The AI Revolution: Redefining The Role of Designers

A dive into the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Design to understand AI, AI's impact on design, UX design evolution, and future landscape predictions & preparations.


Researcher & Designer


3.5 months (Feb-May 2023)


Individual, Vicky (Manager), Manda (Advisor)


Project Lima Internship

About the Project

Project Lima is an initiative by Sixty Two to find innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing issues. As part of the Project Lima internship, my task is to conceive a fresh topic under the main theme of 2023, called "Mindful Makers.” Similar to their previous projects, I am expected to create a research report and design an exploratory intervention as a response to the report. Some remarkable examples from their work include their report on inclusive design in Southeast Asia.

At a Glance

The Project Overview

This case study will primarily focus on the process from the initial stages to ideation. However, please note that the final toolkit design phase will not be included in this case study due to its ongoing nature and confidentiality.


As much as I want the process to be ideal, it’s realistic to expect that perfection is nowhere near. Despite the exploratory nature of this project, the reality was quite challenging due to multiple factors such as resources, tech, and timeline constraints.


The Root

Understanding “Mindful Makers”

Before delving into the topic explorations, my initial step was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the theme, Mindful Makers, as well as familiarize myself with past Project Lima works in order to grasp their workflow and processes.

To accomplish this, I researched Project Lima's documentation, conducted 1o1 sessions with Project Lima contributors, thoroughly examined social media content related to Mindful Maker, and delved into relevant design literature. I believe understanding the value of the project is crucial to ensure that the project vision is conveyed to the public effectively.

a peek of my desk research from several design literatures

a peek of my desk research from several design literatures

So, what’s Mindful Maker?

So, what’s Mindful Maker?

Mindful Maker is a movement defined by choice. A choice for a better world.

Mindful Maker is a movement defined by choice. A choice for a better world.


Mindful Makers are lifelong learners.

They are committed through principle and passion to finding relevant and responsible solutions for their entity.


They have the responsibility to create things with great intent.

Their creations should be so purposefully created that they cover everything from its ideation to execution.


Because the smallest sustainable intention we’ve decided to do could lead to great impacts and innovations.

Topic Exploration

Synthesizing Insights to Explore Multiple Topics

After gathering insights about Mindful Makers from various sources, I then clustered and synthesized those insights into 4 huge topic explorations. Each exploration included a description and an analysis of the opportunities and challenges. To further narrow down the focus, I delved into numerous subtopics, emphasizing technology-driven solutions in line with Project Lima's vision of showcasing cutting-edge technologies and future-oriented realities. The topics I explored range from 3D printing, blockchain, metaverse, deepfakes, to Artificial Intelligence.


The decision to narrow down the initial 4 broad topics into smaller ones was driven by their overall generality. I realized that the topics I had proposed initially were too problem-focused, whereas Project Lima's past works showed that highlighting solutions first engages the audience better. This insight from report-making and media guided the shift towards more focused and solution-oriented subtopics, aiming to captivate readers.

These smaller topics were discussed in a mini-async workshop where team inputs were gathered and a topic was chosen. Finally, the topic selected was AI, considering its recent surge in the past months and the fact that Project Lima had not yet explored it.


Knowing the topic is just the beginning. Next, we must find the angle for our AI discussion.

Knowing the topic is just the beginning. Next, we must find the angle for our AI discussion.

Defining the Approach Lens

Since this is my first extensive research project on an unfamiliar topic, it is crucial to approach it from a learner's perspective. After consulting with my manager, she also advised me to frame the angle of this research based on what I’m passionate about. Given my deep interest in UX design which I have been actively learning for the past year, I made the decision to explore the intersection of AI and design.

The Relationship

How will this relate to “Mindful Maker”?

As a mindful maker, I believe our creations should be purposefully created so that we cover everything from its inception to execution. Therefore, with the rise of AI, it is essential to recognize and understand the potential impact it has on our work. By acknowledging this impact, we can become more mindful in our design process and approach.

“I’ve long felt that technology is a material of design. Understanding the grain of the material of whatever you work with is key to being a good designer.”

