If you need to create social media posts, invitations, digital postcards, graphics, and more for your business, Microsoft has a new tool, powered by AI, to help you out: Microsoft Designer.
Microsoft Designer is “a graphic design app in Microsoft 365 that helps you create stunning social media posts, invitations, digital postcards, graphics, and more, all in a flash”, says Liat Ben-Zur, Corporate Vice President, Modern Life, Search, and Devices at Microsoft, introducing the new graphic design app that the company announces with a simple phrase: it’s never been easier to approach a black canvas.
It’s hard to not see the direct reference to Canva, a free app with premium features that has grown in popularity since its launch in 2013. Canva is an online design and publishing tool “with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere” and one that runs across platforms. I’ve used it regularly that way, starting a project on an Android tablet, finishing it on my Windows desktop and sharing it using my Android smartphone… where I can also edit it if I need to.
While Canvas and Microsoft Designer may target distinct types of users, there will be some overlapping, and Microsoft’s presentation phrase does suggest Canvas was in the designers’ mind when creating the app. I am curious to try it and I’ve already signed up for free web preview of the Designer app when it’s available outside of the United States.
Powered by DALL∙E 2 by OpenAI
Microsoft says that the current free preview does not include all planned features to come and that the company will be adding more over time. Once the app is ready for general availability, it will be available both as a free app and with more premium features available to Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers. Furthermore, the company has plans to integrate Designer into Microsoft Edge, because “we know that content creation isn’t limited to an app, it also happens online.”
Being delivered through a browser makes Designer more like Canva, which works, optionally, that way. But Designer comes with something that will drastically change DTP: Microsoft Designer is powered by AI technology, including DALL∙E 2 by OpenAI, which means “you’re able to instantly generate a variety of designs with minimal effort”, Microsoft claims, adding “our cutting-edge AI supercharges your ideas.”
DALL·E 2 is a new AI system that can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language. When applied to Designer it delivers AI-powered design suggestions to visually enhance social media posts and other visual content without having to leave your browser window. With Designer, continues Microsoft, “there’s no need to spend time building cards or social media posts from scratch. And you no longer need to search through thousands of pre-made templates.”
Achieve results “in a flash”
According to the information shared by Microsoft, “Designer invites you to start with an idea and let the AI do the heavy lifting. For example, with ‘start from scratch’ within Designer, you can simply describe an image you want to see, and the app does the work for you to create something totally unique. As you work in Designer, every surface of the app is powered by AI to help ensure consistent, aligned, properly scaled, and beautiful designs, even with or without any inherent design ability.”
Furthermore, as you add more content like images or text, the ’design ideas’ feature magically integrates the content within the design in a single click. You can then share your designs with the world however you’d like, including publishing directly to social media platforms or downloading them to use anywhere.
Microsoft Designer aims to solve a few key challenges with creating and sharing content, from how hard it is to get started to the fragmentation of tools needed to achieve results. The company says that while “everything begins with an idea but getting started and capturing your individuality isn’t always easy” Microsoft Designer helps to achieve results “in a flash” with the help of AI. We’re all eager to try this new tool!
With Designer Microsoft appears to be expanding the tools available to Microsoft 365 and Office users, like the company did with the introduction of its video editor Clipchamp, which aims to make video editing easier – and fun – for many users. Microsoft Designer, powered by AI, aims to make DTP less of a chore for those who need to design promotional material, from an invitation to a postcard – be it digital or printable – for everyone, and that includes photographers and videographers wanting to make their own promotional material.