Dezeen Magazine

Dominique Sciamma CY Ecole de Design

Design school director criticises Dezeen over AI artwork competition

The director of CY École de Design in France has criticised Dezeen over our reader competition to design artwork for a new editorial series using generative AI.

Dominique Sciamma said the initiative risked "people thinking that anyone able to type some prompts could take the place of skilled professionals".

Dezeen recently ran a competition calling for readers to create the visual branding for our new AItopia series with text-to-image artificial-intelligence (AI) tools such as DALL-E 2 and Midjourney.

Design-school director "puzzled" by contest

The Dezeen team had shared information about the competition with several design schools asking them to encourage students to enter. But Sciamma refused, citing concerns about the message that doing so would send to students.

"Thank you for this proposal, but let me share with you a critical point of view," he wrote in an email.

"I am quite puzzled to see Dezeen, a magazine with a due strong reputation, trying to push non-professional designers to produce illustration through AI tools," Sciamma continued.

"Not that your magazine should not address what could be seen both as an opportunity and a threat, and make it a strategic topic, but it seems to me that we should not let people think that anyone able to type some prompts could take the place of skilled professionals such as designers or... journalists."

"For that reason, and since we are a design school and that we train our students to use their head as well as their hand to produce illustration, I will not share with them this proposition."

In the interest of transparency and inviting debate, Dezeen asked Sciamma for permission to quote his email.

Contest won by Selina Yau

The emergence over the past year of AI tools capable of producing striking and convincing images in seconds from short text prompts has sparked a major discussion about their potential impact on creative industries.

Controversially, images created using these programs have already won major art and photography competitions.

Dezeen's free-to-enter competition was explicitly open to everyone, from professional graphic designers to casual AI enthusiasts.

The winner of the competition was announced yesterday by AI designer Tilly Talbot. British architect and designer Selina Yau took the £1,000 prize for her haunting depiction of the future.

AItopia will run for several weeks on Dezeen, exploring what the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) will mean for the future of design, architecture and humanity.

Based in Saint-germain-en-Laye in northern France, CY École de Design is part of the engineering school at CY Cergy Paris University.

The portrait is courtesy of Dominique Sciamma.

Illustration by Selina Yau


This article is part of Dezeen's AItopia series, which explores the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on design, architecture and humanity, both now and in the future.