Harnessing AI to Enhance Design Education: A Year of Innovation and Experimentation

This year, we embarked on an exciting journey to leverage AI in our design curriculum, aiming to enhance student creativity and expedite the design process. Collaborating with the exam board, we identified a critical area for improvement in design projects: understanding the target user's needs and wants. Students were encouraged to engage with potential users or clients throughout their projects, from initial research and design to final evaluation and testing.

Through numerous experiments with various AI platforms, we explored how to effectively create mood boards and generate concept ideas. A common challenge we faced was the accessibility of these sites within the school network. To address this, we designed a focused project titled "Target User Needs and Wants from a Product," providing students with a range of AI tools to trial for optimal results.

AI Tools Used:

- Canva

- Adobe Firefly

- CoPilot Designer

Project Overview:

Students worked in pairs, alternating roles as designer and client. As clients, they chose from the following briefs:

- Children’s Bedside Night Light

- Portable Speaker

- Camping Light

Each student immersed themselves in both roles, gathering insights through detailed interviews to inform the initial mood boards. These insights were input into Chat GPT to generate effective prompts for mood board creation. Below is a sample of the moodboards and prompts developed by the students.


AI Mood boards
After creating the mood boards, students revisited their target users to discuss the elements they found appealing. This feedback was again fed into Chat GPT to refine the prompts and generate a range of design ideas tailored to the specific needs and wants of the target users. The results were astounding, with each product uniquely designed to meet the user's requirements. Further refinements were made by tweaking the prompts based on ongoing feedback. 
Concept Designs

Student workflow examples: 

Workflow examples
Workflow examples
  Key Outcomes:

From this brief exercise, students gained invaluable experience working with live clients and rapidly producing relevant products. The workflow developed around using these AI tools will now serve as a foundation for their projects next year. The concepts generated will be the starting point for their design ideas, with the images serving as reference materials for their work. 

The enthusiasm and engagement throughout the exercise were overwhelmingly positive. Students not only met but exceeded expectations, fully immersing themselves in the process. We are eagerly anticipating how these AI-enhanced methods will continue to benefit their design processes and look forward to witnessing their innovative outcomes in the upcoming year. All work was completed on iPad and saved into Keynote.

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