PRODUCT DESIGN SOFTWARE

Innovate your product line in record time

Accelerate growth and stay ahead of the competition with product design software from Autodesk.

Designer sitting next to desk with product prototype illustration hovering on desk

Uncover customer insights. Outpace the competition.

Designing complex equipment, components, industrial products, consumer, and specialty products requires a mature approach to design engineering. Autodesk product design software can help you balance innovation with customer needs while balancing expanded offerings with the time it takes to bring those offerings to life. 

Read how industry leaders develop an agile approach with Autodesk to uncover powerful insights, respond to opportunities quicker, and deliver products their customers love.

Transform your business with product design software

Accelerate quality

Design with efficiency and eliminate the disconnect with manufacturing to turn concepts into profitable, quality products for your customers.

Move with agility

Respond rapidly to data insights and stakeholder feedback, fast-tracking concept designs from prototype to desirable product.

Boost desirability

Incorporate insight from colleagues and customers with integrated data management that helps you track changes rapidly and accurately.

Innovate rapidly

Create innovation capacity, design smart products, and add service offerings—all while saving time on physical prototype requirements.

How top manufacturers drive growth with product design software

Drive breakthrough innovation with CAD for product design

Model-based definition (MBD)

Shorten time to market—without reducing quality—by including all geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) symbols and data, materials, engineering configurations, and more, right in your 3D model.

Design automation

Automate repetitive tasks and free up your design and engineering teams to focus on innovating breakthrough products, all while minimizing errors. Then scale everything up to accelerate downstream development processes.

Simulation

Minimize physical prototypes and test ideas before you make them with a wide range of simulation tools. Uncover powerful, data-driven insights that help you identify the best ways to design and build better products.

Manufacturing documentation

Automate product documentation and manufacturing data for bills of materials (BOM), nesting, CAM toolpaths, and more—in a single software environment—to accelerate downstream processes and improve time to market.

Manufacturing process automation

Unlock powerful automated CAM workflows and CNC toolpaths for both simple and complex geometries with comprehensive support for 2 & 3-axis, 3+2, 4 & 5-axis milling, as well as additive, subtractive, and hybrid manufacturing.

Product lifecycle management (PLM)

Increase development agility, reduce non-value-add processes, and improve product quality with powerful tools that connect people, processes, and data within a single, secure data model that you can audit and control.

Design for manufacture (DFM)

Bridge the gap between design and manufacturing. By considering manufacturing processes, materials, and constraints during the design phase, your teams can reduce errors, production time, costs, and overall time to market.

Prototyping

Investigate as many design options as possible before incurring large expenses. Then deliver your most promising ideas to fabricators quickly and easily, with open lines of communication both inside and outside your organization.

Consumer product design

Lean into agile development workflows to collaborate with teams and collect feedback from real customers. Then imagine, design, manufacture, and deliver smarter, more beautiful products that keep you ahead of the competition.

Product design software

Get Inventor + AutoCAD + Fusion 360 + more – Professional-grade tools for product development and manufacturing planning


Professional-grade product design and engineering tools for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualisation and documentation.


Cloud-based 3D CAD/CAM/CAE software for product design


Product data management software – available as Vault Basic, Vault Professional, Vault Office


Stay up to date on product design best practices

3D rendering of Lifecycle Insights Report

LIFECYCLE INSIGHTS REPORT 

Deliver more value with agile development

In today’s competitive product marketplace, more of your peers are taking a page from the software world and adopting agile development processes. Discover how product manufacturers are seeking new ways to deliver greater value to their customers.


3D rendering of Autodesk design and engineering webinars

WEBINARS

View design and engineering webinars

Learn from Autodesk experts about product design and engineering tips, tricks, and best practices. View our extensive library of webinars to learn how you can establish new processes for product innovation, take your designs from good to great, and prepare for what’s next in your industry.


3D rendering of Autodesk Report

AUTODESK REPORT 

Explore the latest trends in consumer electronics

The world’s leading consumer electronics companies are tackling sustainability challenges with new design approaches. Explore the reasons for their focus, the challenges they face, and the approaches that have worked for them.