Philip Van Allen, Professor of Interaction Design, ArtCenter College of Design

Setting the Groundwork for Research

These foundations were established to provide guidance for my research. Numerous iterations were conducted throughout the research, mainly caused by time constraints and the need to refine the focus. This process involved narrowing down the scope to ensure that we were targeting the essential root factors to be explored.

HMW Question

HMW Question

How might we promote mindful design practices in the age of AI?

How might we promote mindful design practices in the age of AI?



To analyze the evolution of UX design, including past technological shifts that may have influenced its development, and to investigate the role and value of UI UX in the present day.



To understand and explore how AI works, it’s potential biases that may arise, and strategies for reducing these biases.



To explore the potential impact of AI on design (practice & principle) and investigate strategies for utilizing AI for the greater good of designers, users, and society as a whole.

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Question Map

The question map was developed simultaneously with defining the research objectives. Initially, I compiled all the questions I had regarding the topic and began establishing connections between them. This process resulted in the creation of a map, which facilitated the clustering and division of questions to address the main research questions. It guided me in determining the appropriate research methods to employ and identifying crucial areas for investigation. This map helps in shaping the overall research strategy.


The Approach

Designing a Research Strategy

After all the processes of defining objectives and mapping questions, the gathered insights were translated into a research strategy. This strategy served as a guiding framework, enabling me to navigate the research process with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

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The process here wasn’t smooth at all. It involved numerous feedback, discussions, and iterations which taught me the importance of reframing and asking the right questions. Reframing is an iterative process that deepens initial statements and prompts new perspectives. It fosters critical thinking by challenging our own questions and statements. Asking the right question involves understanding its purpose, potential impact, and whether it aligns with the research goal. Mainly, I struggled in these areas in which many of my initial questions were too complex or not focused on the core value we sought.

Research Process

An Adventure into the Unknown

Once the strategy is settled, I start to embark on desk research to gather contextual insights about the evolution of design and the inner workings of AI. In this phase, information was gathered through extensive reading of articles, trend & prediction reports, books, and research papers. The insights obtained from this were plotted in Figjam and then organized through a timeline analysis. Building upon these insights, I conducted interviews with experts to delve deeper into their design experiences and gather valuable advice on how designers should prepare for the future.


I realized that research is a long process of thinking and reflecting. As a designer, I’m used to visualizing concepts and producing tangible work. Tracking progress is quite easy since the ‘work’ is usually apparent. However, when conducting research on a topic that’s unfamiliar to me (at least in my case), the process is more protracted. It involves reading numerous articles and books to identify patterns and trends, and then synthesizing the insights gained from that information. Since reading and comprehending requires time, the progress is slower and less immediate than what I’m used to as a designer.

This in particular made me constantly anxious:

(1) Am I navigating this research right? (2) Am I reading the right books or articles? (3) What if I’m just wasting my time reading things that will not contribute much? And to overcome this struggle, I always try to consult with my manager and advisor, ask for advice, and enjoy the process. (grateful for having a supportive team :D)


Understanding AI Concerns

Before delving into the HMW answers, it is crucial for us to comprehend the reasons why we should be mindful of how AI impacts our design practices and outcomes. Hence, through my research, I have identified several concerns about AI that designers should consider.

Bias & Discrimination

Machine learning heavily relies on data to make predictions. However, this data can perpetuate discrimination when ML models create systematic differences based on factors such as ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Privacy & Security

As AI algorithms collect and analyze vast amounts of user data, there is a significant risk that this data will be misused or stolen. Despite the fact that many users may not be as concerned about privacy as we imagine, it should still be a central aspect of all AI initiatives.

Copyrights & Consent

AI art models that use generative techniques are typically trained on vast datasets of images sourced from the internet, which have been created by humans and are often subject to copyright protection. However, these images are usually obtained without the knowledge or consent of their creators.

Reducing User Agency

As designers create symbiotic relationships between humans and machines, they must consider both the benefits and drawbacks, what people gain but also what they lose. By incorporating features that transfer human skills to machines, a process called "deskilling," design teams must weigh the social implications.

Sources: Kore, A | Armstrong, H | Lenoble, C | Quinn, L | The Verge

Let's bring this back

Let's bring this back

Hence, how might we promote mindful design practices in the age of AI?

