Microsoft Designer Is The Very Worst Example Of AI

(MANEND NEWS): Microsoft is determined to thrust “AI” into all of its products at the moment and Microsoft Designer is no exception.

This supposedly AI-driven service – currently in preview – is meant to create stunning social media posts, flyers etc. from your written prompts alone. Sadly, it’s about as intelligent as a Big Mac.

Is this really AI?
The premise of Microsoft Designer is quite simple. Tell it what you want and Designer will spit out a selection of suggested layouts, with appropriately chosen photos and other design elements.

It is capable of decent results. For example, here I asked Microsoft Designer to create a flyer promoting my dance class at Aubrey Studios at 3pm and it delivered the following:

Microsoft Designer flyer advertising a dance class
Designer is capable of eye-catching results BARRY COLLINS/MICROSOFT DESIGNER

At other times, however, the results are outright bizarre. Here I asked it to promote a golf day on a certain date, for which I provided one of my own photos. None of the suggested results included the date and some included photos of a baby’s foot!

Microsoft Designer golf day flyer showing baby feet
Nothing says golf like chubby baby feet!BARRY COLLINS/MICROSOFT DESIGNER
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None of the other suggested designs had anything to do with golf, nor even hinted at it. It seems the words and pictures you provide are almost irrelevant to the random set of results Designer delivers, unless you’re asking it to select a photo for you.

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All of which makes me wonder precisely how much “AI” is actually involved here? We know Microsoft is capable of delivering sophisticated AI results from the way OpenAI’s GPT-4 has been embedded into Bing and the Edge browser. Here it seems to be doing little more than driving keywords for image searches. And even then it’s erratic…

Microsoft Designer two for one drinks promotion
Could be an expensive offer…BARRY COLLINS/MICROSOFT DESIGNER
This is, at best, conceptual:

Microsoft Designer two for one drinks promo with cherries

No Adobe Express
Microsoft Designer has a very similar interface and set of features as Adobe Express, which I’ve used regularly to create social media posts, posters and other materials other the past couple of years.

Adobe Express doesn’t offer any of the AI whizzbangery (yet), but then arguably neither does Microsoft. What it does offer is a very strong and striking set of templates from which to build your designs, with a huge, searchable library that covers most eventualities.

For example, if I were using Adobe Express to create a flyer for the golf day, you can search for that term and you’re immediately presented with a wide range of golf templates to choose from that are far more relevant than anything Microsoft’s AI system dredged up:

Adobe Express
No AI, but Adobe Express does deliver relevant resultsBARRY COLLINS/ADOBE EXPRESS
All of those templates are easily adaptable, so you can take elements from those existing designs, adjust the text, move graphics around the page etc. And Adobe also does an excellent job of resizing designs for different purposes, ie. Instagram, Twitter, A5 flyer.

It is slightly unfair to compare Microsoft Designer to Adobe Express. One’s a free preview product, the other is a mature service that is part of Adobe’s premium package of Creative Suite tools. But the two products do serve the same purpose. Adobe’s does it much better, even without having to rely on the AI buzzword to drum up interest. At least, for now.

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