Accelerate product development breakthroughs with help from Autodesk

Talk to a sales representative about how a more agile approach with Autodesk product design solutions can help you design your next product line.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on product design software

What is a product?

A product is an item manufactured to benefit your customers. Your services can also be referred to as your product. Nowadays, many "smart" products merge physical items with internet-connected digital services, which offer ongoing value to the customer beyond the physical item's value.

What is product design?

Product design is the process of imagining, creating, and iterating on solutions that solve problems for customers in commercial sectors like industrial machinery or automotive manufacturing, or directly for the public in sectors such as consumer products.

 

The product design process begins with research to understand the market and customer needs. Designers use knowledge, empathy, and creativity to conceptualize solutions.

 

Hand sketches, prototypes, technical drawings, and 3D models are created to communicate and review the proposed product design solution and to coordinate the design process among stakeholders. Further prototyping is used to test and validate concept designs with real customers.

 

The final output is a product requirements document, specification, technical drawing, and visuals. Typically, product designers work with design engineers to develop concept designs ready for manufacturing.

 

Jobs in product design could include design manager, industrial designer, product designer, UI/UX designer, graphic designer, animation designer, design engineer, technical designer, design drafter, CAD designer, and CAD operator.

What do product designers do?

Product designers use research, creativity, and empathy to understand customers' problems and propose a product that fulfills their needs.

 

The concept must meet customer requirements and be delivered profitably. Product designers work with marketing and business strategy teams to make decisions on which product concepts to develop. Product designers work on the successful concepts with engineering teams to fully develop the design, and with marketing teams to launch the product.

 

The concept design is shared with various stakeholders, including marketing, engineering, manufacturing, and distribution, using images and prototypes. To conceptualize the design, 3D CAD models can be employed, and these models are often repurposed by the engineering team during the product development process.

 

Product design is a highly collaborative process, including multiple disciplines from business strategy and marketing to engineering and manufacturing. The design process includes feedback from customers, suppliers, sales, manufacturing specialists, and project managers.

What is the product design process?

The product design process is crucial for successful product development businesses. The business objective is to provide a profitable product that meets customer needs. Product development is constrained by budget, design capacity, and time to market.

 

The product design process is collaborative and may involve specialists from business strategy, market research, and user experience (UX) design. Once the business has agreed on the problem that they want to solve for customers, product designers work with UX designers, concept artists, graphic designers, and prototyping experts to develop concepts.

 

The concept design phase is a cyclical process involving multiple rounds of prototyping , evaluation, and review until a product concept is defined that is expected to meet customer requirements, be produced profitably, and stand out in the market. The final output is a product requirements document, specification, technical drawing, and visuals.

 

When the business agrees to move forward with a concept, the product designer oversees the development of the design by the engineering team. The engineers take into consideration manufacturing techniques, suppliers, and the practicalities of distribution, use, and end-of-life.

 

The product design team also works with marketing and distribution on product packaging, and advertising to launch the product.

What is product design software used for?

Product design software helps designers by automating tasks, tracking processes, and enabling collaboration among designers and stakeholders such as project management, procurement, manufacturing, or customers.

 

Product designers use software to create 2D concept sketches, 3D models for visualization and prototyping, and presentations, and to manage design data, tasks, and communication. Product designers may also use generative design AI software to inspire ideas, or to generate multiple solutions to design problems.

 

Extended reality (XR) is increasingly being utilized to help stakeholders visualize concepts without the need for a physical prototype, saving both time and money.

 

Using a 3D CAD model and hardware devices such as mobile devices or specialized VR headsets, stakeholders can view the digital model in the real-world context, helping them assess the feasibility of the design.

 

The technology helps to easily display multiple design configurations, including variations in size, material, or color. During design review, stakeholders can directly experience the effect of changes made to the concept design in real time.

What CAD programs do product designers use?

