As a transformative brand in the asset management space, FundGuard strives to innovate and delight in all that we do. This extends to our thought leadership content and related promotions. With Generative AI (GenAI) at the forefront of creative technologies, we thought it would be fun to incorporate AI-generated artwork into the FundGuard experience, and so we’ve collaborated with one of our creative directors, Pat Campagnone, to create an ongoing series of images to complement our blog content. If you’re an avid follower of FundGuard’s LinkedIn feed, then you’ve likely already noticed Pat’s AI-enhanced images.
Generative AI, like the GPT series and similar models, has introduced novel opportunities in the creative process across various domains, from art and music to writing and design. However, we’d be remiss not to consider the concerns associated with their use in the creative space. When approaching Pat with our idea, we did so with sensitivity to these concerns and respect for Pat’s own creative process. The result has been a series of thoughtful, eye-catching visuals that demonstrate the value of GenAI when in the hands of a visionary creative director.
We’ve also had some valuable conversations with Pat about the ethics and viability of GenAI in creative spaces, and recently invited him to participate in a Q&A with our marketing team to share his take on GenAI and how he currently leverages this technology in his creative practice.
Generative AI Through the Lens of an Art Director
FG: Generative AI has been the talk of the town over the last year. With both avid fans and stark opponents of GenAI, it can be hard to pinpoint where public opinion of the technology lands. Can you begin by explaining your own perspective and opinion on GenAI, particularly when it comes to its creative uses?
PC: I am often asked this question, and I have to admit, I’m still working on my answer.
Like many creatives, my opinion of GenAI is nuanced and shifts depending on the circumstance. I believe GenAI has profoundly impacted my industry and many others as well, and I have found the technology useful in certain aspects of my work.
Recently, FundGuard commissioned me to create a variety of AI-generated artworks.
This serves as an excellent example of how GenAI and human artists can work collaboratively rather than in opposition — I, as a creative partner of FundGuard, leveraged GenAI tools to create these artworks that now serve a larger purpose on FundGuard’s platform and social media.
In that vein, I wholeheartedly believe GenAI can be used creatively without diluting the creative approach in general.
While there may not be a definitive time and place for GenAI in the artistic process, it all comes down to artists determining how they want to use the technology to enhance their craft and, perhaps, increase their professional efficiency along the way.
Now, on the other hand, it genuinely is getting easier to produce work faster. With marketing budgets coming under heavy scrutiny, it makes sense that marketers may expect creatives to pick up the pace. Gen AI tools allow artists to increase their creative efficiency and give marketers the advantage of utilizing both human artists and innovative technologies to reach their goals.
I like to think back to other instances of new technology hitting the creative scene.
When Apple’s Mac first hit the market, scores of people thought this new technology would drive graphic designers out of work. Yet, the designers adapted, and now we have legions of digital artists with exceptional skills in both traditional and digital mediums.
I think where we will see the greatest impact of GenAI is in this adaptation. Creative professionals must learn to use GenAI to their advantage rather than allowing it to overrun them entirely.
Who Really Made This? The Ethics Behind Generative AI
FG: The controversy surrounding GenAI is hardly a secret — and it’s not only artists who are concerned. Researchers are exploring the ethics of GenAI applications, like ChatGPT, to determine whether the societal benefits outweigh the ethical pitfalls. For creatives, the primary ethical hurdle comes down to plagiarism. Can you discuss how ethics play into your use of GenAI and how artists can approach the technology responsibly?
PC: GenAI definitely speeds up corporate work and improves the customer experience but when it’s used for creative purposes, you have to ask yourself,
“Did I really make this?”
The answer to this question is complicated and comes down to the tools an artist uses.
Due to the current lack of regulation surrounding GenAI, it’s a bit like the Wild West out there right now. There are a lot of parallels between GenAI and the introduction of Photoshop back in the 90s. Users would create photography pieces and use filters or editing tools to manipulate the photographs.
This was considered majorly controversial at the time, but today, it is a commonplace practice.
I expect a similar chain of events to occur with GenAI programs.
Tools like Midjourney offer powerful creative capabilities, but you must be incredibly mindful of the artwork used to train the AI powering the application. If you use another artist’s work to train an AI program, then the proper level of consent and credit must be present.
