Creative pros are leveraging Generative AI to do more and better work

Group of colleagues sitting at a table with laptops laughing.

Generative AI is already proving to be a transformational technology. However, there’s still much to learn about how and where humans will integrate it into their work and personal lives.

Creative professionals — one of Adobe’s core audiences — are especially invested in how this new technology impacts both their craft and work. In engaging with this community through digital channels and social interactions, at live and virtual conferences and workshops, through sit-down conversations and research — we’ve heard both optimism and well-reasoned concerns.

Recent Adobe research quantifies the improvements brand creative teams are already seeing from generative AI. A global survey of 2,541 creative professionals in the United States, U.K., Germany, France, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand reveals that creative pros using generative AI are not just improving content velocity and quality — they’re also focusing their creative energy on the work they enjoy and that really matters.

Generative AI is here

The earliest generative AI tools sparked reasonable questions: Would generative apps replace creatives and flood the market with generic, machine-generated content, or become new tools in professionals’ kits, giving them an edge over competitors?

Even though generative AI is still in relatively early days, it’s already having an impact on how creative pros work. Over four-fifths (83 percent) of creative professionals said they’re using generative AI tools in their work, and 74 percent are using them in their personal lives, as well. It’s interesting to note that 20 percent of global creative pros say their companies or clients require them to use some type of generative AI in their work.

Enhancing outcomes for creatives

Two-thirds (66 percent) of surveyed creative pros who use generative AI tools say they’re making better content with the tools, and a majority (58 percent) say they’ve increased the quantity of content they create. Additionally, 69 percent believe generative AI will provide them with new ways to express their creativity. This means creative pros can use generative AI to tackle more projects, deliver superior results, and expand their creative horizons.

Adoption varies by country and age

Average global generative AI adoption rates for creative pros are between 70-75 percent. Creative pros based in the U.S. (87 percent) and Germany (85 percent) are most likely to be using generative capabilities, while Japan has the lowest adoption rate at 49 percent.

While all age demographics are trying generative AI tools, Gen Z (85 percent) and Millennials (82 percent) are adopting the technology at a much higher rate than Gen X (62 percent) or Boomers (38 percent).

Top use case: Photos and images

It’s no surprise that the #1 activity creative pros use generative AI for is to create images. U.S. creative pros who leverage the technology do so for 78 percent of the photos or images they create. On the other end of the spectrum, Japanese creative pros use generative AI in only 38 percent of their photos, images and graphics.

Why creative pros are using generative AI

Creative pros are drawn to generative AI for a variety of reasons, including:

When it comes to why creative pros choose specific generative AI tools, 42 percent ranked quality either the first- or second-most important factor, whereas 35 percent cite ease of use as a top factor.

Experience equals trust

The majority of creative pros (66 percent) said they trust generative AI on some level, with more than a third (34 percent) describing their trust in the nascent technology as “strong.” The top factors that encourage trust in generative AI include (#1) the positive impact creative pros believe it will have on their careers in terms of financial and productivity gains, (#2) positive initial and ongoing experiences with the tools, and (#3) when vendors have strong privacy and security policies in place.

Common barriers to entry

For those creative pros who haven’t started to explore or use generative AI in their creative pursuits, the top reason is that they just aren’t sure how to get started (31 percent). Other top reasons they cite for not using generative AI include:

Taken as a whole, these findings point to generative AI being a helpful tool for creative pros to improve how they work and expand their professional opportunities. Even in these early days, the technology is already enabling them to speed up and simplify common tasks, while increasing the quality and quantity of their results. And while speed and efficiency are important benefits, creative professionals are also using generative AI to explore new creative frontiers and express even more of their imaginative vision. As the tools become more powerful and artists more skilled and experienced in using them, the future of creative expression and work is open to possibilities we cannot yet imagine.