I got early access to Microsoft Designer!! Here’s what I think about the new AI tool!





Microsoft designer early access

Let’s check out the new – Microsoft Designer!!!

In this blog I will talk about…

What is Microsoft Designer?

During the October 12 Fall event, Microsoft made an official announcement of its new AI-powered ‘Designer’ app. This new tool is designed to assist users with graphic designs and image creation, similar to the popular alternative, Canva.

The software bears a striking resemblance to Canva. Microsoft Designer will also offer integration with Microsoft’s own Edge browser and Bing. Furthermore, the Designer software will be included in the Microsoft 365 subscription package.

According to Microsoft, the Designer app will initially target consumers. However, there is a possibility that the app may eventually shift towards enterprise-oriented use cases. The app is set to become the latest addition to the Microsoft Office 365 subscription (probably before co-pilot gets here!), which is continuously seeking to attract new users by adding new features to the package. Check out their promo video. I think it looks super cool!

Microsoft Designer’s Promo Video!!

Designer, in addition to Canva, will also compete with Adobe, which provides image templates and stock images to its customers through Adobe Express. According to a CNBC report, Adobe and Microsoft have over 30 product integrations, but Microsoft has stated that the release of the Designer app will not impact their engagement with Adobe in any way.

Microsoft Designer – integration with DALL-E 2

Microsoft’s Designer app will incorporate DALL-E 2, an artificial intelligence software developed by OpenAI, to enable the creation of visual designs from written text. The company has confirmed that the AI training for the service excludes all explicit sexual and violent content to prevent any inappropriate interpretations from being generated.

My experience with Microsoft Designer

So initially when I visited their website, it said there is a waitlist that I needed to join. Like in the image below, there was a space to add my email ID and I got a confirmation mail that I would soon receive access!

Microsoft designer join waitlist
Microsoft designer join waitlist

From there, a couple of days later I received an email receiving access to Microsoft designer!

Without further ado, lets jump straight into the software and what my thoughts are on it

First impression of Microsoft designer

To begin with, after I logged in the home screen looked something like this…

Microsoft designer home page
Microsoft designer home page

There are a lot of things worth noticing on this screen itself. To begin with, on the top left, below “Lets start with your content” you see a space where you can describe what image/template you wish to generate. Below that you have options to add specific images from your device, or even stuff which you have previously added to your media on Microsoft designer.

Another thing here which I thought was pretty cool was the QR code “from your phone” option. You can actually just scan the code and directly upload content from your phone to Microsoft designer… How cool is that??

Anyway, moving on… Remember I spoke about Microsoft designer’s integration with DALL-E 2? This is where that comes into play.

After all this, you can click on “generate” and the software will create multiple options for you as shown below, or you can simply skip this entire bit and hit the “Skip and start from a blank canvas or recent designs”

Microsoft designer
Microsoft designer

In the image above, I gave the software a prompt saying “Instagram post welcoming people for our grand bakery opening on the 25th of March 2023 in Chembur Mumbai, add all this information in the post”. Using this, it created multiple, really cool options for me to work with and/or customize. From there, all I had to do as pick one to work with and click on the customize design option

Customizing and designing on Microsoft designer

Once you start designing, all the initial options that you saw become “Copilot” on the right of your screen. Every time you make a change to the main content in the center, copilot adapts those changes into the other templates as well!

Microsoft designer customize content
Microsoft designer customize content

Like any designing tool, you can change the font, colours, images etc., which is expected in any designing tool these days. The options for these are on the left-hand side of the screen as you can see in the image above.

Integration with DALL-E 2

As you can also see, in the image on the left, when you try to type and search for something in the generate section, it auto-prompts you with suggestions you can use.

This may be using gpt 3.5 or even maybe gpt 4 tech to generate these prompts

Microsoft designer also, in the case of images and pictures, allows you to edit just as you can in Canva. Things like removing backgrounds or blurring the background of an image, or basic filters that can be applied.

There’s nothing over-the-top fancy here when compared to Canva. While some of these are available in Canva Pro (the paid version), they seem to be here, to use freely.

As mentioned earlier, any changes made to the main image in the centre will be adapted into all the options on the right-hand side by copilot. This I thought was really nice! As you can see, I replaced the image of croissants with women standing together and all the copilot listed templates also changed similarly.

Microsoft Designer’s Brand Kit

Another cool feature, especially if you are a small business or business owner is the brand kit section. Brand kit is a similar feature to Canva Pro’s branding tool. But since I have access to Brand Kit in Microsoft (a free version), it must be a part of the free version as of now!

brand kit
brand kit

When you switch to different styles in the brand kit, it not only changes colours, but also the fonts and font sizes. I did notice that copilot did not seem to adapt to the changes that were made via brand kit. That was a little unexpected and sad!

Share you designs easily!

Share your designs easily via Microsoft Designer
Share your designs easily via Microsoft Designer

Once you’ve designed your content and are ready to download or share you content, Microsoft Designer offers a variety options. You can either:

  • Download the content directly
  • Sent it to your phone
  • Cope as an image
  • Post your images directly on social media and you have options such as Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn

You can even remove the background from the image.

watermark image from Microsoft design

When you download an image normally, it will download with a Microsoft Designer watermark like in the image on the left. This may not be very nice if its for a post on your social media pages or blog content.

This can be avoided my manually clicking on the remove watermark option which appears just above the download button. Then the image will download without any watermark as shown on the right1

final image downloaded

As of now, you can only download your content in the form of

  • PNG (High quality image)
  • JPEG (Small file size image)
  • PDF (Small file size document)

which means it doesn’t allow for video creation or gifs. This was kind of disappointing.

Maybe eventually, as the develop the product further, they will add that too as a feature!

Get new updates easily!

You can also keep track of new announcements within Designer by checking out their “What’s new” section on the top right!

My final verdict on Microsoft Designer

Obviously the product is still being developed, but as of now, at this stage, I think its a pretty decent software for small businesses (that’s who they seem to be targeting with this).

As a Canva user, I think Designer is still in its early stages and there are no major reasons for me to switch to Designer from Canva. It’s definitely not something I would pay money to use at this point. But I do think that by the time Designer becomes freely available to the public, it may very well overtake canva in its capabilities, especially with its DALL-E 2 integration, sharing directly to social media and other features that rely on AI.

I think this new tool will be especially useful for people who have little to no experience in designing. This is simply because of how easy it is to generate branded content with AI and the kind of options Microsoft Designer throws at you that are super easy to customize!

Happy Designing!


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