Nikolay Ironov


MOSCOW, June 26, 2020, 00:00

A Russian design studio has developed an AI designer and, for over a year, have been passing it off as a human. To date, the network has been used successfully in over 20 of the studio’s commercial projects.

Art. Lebedev Studio has come up with an AI genuinely capable of handling complex creative tasks, such as generating completely original logos and creating brand identities based on them.

The project was developed in complete secrecy by an isolated team at the Studio. In the name of conspiracy, the AI was introduced as a remote employee with his own profile, portfolio, and name — Nikolay Ironov. This meant the team could manage any risk of leaks, while also gathering valuable feedback from clients on Nikolay Ironov’s work — free from any prejudice against generative design.

The results exceeded all expectations. Over the last 12 months, Ironov has developed logos for real clients (cafes, bars, influencers, apps and consumer goods).
Ironov’s portfolio:

The photo of Nikolay was also generated. It was created by a neural network from photos of all employees of the studio.

All clients were unaware that their designs were being created by a machine. Nikolay Ironov’s work was approved by clients and then released to huge audiences. Today, Ironov’s work can be seen in businesses throughout Russia, on branded products, and in endless YouTube clips. The AI’s unique style led to a number of the logos attracting considerable public interest, media attention, and discussion in online communities.

Designers, even the more daring and progressive ones, are often defined by the work of their peers, international award juries, and their own experiences. Given that Artificial design intelligence sidesteps all this, Nikolay Ironov is free to utilise techniques that no human would ever consider. By taking bold and unexpected steps, he is able to create the genuinely new.

This event marks the moment that the mass automation of creative processes becomes a reality for businesses.


Nikolay Ironov is much more than your run-of-the-mill neural network. This sophisticated system analyses information about companies, generates the essence of a concept, and comes up with an endless flow of related imagery. It can also compile colour schemes, handle compositional tasks, and come up with patterns and 3D models. Nikolay Ironov can replace a human at every stage of creating an identity — from searching for an idea to designing ways to apply an identity.

ironov cards

A huge number of factors influence the AI’s decision-making process, with the outcomes determined by a unique combination of signals from various data analysis systems and image generators. The network uses a set of interwoven algorithms so complex that, in some cases, developers can’t even tell how any given result was achieved.

This allows one to create a unique design, free from restrictive external influences such as environment, fashion and authority.

This is not an experiment

Nikolay Ironov can handle real commercial tasks effectively. He is available 24 hours a day. He does not get sick. He does not experience crippling creative blocks. He is always developing and can complete tasks in a matter of seconds. More importantly, his designs are completely unique.

Ironov’s algorithms are backed up by the Studio’s hard-won industry expertise. At the same time, he has the freedom to surprise even his creators.

The future

This technology is still developing. The ideas that we generated while building Nikolay Ironov will have applications far beyond the graphic design industry and will ultimately lead to the appearance of new solutions in industrial design, architecture, fashion, and many other industries.

artistic director

art director and designer


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3D designer and animator

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