Midjourney: A Beginner’s Guide + Prompt Examples

We live in an era where artificial intelligence can create its rendition of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night in a matter of seconds. People have been raving about AI-generated art on the internet. Creativity was the last thing that people expected machines to acquire and these AI art generators are changing that perspective. So much so that people are disputing whether AI will take over creative jobs! In this blog, we are going to talk about one such AI-based image generation tool – Midjourney. 

Have you used Midjourney? Or are you curious to use it but don’t know where to start? You are in the right place. We’ll give you an overview of what this tool does and how you can use it. And we’ll also talk about one of the main parameters that influence the output from such AI tools – the prompts. 

Midjourney – an introduction 

It took artificial intelligence decades to make ripples. But ever since OpenAI’s DALL-E made its entry into the world of text-to-image generation, a lot changed. While there have been several AI-based image generators launched since then, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney have been the closest contenders of DALL-E that gathered a lot of momentum for their capabilities. 

Midjourney is an image-generation tool that can create art based on text prompts. The first open beta version of the tool was released in July 2022 and by November 2022, the Alpha iteration of Version 4 of Midjourney was made available. 

Unlike several other AI art generators that work on browsers or through APIs, Midjourney currently works based on a Discord bot. In other words, to use the tool and to generate images from text, you need to do so through Discord. 

A few months back Midjourney was invite-only and it was no easy feat getting in. But now things have changed and it’s much simpler to create your account and start generating AI artwork. Before we get to the part about Midjourney prompts and the many use cases of this AI art generator let’s cover some basics. 

How do these AI art generators work? 

Like every other AI tool out there, a lot depends on the training dataset. In this case, there are superior deep-learning models comparing thousands of images to understand and create art. Natural language processing also has a role to play here because a lot depends on how the algorithm interprets the given keywords. That’s why when people talk about tools like Midjourney a lot of discussions surround Midjourney prompts as well. 

The core difference between artists and AI art generators is that artists creatively create designs based on an idea they build in their head and an AI art generator stochastically creates images based on existing images. 

Getting started with Midjourney 

One of the first things to remember when you start with Midjourney is that you need to get used to Discord in order to get used to Midjourney. Since the interface is not directly on your browser or as an app, to be able to make the most of the too, you need to get a hang of getting around Discord. Familiarize yourself with a few basic functions like creating a server to adding members to the server.

Once you have your Discord account and know the nitty-gritty of it, you can create a Midjourney account by signing up through your Discord account. There is limited functionality with the free account on Midjourney. Currently, there are 3 plans, Basic, Standard, and Pro. 

After signing up, you can enter one of the “Newbies” channels in the Midjourney server to start creating your designs. For creating images use the “/imagine” command. 

In a few seconds, the Midjourney bot gives you 4 variations of the designs. You can then choose to upscale one of them or get variations of a design you like the most. That’s pretty much how you get started with Midjourney as a beginner. 

And now let’s talk about the plans. Remember that the designs you create with the free account have the CC BY-NC 4.0 license that requires attribution and allows non-commercial use. So, you need to choose one of the subscriptions to create images for commercial use. One of the main benefits of the Pro plan is the Stealth Mode support. With all other plans, your designs are out in the public and other users can see them.   

A few possible use cases for Midjourney artwork 

So, the Mijdourney bot can create stunning images. But what can you do with these images? 

  • You can use Midjourney to generate Avatars for use on social media and other places. 
  • The tool is useful to generate Images of people for use in marketing designs. 
  • You can create acinematic poster-like designs for your promotions. 
  • Some use Midjourney and other AI tools to generate images for comic strips. 
  • Since the tool can generate multiple variations of the image, it is easy to create unique GIFs with the images generated. 
  • Generate ideas for your design especially when you are facing a creative block.  

In most cases, the image generated by Midjourney cannot be used as is. You need to make some tweaks to them if you plan to incorporate them as artwork. And if you wish to use them in your marketing design, you will still need the help of professional designers to use the images to create on-brand graphics with text, brand assets, brand colors, and fonts. 

Considering the complications with respect to the commercial use of designs generated by Midjourney it’s better to stay away from AI-generated designs especially when it comes to branding designs like logo design, packaging design, etc. 

While you experiment with all these use cases, you should be well aware of a few limitations of Midjourney. Let’s talk about them. 

Limitations of AI generators like Midjourney 

Talk about AI image generation and the first thing that people ask is if these tools can replace a graphic designer. So, can they? Can you really bypass the process of working with a designer and use just an AI generator to take care of all the marketing designs and branding designs for your brand? Short answer: No! We’ll give you a few reasons why: 

The thin line between creativity and conceptual expression 

AI art generators like Midjourney have one main limitation – the results are as good as the prompts. It’s all fun and frolic when you know exactly what you want. For example, for an upcoming campaign, if you know you need a “cat in an astronaut suit floating in space” you get brilliant results. But if you are giving abstract prompts or if you do not know what exactly you want in your visuals, these AI art tools might not be of much help. 

