Design Factsheets


There are many computer aided design (CAD) software packages. There is something for all areas of design:

  • concept development
  • detail design – both 2D and 3D
  • graphics
  • textiles, their management & manufacture
  • animation

There are also a number of software packages available for Web design

Considerations

Primarily, the things you need to consider before selecting a software package are:

  • costs
  • hardware specifications to run the software
  • how complex and time-consuming learning to use the software will be
  • the cost of software telephone support
  • whether the package will be used again.

All of these criteria can vary hugely form package to package.

Significant investment

CAD is usually a significant investment for any business. Before purchasing you should compare several software packages against a standard design procedure at your company, to see which one is most appropriate for your needs. Look for ease of use, compare system performance (across a number of criteria, such as speed and accuracy) and overall cost, including the cost of training. Few people new to CAD can quickly operate a system effectively without a significant period of training and familiarisation.

It may be worth recruiting people with the specific CAD experience that you need. Alternatively, it might be more prudent and cost effective to have all of your team trained on the software. You must also consider how often the CAD software is going to be used, because infrequent use will require retraining, or at least familiarisation, which has a capital (and time) cost.

CAD v bespoke solution

Businesses must consider all of these issues before investing in software (and hardware) and compare the relative costs against a bespoke design solution from an agency or designer. Bespoke solutions are generally good value for money and deliver (with a good brief) exactly what the project requires, whereas CAD might require compromises being made on the project.

If CAD is new to your business, contact your Business Link for information on how you can obtain impartial local advice on what is appropriate for your business needs. A University department may be able to arrange demonstrations and training, as well as helping you develop a system specification. There is also government advice on software training available from Learn Direct.

Whichever choice you make, remember that you can use design to improve your business through the products and services you offer, and you can double its effectiveness by planning for and using design strategically. By thinking the big design picture, rather than focussing on one single product or service, you can link together all of the parts of your company that benefit from design and create a powerful business response that is irresistible to your customers.

‘Bespoke solutions are generally good value for money and deliver (with a good brief) exactly what the project requires, whereas CAD might require compromises being made on the project.’

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