Ideogram – AI image text generation tool explained

What is Ideogram AI?

What is Ideogram AI

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AI image generators have been plagued by the inability to create legible and meaningful text – until now. Ideogram AI image text generation may be the solution we’ve been waiting for.

What is Ideogram AI?

Ideogram is a startup AI text-to-image service based in Toronto, Canada. It can generate digital images, including company logos, from just a text prompt. Founded by former Google Brain researchers, Ideogram AI launched with $16.5 million USD in seed funding from a16z, Index Ventures, aix ventures, and small fish ventures, among others. This is a small raise compared with the funding of their competition – however, the smaller firm has a key technological advantage that could claw it a sizable market share regardless.

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The AI picture generator is already making waves at launch, attracting attention from notable industry brains David Ha, founder of Sakana AI and Margaret Mitchell, both ex- Google. The web app interface offers multiple preset styles of image generation, alongside the “typography” setting we discuss here.

It’s significant as a Midjourney competitor, because Ideogram AI is unusually good at text rendering. Typography has been one of the final frontiers of the AI generator industry. Alongside human faces and human hands, reliable text generation has eluded absolutely everyone – until now?

The new platform promises to solve this problem. Featuring a slideshow of examples on the signup page, the beta is available for sign-up now.

Ideogram beta signup
Example of text generated with Ideogram AI on the sign-up page.

Can AI image generators write text?

Most AI art generators are notoriously bad at producing sharp, legible, and realistic text as part of an otherwise high-quality AI-generated image. Instead, text-to-image generators will typically be plagued by the following problems:

Issues with AI image text generation

Lack of sharpness: Typefaces are sharply defined. When typing in a word processing or graphic design software (like MS Word or Photoshop), you know exactly what you’re going to get, because the typeface is essentially a library of pre-defined shapes. You can go back and edit written text, and the font thereof.

AI image generators do not work like this at all.

Their attempts at producing (what we know to be) text are executed the same way they produce a human face, or an abstract shape. There is no library of pre-defined shapes to call from – instead, it is inventing these shapes from example. That example being the general concept of what other letters look like. The average of two different typefaces, in a geometric sense, is messy. You cannot compromise or combine two typefaces. Therefore, making AI generate one specific typeface with the same sharpness as you’d expect from a word processor or graphic design software is pretty tricky.

Unrealistic text: The text generated as part of an AI image is, at this moment in history, not good. As explained above, the AI art generator is not explicitly “typing” anything into the image. There is no guarantee that the text you submit will appear letter for letter in the end result. These image generators have a general concept of what other letters look like. That’s it. As a result, you’ll be hard pressed to find a single real word in the image. Letters will be mixed around, if they accurately portray an existing letter at all.

Ideogram image generator prompt
Prompt for Ideogram AI using typography model
Ideogram AI image text
Output from the above prompt

What’s the best AI image generator for text?

Ideogram appears to be the best AI image generator for text, alongside the niche model DeepFloyd IF.

Other options such as OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 and Stable Diffusion from Stability AI are no better than the current reigning champ, Midjourney. Yet, despite the aesthetic quality, high-quality text rendering is not included in that praise.

By comparison, here is Midjourney’s response to the same prompt:

Midjourney prompt to generate text
Midjourney prompt to generate text
Midjourney AI generated image
Midjourney AI generated image with text

FAQs

What is an AI image?

An AI image is a image created by artificial intelligence. This is used synonymously with AI art. It may also be called an AI photo, if it was intended to resemble the medium of photography. That image can then be edited by a human afterwards, leading Twitter users to believe they can solve the Theseus ship paradox.

What is an AI image generator?

An AI image generator is the software the produces an AI image.

Is there a free text to image generator?

Yes, there are multiple free text-to-image generators. However, they’re typically not both high-quality and user-friendly.

Is text to image AI free?

Sometimes, yes. This varies between AI tools. SDXL from Stability AI is the best free image generator, but does not accomplish the text clarity that Ideogram proposes.