Given a situation or a campaign objective, a human creative team will be able to exercise creativity to come up with an idea to represent the concept. AI tools like Midjourney on the other hand often come up with a conceptual expression of the given prompts. 

Midjourney generated the below image for an abstract prompt we tried “AI-based art generators”. 

Image generated on Midjourney

The problem particularly shows when it comes to generating designs for brands. Because not all brands can come up with ideas that accurately capture the concept in mind or depict visually the services they offer. This is where creativity and a human perspective can make a big difference. 

Generates cliched ideas  

Say you want to create a billboard ad for your coffee shop. There are several things you can add to your design. Of course, the most common thought, a cliched approach is to feature a simple coffee cup. And that’s exactly what Midjourney generated for a simple command that said, “Billboard design for a coffee shop ad”. 

Image generated on Midjourney 

When we got a little more specific with what we wanted, here are the results. The prompt was extended to “billboard ad design for a coffee shop, group of friends sitting in a coffee shop, warm daylight ambiance”. 

Image generated on Midjourney

While the ideas look good, the way the bot interpreted the prompt is not exactly on point. The third image looks closest to what we had in mind but notice how distorted and cartoonish some of the faces appear. The designs do not exactly look “human” in several cases. In other words, they look artsy and aesthetic but not very realistic. 

Using Midjourney for logo design 

A lot of people have been exploring the application of AI art generators like Midjourney in the branding design process. After all, this is one area where you cannot compromise on the originality of the design. And with a logo acting like the face of your brand, you need to get really creative. 

Midjourney can be a great source of inspiration for the logo design process, no doubt. But the designs are not always accurate. 

When we tried generating logo design ideas for a coffee shop, here are the designs that Midjourney came up with. They are pretty aesthetic ideas to begin with. 

Image generated by Midjourney. Midjourney prompt – “logo design for a coffee shop” 

And when we tried generating logo designs for a website design company, here’s what Midjourney came up with. 

Image generated on Midjourney. Midjrouney prompt – “logo design for a website design company, minimalistic, flat design, blue and black” 

There are two things we observed:

  • The designs are not always relevant to the niche. 
  • Generated designs don’t always look unique 

But both these limitations can be big when it comes to logo design which is critical in establishing a brand’s identity and authenticity. 

The pressing concern of copyright issues with AI-generated art

Recently, a comic by the name “Zarya of the Dawn” was in the spotlight for its copyright issues. The comic uses images generated on Midjourney. 

When copyright was filed for the comic, the United States Copyright Office issued its ruling that the authorship is granted to Kristina Kashtanova, the author of the comic but since the images are machine-generated, the copyright does not cover the images. Copyright issues have been the most important element of concern for content creators using AI-generated images. Because copyright claims are currently valid for human authorship and not AI-generated images. 

This is one area where a human graphic designer feels like the safest and foolproof option to create designs. 

With a design subscription like Kimp that supports Whitelabel content, your designs can be created from scratch so that they can be used commercially or even resold without worrying about any intellectual property violations. 

Midjourney prompts – getting the best results 

Midjourney creates a literal interpretation of your prompts. In the coffee shop billboard example, we discussed a while ago, see the difference a descriptive prompt makes. So, when it comes to Midjourney prompts, the more descriptive and accurate your prompts are, the better the designs generated will be. 

In addition to making your prompts descriptive, remember to add all relevant details. This includes:

  • Preferred colors 
  • Logo type if you are generating logo design ideas 
  • Expressions in case you are generating images of people – adding Emojis to your prompts help capture the expressions even more accurately too. 

Finally, remember to mention the visual style you prefer. For example, do you want a realistic image or a 2D illustration style? 

We used the same prompt with a change in the visual style specified and got very different results. 

Image generated on Midjourney. Midjourney prompt – “a robot working on a laptop, retro, illustrated, comic style” 
Image generated on Midjourney. Midjourney prompt – “a robot working on a laptop, realistic”

Similarly, specifying art movements and art styles or even artists and designers known for their signature styles can help improve the results. 

Let’s look at an example. And this time, with respect to logo design. The first image shows the logo design generated by Midjourney for a food truck business. 

Image generated on Midjourney. Midjourney prompt “logo design for a food truck business, yellow and red, minimalistic” 

We created another version adding “Psychedelic style” to the prompt and here’s what it looked like.

Image generated on Midjourney. Midjourney prompt – “logo design for a food truck business, Psychedelic style”

As you can see, by incorporating accurate details into your prompts you can get better results with Midjourney. Furthermore, you can use tools like ChatGPT to perfect your prompts for Midjourney and other AI art generators. 

Create unique marketing designs with Kimp 

Putting together the benefits of AI image generation tools like Midjourney and their limitations, it’s clear that these tools are not going to replace graphic designers. They are more inclined toward becoming collaborative tools that make the graphic design process even more interesting. They are handy in generating ideas or even helping in bridging the gap between designers and clients. But for creating your marketing graphics or even branding designs like logos, a graphic design team like Kimp is still the safest choice. 

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