On Point: The Asterisk in Your Life, GPT3, Auto Logos and More

On-point summaries of the best writing on design and innovation from around the globe.

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Are We Gonna Talk About That Asterisk?

Melissa Nightingale, partner at Raw Signal Group, writes of the asterisk that has crept into people’s lives, a wedge between people and their leadership.

Anthony Tran on Unsplash

She says that pre-pandemic, the answer to the question, “How are things?” would elicit similar answers across roles. “Regardless of seniority, almost everyone wonders if they’re making the right calls for their career and wonders about work-life balance.” In the current situation, there is a divergence.

If you ask CEOs and founders how things are, the reply is focused on the success of moving their teams to WFH and new ways of working. If you ask anyone else the same question their reply comes with an asterisx*

I’m good.*
I’m fine.*
We’re doing ok.*
We’re all healthy.*

Nightingale says that asterisk is a fuel light that signals that people are running out of gas. People in charge may think everything is fine. While the people doing the work are breaking down at night and putting on a brave face for Zoom calls in the morning.

We have to recognise that our sense of belonging as a global workforce has been disrupted and must be rebuilt. And it starts with being able to genuinely answer the question “How are you?” At least for yourself.

Why are Auto Makers Redesigning Their Logos?

Volkswagon, BMW and now Nissan – three of the world’s biggest automobile companies launched modified versions of their logos in the last few months. What gives?

The underlying motivation for the change is similar across all three brands. All three logos have been redesigned to be ‘digital-first.’ The redesign exercise reduce the logo to essential elements, which now present as flat and two-dimensional and can be easily used across interfaces. All three have ditched the (undoubtedly dated) 3D effects and shading to create “a familiar and digital-friendly look.” It is also possible that the emphasis on electric vehicles in the future has prompted the quest for a ‘cleaner’ look.

Looks Like You Need Iceland

One of the locations your scream will be released into

In this absolutely fabulous campaign, Eliza Reid, First Lady of Iceland, encourages you release your screams of frustration into the country’s wide open spaces. Go to, tap and scream as loudly as you want. Your scream will then be broadcast into Iceland’s wide open spaces.

GPT3 Explainer

GPT3 broke the Internet last week and if it left you feeling confused, we’re here to help, especially since it has wide-ranging implications for the creative community.

Frank Chemaki on Unsplash

What is GPT3?

GPT3 (Generative Pre-training Transformer) is the third generation of the machine learning model developed by AI research laboratory OpenAI.

Why the fuss?

A selective audience was given access to GPT3 and what they discovered was pretty mind-blowing.

GPT3 creates text on demand that is undistinguishable from human-generated text. Check this blog post by Zero Crater Founder, Arram Zabeti where he uses the AI to create short stories, songs, press releases, technical manuals and more. This includes an eerily accurate “film-noir hard boiled detective story by Raymond Chandler about the boy wizard Harry Potter.”

Designer Jordan Singer demonstrated a Figma plugin (called ‘Designer’) using GPT3 that has the ability to generate a functional prototype from raw text. He types in this:

“An app that has a navigation bar with a camera icon, “Photos” title, and a message icon, a feed of photos with each photo having a user icon, a photo, a heart icon, and a chat bubble icon”

He then clicks Design and the UI is created. The AI was able to correctly identify the UI elements and discern their placement. All without a line of code.

Note to self: Can GPT3 create On-point summaries?

The underlying problem

To be effective, models like GPT3 are trained on humongous, Internet-scale data, which means that they have the inherent biases displayed on the Internet. When introducing GPT3, Open AI researchers said, “A model trained on the internet like GPT-3 could share the biases of the Internet, including stereotypes around gender, race and religion.”

AI, design this now

Is a future where AI replaces designers closer than ever before? Not quite yet but this could be the turning point. Brian Walsh in Axios says “it may be looked back on as the iPhone of AI, opening the door to countless commercial applications — both benign and potentially dangerous.”

Humans are Better off Spending Energy on Creativity than on Productivity

Scott Belsky, the creator of Behance believes the next few years will belong to the creative and is bullish on the role technology will play in that scenario.

Peter Feghali on Unsplash

Belsky puts forth a fascinating concept called the “Human Productivity Parabola”, and says we have passed the point where “machines have become a better investment for future productivity gains than humans”. 

This means that education that was made for the Industrial Revolution and all the regimented jobs it birthed – is no longer valid for the 21st century where we are better off outsourcing such tasks to machines, while we should be using our time making art (or… more machines).

This is more than just an optimistic thought-piece. Belsky opens up many questions, the primary of them being how creativity is meshed with our hiring process (which still has more in common with the Industrial Revolution era), and how we can make creativity accessible for everyone, memorably asking, “What are the “Microsoft Word and Excel” of creativity?”. In fact, we can say we’re seeing some version of this with apps like TikTok, which have crunched down erstwhile expensive and inaccessible editing technology in an easy-to-use format, removing several barriers from inherent creativity. 

Belsky also argues that this is to be taken advantage of, and that we will be seeing an “enterprise creativity app boom” soon.

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