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Creating in Sets: Our Monster Alphabet


Midjourney continues to be an instrumental tool, shaping how we evolve in our profession – specifically, how we imagine and create. 

Frequently, and without even realizing it, we humans (not just the pros) imagine and create in sets. “Set Creation” or “Sets” can play a pivotal role in the brainstorming and the early idea stage of visual processes. 

Sets can also play an essential role in how first impressions are made. Sets help the brain zoom out to see a bigger picture. They help emphasize consistency. And they help us take in high-level information rapidly. 

Midjourney, now up to version 5.2 as of this writing, is an exemplary tool for rapid ideation through set creation methods.

Let’s dive in and celebrate our favorite season by creating a monster-themed alphabet…

zoom in if you dare

Behind The Scenes

The goals we set out for:

The results of the process:

For a few hours a day, over the course of a week (and one thousand, three hundred and thirty-nine sketches later), 26 little monsters birthed themselves this Halloween season.

Some letters came easily. Some were quite difficult to create. 

Side note for our other AI design nerds: Perhaps the unexpected difficulty when creating a few specific letters is due to the current limitations of the language libraries these tools are powered by. For comparison, a Google search for “the letter i” shows about two billion fewer results than “the letter d.”

That means getting more creative with prompts. Instead of “i”, maybe something that resembles an “i” like an architectural column. This is just one small example for generating more potential ideas.

The hunch here is that visual references of some letters may not exist as frequently as others from wherever they are sourced. Hey, we could be wrong! If you have further insights, we’d love to hear from you.

But… Yes. From start to finish, 1,339 letter “sketches” were created during the making of this alphabet. And that’s Midjourney in a nutshell (so far). It’s a constant process of nuancing the tool’s features (like this year’s introductions of –Weird and –Chaos parameters). And it’s a never-ending experiment with how well prompts are understood, what order prompts are written, and how to think in more explicit words. Or arbitrary words too. Because remember, this is a brainstorming process.

zoom in for a scare

Our prompts for these creatures eventually took shape in the following approximate format, each with subtle changes per style:

(primary subject) (doing x) (in the preferred visual style) (other miscellaneous details such as background, lighting, mood, references) (parameters)

In our case, this translated to:

An illustrated monster inside of the capital letter (X) shape, vintage horror comic style, CMYK, dripping, gritty overlay, dark background --c 23

Add some interesting, descriptive, and stylistic changes throughout, then sprinkle in some –chaos and some patience, and we’ve got ourselves a complete set – our Monster Alphabet.

zoom in to stare

This was a fun experiment, and these monster letters remain unedited. We could take them a step further and apply additional visual styles for even more consistency atop what was already created, using tools like Photoshop or similar. But we have clients to attend to.

But What Does It Mean?!

We’re constantly peering into the future, which comes with some optimism and intrigue mixed with just a bit of tension for the unknown. Will AI continue to enhance the creative process? Or will it destroy the careers that are inching us toward mastery? Perhaps all of the above. But it’s an exciting prospect we can’t ignore.

For now, we’re rapidly blurring the lines between human imagination and technological capabilities. As AI ventures even deeper into our profession, traditional processes will likely see significant transformations, leading to an enhanced generation of novel ideas.

The key to it all, at least within the clouds of Culture Pilot, is a reminder to remain open-minded, continue exploring the unknown, and embrace the power of dreaming and creating in sets.

Happy Halloween from all of us at Culture Pilot 🎃

zoom in for hair


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