I’ve been an industrial designer for a long time, so long in fact, that I still have Prismacolor pencils, pastels, markers and gouache (long ago dried out) that I used to execute product design sketches and renderings. I still sketch quite a bit with pencils and pens. However, there are also a lot of ID software packages out there today for different budgets and needs.
With all these ID software choices, you can narrow them down with a few basic features and capabilities that you’ll need for ID:
GUI — A good one is essential for minimizing the learning curve (which can be very steep) and fitting in with the way you work.
Sketching — For mimicking napkin drawing medium, and not with contstraints and parameters, easy and fast sketching ability is an absolute.
Surfacing — Freeform, organic shapes require top-notch surfacing, above and beyond basic 3D modeling.
Rendering — Communicating a design to others inside the company or to customers outside is much more effective with high-quality renderings.
Export — ID is not a standalone endeavor and the ability to export to other CAD packages for refinement is key — in native and/or neutral file formats.
We don’t have room to detail all of the ID software possibilities, but some of the more notable packages include:
Any others you care to add? Let us know.
In the future, I’ll put together a matrix that lists the products above and their features for comparison purposes for aspiring and practicing industrial designers.