent systems as design tools and design materials.

About the authors

Marc Engenhart is a communication designer, leads Engenhart ° Design Studio and lectures in human-machine interaction, communication design and interaction design.
dr Sebastian Löwe is a professor of design management and an expert in design and innovation issues.
Both are founders of the conference “Designing With Artificial
Intelligence (dai)”.

Basic information about the book

  • Title: Design and artificial intelligence – Theoretical and practical basis in design with machine learning systems
  • Publisher: Birkhauser
  • Authors: Marc Engenhart, Sebastian Löwe
  • Release year: 2022
  • 208 pages, soft cover, | also available as an e-book
  • ISBN-10: 3035625549
  • Price: 54.00 euros
  • The book can be ordered via degruyter
  • Website for the book:

My personal impression

In a nutshell: well-reasoned, analytical, far-reaching and provided with many interesting cross-references and contexts of application, classifying, structured – altogether enriching.

“Design and Artificial Intelligence” is anything but a manual / guide for operating AI image generators. The currently popular AI engine Midjourney is not even mentioned in the book, which I find surprising. Rather, the book offers, aptly phrased in the title, theoretical and practical fundamentals of designing with machine learning systems. If you want to understand how such an AI engine works, what system design using “artificial intelligence” is based on, and what practical benefits AI-based design provides, you will find answers in the book.

In my opinion, not all questions will be answered. Legal aspects, for example, are only dealt with in a small section. It is possible that the AI/design field is still too young to provide definitive answers to all property/copyright questions.

The writing style is factual, scientific – I find it sober and distanced (“The aim of the chapter…”). Reading through models, filters, target values, vectors, inputs, outputs, parameters, formulas, signals and feedback loops requires a willingness to delve deeper into the matrix. Mathematics is in so many things and areas of life, including design. If future designers learn, for example, the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence during their studies, then it is only logical that they also understand how algorithms can be used to support design. Trained creative professionals may also feel addressed.

The design process illustrated in the book in terms of a linear string (research > brainstorming > exploration > conception > implementation) should actually be seen as a very simplified schematic representation. On the one hand, I miss the term “creation” here. On the other hand, the order seems questionable to me. After that before creationas Katrin Niesen has worked well in her book “Design Projects Shape”, is the substantive discussion. Just the conception. Conceptual creation can be fun. Targeted, in terms of order fulfillment, this is certainly less. Apart from that: in times of agile working methods, clearly separated areas have until now been blurred. Basically, there is no longer a linear design process. At the same time, the book also deals with changing framework conditions, challenges and tasks that creative professionals and designers are confronted with during the spread of AI technology. And this is where understanding what an AI can do is quite useful. And what not. Possibly not yet.

Last but not least: I would have liked a harder/stronger cover better than the thin soft cover. Apart from that, the design of the book is top notch as it concentrates on the essentials.


A free copy awaits dt readers (my review copy). If you would like to win the book, please leave a comment by November 14 at 22:00, enriched with interesting examples or applications in AI-based design.

Another tip: All dt readers can participate in the draw. dt readers with a membership who post a comment here have three times the chance to win.

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