Hence, how might we promote mindful design practices in the age of AI?

Advocating for User Data Protection

To address the potential risks of user data misuse, it is crucial to raise awareness and ask questions about user data protection in UX team discussions.

Reinforcing Human Agency: Designing for Skill Empowerment

Designers have the power to not only automate tasks, but also preserve and enhance users' skills. Rather than completely taking over tasks, interfaces and systems can be designed to challenge users to think and develop their skills.

Collaborating Data Science and Design to Avoid Bias and Discrimination

This collaboration helps to ensure that business and user needs are aligned and that the resulting products are equitable and inclusive.

Transparent AI Design: Fostering User Trust and Confidence

Designers of AI systems or digital products that uses them should prioritize transparency, fairness, reliability, and inclusivity, while also respecting user privacy and considering the human side of design.

Collaborating with Other Disciplines Outside Design

By taking a more comprehensive view of complex systems outside design, designers can shift their perspectives and gain a better understanding of non-human entities.

Mindfully Utilizing AI Tools: Stay Informed and Aware

It is crucial for us, individuals and makers to stay informed and aware of the laws surrounding the use of AI tools, particularly when using generated AI images or designs for commercial purposes.

Sources: DelSignore, P | Lenoble, C | Kore, A | Armstrong, H

Download our report for more complete insights

Download our report for more complete insights

Our report dives into the introduction of AI and Design, AI's impact on design, UX design evolution, and future landscape predictions and preparations.

Our report dives into the introduction of AI and Design, AI's impact on design, UX design evolution, and future landscape predictions and preparations.




Inside the Fun AI Workshop

After completing the report, my project does not end there. Rather than simply leaving readers to gather insights, our aim is to empower and inspire them to translate those insights into action. Therefore, following the presentation of my research to the team, I organized a bento box workshop with the specific aim of utilizing the insights from the report to generate ideas on how Project Lima can help tackle the AI revolution in the design industry.

drag to view memes!

Creating AI meme masterpiece

To kick things off with a lighter note, we introduced a fun ice-breaking game. Using pre-made meme templates, the Sixty Two team engaged in a FigJam frenzy, channeling their creativity to express their thoughts on AI.

The Bento Box

Following the next activity, participants were guided to create their personalized future bento boxes 🍱! Taking inspiration from the report's future ball predictions and essential item cards, each team member selected their desired future and essential item to carry with them to the future. With the provided blank space, participants were encouraged to employ these creative ingredients to brainstorm ideas that Project Lima could bring to fruition. In simple terms, you can imagine this workshop like preparing a bento lunch box, to fuel their designer spirit as they navigate the age of AI in the future :).

Team's reaction on the workshop! 🤩

With only a few days of preparation, I'm glad that the workshop went well and all of us enjoyed it!


Through my experience in designing this workshop, I learned that the way in which they are conducted should be tailored to suit the audience. Although it is important to align with the workshop's objective, I think it’s crucial that it should also be engaging and enjoyable. Our aim through the workshop is to create an environment where participants feel at ease, enabling them to openly express their thoughts and ideas.

Unfortunately, the toolkit design phase will not be included in this case study due to its ongoing nature and confidentiality. Will update once it’s available :)

Unfortunately, the toolkit design phase will not be included in this case study due to its ongoing nature and confidentiality. Will update once it’s available :)


Key Takeaways

Overall, it was a challenging yet eye-opening experience for me. This journey marked my first venture into leading a personal-heavy research project and creating a research report on an unfamiliar topic. However, without this opportunity, I wouldn't have had the chance to explore thought-provoking design books and articles that have greatly expanded my perspective and understanding of design. These resources and experiences somehow have influenced my personal design philosophy, shaping my own opinions on design.

Throughout this journey, I found myself wearing multiple hats, taking responsibility for every aspect of the project. From project management and timeline planning to conducting research, creating content, designing the landing page, and even illustrating assets, the scope of my involvement was extensive. Fortunately, I had the invaluable support of a highly supportive manager and advisor who guided me through this process. Their assistance was instrumental in my success, and I am immensely grateful for their guidance and mentorship. Thanks a lot to Vicky and Manda!

For more about this internship reflection, click here.