It all comes back to finding that balance between human creation and technology. Almost all art today is derivative, but that doesn’t mean you can take another artist’s ideas and claim them as your own by feeding them into a GenAI program to produce something similar.
I think what matters most now is artist integrity. If you use AI in your creative process and the bulk of your artwork is AI-generated, offering full transparency about your use of AI is the ethical approach.
For me personally and the amount of AI I use in my creative process, I still view the pieces as mine.
I’m the human thought behind the computer. I write the creative brief, and my years of experience enable me to write a thoughtful and detailed brief that produces my desired result. And I don’t stop there either — once the AI gives me its ideas, I manipulate and edit those ideas into something wholly original and brand-compliant.
These are all normal steps in the illustrative process — brainstorm, rough draft, edit — GenAI is just a new tool that helps me work more efficiently and expand my creative concepts further.
Without the human creativity to guide the GenAI program, the art wouldn’t fit its purpose.
That’s why so many leaders now think copywriters may start to evolve into editors. AI may be able to produce a near-complete piece of written content, but it still takes a creative writer and editor to make that content brand-specific and engaging.
Overall, I do not view my use of AI as a detriment to my ideas as an art director. By embracing GenAI, my job has ultimately become easier, allowing me to spend more time fine-tuning the details rather than worrying about getting those first rough ideas onto a page.
The Power of GenAI: Is the Technology All It’s Cracked Up To Be?
FG: The current widespread belief is that GenAI is an all-powerful tool for content and artwork generation — but is it as powerful as it seems? Can you discuss how it feels to use GenAI and whether the technology is actually a viable tool?
PC: My first job out of school was as a designer at a marketing agency. The pay was mediocre, but it beat sitting in a classroom all week. I’d spend my days rifling through a stack of images as tall as my desk, looking for that one special image, that one piece that would work in the latest edition.
Then, as I grew from a kid with a passion into a seasoned graphic designer and art director with over thirty years of senior experience, the graphic design world grew, too.
Stacks of images on a desk evolved into a database full of digital pictures on a website — albeit, I still had to rifle through this database, but at least I could see twelve relevant images with a quick scroll.
And then the search bar hit the scene, and let me tell you, that was a dream come true.
Now, in 2023, I can write a prompt into a GenAI program and receive a near-instant result. I don’t have to scroll or rifle, I just have to type to communicate.
With AI, it’s like having a friendly chat with a freelancer sitting right next to me, but the freelancer is a little junior, needs to cut its teeth a little, we can only talk over text, but sometimes it gives me good ideas, something I can run away with, or it creates something that gives me a good starting point, or an angle I hadn’t thought of.
It is a big timesaver, but it does beg the question:
Is AI any good?
GenAI is undoubtedly fast and easy to use if you know how to write an effective prompt.
However, for people without a background in art, writing, or another creative field, coming up with the right prompts to input can be a true challenge. Without the right directions, a GenAI program can produce low-quality content in the same way a non-artist might struggle to complete an oil painting.
When a prompt is too simple or lacks detail, it becomes all the easier to spot AI-generated content.
Personally, I can almost always successfully perceive AI-generated art and it often comes down to the smallest details — a hand with half of a sixth finger, or an outline that doesn’t quite connect.
This all links back to the continued importance of actual human artists in AI processes. There is a certain level of expertise necessary to leverage GenAI tools effectively. The artists who develop their skills to align with new technologies are the ones who will find success in the years to come — not to mention the growing pool of work that results from the ineffective use of AI.
FundGuard is helping the asset management ecosystem to rid itself of burdensome legacy systems and more fully embrace the true potential of the latest and greatest in transformative technology. From cloud-native capabilities to AI and Big Data, the possibilities are endless.
Similarly, our marketing team is always seeking new ways to extend this same spirit of innovation across the complete customer experience, including how we visualize our ideas and share our thought leadership with the industry. We’d love to hear from our fellow FinTech and FinServ marketers on this topic and to exchange ideas for best practices. How are you leveraging Generative AI and other MarTech innovations? If you’d like to brainstorm and engage in joint content, please reach out to our team.
In 2024, we are bringing Pat’s GenAI designs on the road. Visitors to the FundGuard booth across the 2024 conference season will experience our FundGuard GenAI gallery where you can view these digital images at our booth and design your own. We are excited to show off Pat’s FundGuard-commissioned series!