What brought Semi-automated Illustration to a new level

In today’s world, you don’t necessarily need to be a designer to do some minor designs like social media posts, presentations or a resume. Resources like Google Docs, Slides or Canva are great online places to cover up these things. They’re easy to use and can always offer you a variety of designs so that one doesn’t necessarily need to hire a professional for some basic stuff to do.  

Nowadays, all the media sources are in hunger for information and it keeps increasing. Society seems to need more and more new web pages, applications, videos, and posts. It has driven us to a new reality where people without design education can easily create digital stuff they need on the go with simple customization tools. This helps to save a lot of time and resources. This kind of collaborative creativity has its place in modern design variety and is a shortcut to the desired result. On the other hand, it’s a great place for professionals, illustrators and designers. serves as navigation to the new market tendencies which help them sell their work in the form of packages, with just a single click of the button.

One of the latest companies on the market to use this approach is Blush. It’s a platform that helps people find a variety of ready-to-download illustration sets created by various designers and allows mix and match them right on the platform. The free plan gives unlimited access to the pictures of humanoid figures, systemized by categories and keywords. Paying $15 monthly, users can access vector files that help them change the background, colour and even components with the help of special tools. The pool of around 50 artists provides you with the pictures you can pseudo-customize along with other users. It’s more about unique customization than unique artwork.

The Blush platform positions itself as a place with “illustrations for everyone”, and it has to be admitted it’s completely consistent with this statement. It’s a great solution for not in-depth designers. Those, who experience troubles with time, money or even search for a suitable candidate to perfectly match their project. Modular libraries win such clients as content creators, teachers and even small businesses. Sounds great, but how does the automated illustration influence the professionals who earn their living by the illustration?

Pablo Stanley, the founder of Blush, mentions the next main company’s goals: first, to provide a wide variety of digital art, and the next one, to provide customers with artwork that doesn’t cost much. He says the biggest challenge they had at the beginning of the project was to make the tool easy enough and understandable for non-designers, even those who had never used it before. Being Udemy, InVision and Lyft alumnus, he created free libraries with modular libraries. The platform is a sequence of his open-source mission, full of useful features allowing users to customize such features as body type, hair and colours. That’s what helps users create semi-custom illustrations.

The platform idea can be presented as an “abundance mindset. He says it’s a space where open-source projects and those, who seek profit can meet each other’s interests. Sharing creative products help people cooperate and learn more from each other and therefore grow in all aspects. The knowledge should be shared and doesn’t need to be secretive. Sharing best practices we increase the value of the modern design industry and therefore are able to make our community better.

However, many designers are worried as this technology may lead to a congenerous culture and therefore lose its individuality. It’s not a complete machine artwork. Blush engages a number of designers to work on the libraries which grow every day in each category. The point is that at all events it starts looking as stock pictures despite the variety of styles. Each trend has its own lifecycle starting with its name then moving to the critics or so-called “shaming” stage, and finally proclaimed dead and so does Blush.

Stanley believes website standardization is a normal practice. We have moved from the bright Flash pages to the new digital art era. Someone would even say nowadays it looks too serious, too official and sometimes boring. The point is it’s too easy for modern artists to get influenced by others. That’s the benefit and the curse of a modern world created by digitalization. It is the same story with jeans fashion, hoodies and even haircuts. We don’t struggle with mainstreams today. We simply accept and follow them reacting by the production of related stuff.

According to Sam Eckersley, associate chair of graphic design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, digital platforms facilitate the development of aesthetic standardization and it has become a phenomenon of modern visual art. Not only platforms for non-designers influence the trends, but also social media. Eckersley highlights that previously it needed years to become a trend which now takes just six months. New designs are emerging and establishing pretty fast and that’s becoming harder to track the trends and catch the wave of modern design.

The platforms like Blush often complete the full trend cycle which consists of three phases: being named, criticized, and finally proclaimed dead.

Blush lets people make changes to some illustration aspects. The opportunity to buy an illustration pack, use tools to make them look slightly different aims to give users a feeling of customization. Even slight differences and experience of picking up a picture, its modification gives a feeling of something unique. One of the artists, Ivan Mesaros, says that he considers his sets as a lump of clay for those who need to find their solution. The adjustments make them look a bit different each time.