Computer-aided design software for product design can include:

  • 2D computer-aided design for fast ideation and the creation of technical drawings
  • 3D computer-aided design for conceptual modeling and rapid prototyping in conjunction with additive and/or subtractive CAM (computer-aided manufacturing).
  • Visualization software is used to create computer-generated imagery (CGI) or digital renderings of designs to help communicate the design to stakeholders. Renderings can be photorealistic still images or animations showing how the design operates.
  • Generative design uses algorithms and computational power to explore and generate multiple design options based on specified constraints and goals.
  • Virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) software and hardware can be used to allow humans to interact directly with CGI to help visualize the design.

How is a CAD system used in product design?

Computer-aided design (CAD) software is extensively used in product design to create, modify, and analyze virtual models of products.

 

Here are some ways CAD systems are used in product design:

  1. Creating 2D and 3D models: CAD software allows designers to create detailed 2D and 3D models of products. These models can be visualized from different angles, enabling designers to assess the aesthetics, functionality, and feasibility of the design.
  2. Design iteration and modification: CAD systems facilitate easy modification and iteration of designs. Designers can quickly change the virtual model, test different variations, and evaluate the impact of modifications on the overall product without having to spend time making multiple physical prototypes.
  3. Visualization and simulation: CAD software provides realistic visualizations and simulations of the product. This helps designers and stakeholders to visualize the final product, identify potential issues, and make informed decisions about design improvements.
  4. Collaboration and communication: CAD systems enable designers to collaborate with team members, engineers, and clients. Designs can be shared electronically, allowing for real-time feedback, comments, and suggestions. This improves communication and streamlines the design process.
  5. Design analysis and optimization: CAD software includes tools for analyzing and optimizing designs. Engineers can perform stress analysis, simulate motion, conduct thermal analysis, and evaluate other performance factors. This helps identify potential design flaws and optimize the product for better performance and reliability.
  6. Documentation and manufacturing: CAD systems generate accurate and detailed technical drawings, specifications, and documentation required for manufacturing. These drawings can be used by manufacturers to produce the product accurately and efficiently.

Overall, CAD systems play a crucial role in product design by enhancing productivity, enabling design exploration, improving communication, and facilitating the transition from concept to production.

What are the benefits of using CAD in product design?

CAD, or computer-aided design, is a valuable tool in the product design process. CAD helps designers rapidly iterate through multiple concepts. Generative design can even propose design solutions, from which the designer can then select concepts to explore further.

 

Using digital 3D CAD modeling, designers can explore aesthetics and practicalities and gather feedback while reducing the need for physical prototypes, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

 

Additionally, CAD automates the process of creating final deliverables such as computer-generated images (CGI) and technical drawings.

 

With the help of CAD software, designers free up time to focus on problem solving and receiving feedback, reducing the design cycle time and increasing productivity, while maintaining the quality of the design process.

Why is CAD important in product design?

CAD (computer-aided design) is important in product design for several reasons:

  • Efficiency and speed: CAD software allows designers to create, modify, and iterate on designs much more quickly and efficiently compared to traditional manual drafting methods. Designers can easily make changes, explore different design options, and test ideas, saving significant time and effort in the design process.
  • Accuracy and precision: CAD systems enable designers to create highly accurate and precise designs. The software provides tools for precise measurements, alignment, and geometric constraints, ensuring that the design meets the required specifications and tolerances.
  • Visualization and communication: CAD software provides realistic visualizations of the product design, allowing designers and stakeholders to visualize the final product before it is manufactured. This helps in better communication and understanding of the design intent, reducing the chances of misinterpretation or errors.
  • Design exploration and iteration: CAD systems facilitate design exploration by allowing designers to quickly create and test multiple design variations. Designers can easily modify parameters, evaluate different options, and compare the performance and aesthetics of different designs. This iterative process helps in refining the design and finding the optimal solution.
  • Simulation and analysis: CAD software often includes simulation and analysis tools that allow designers to evaluate the performance and behavior of the product design. Engineers can perform stress analysis, motion simulation, thermal analysis, and other tests to identify potential issues and optimize the design for better performance and reliability.
  • Documentation and manufacturing: CAD systems generate accurate and detailed technical drawings, specifications, and documentation required for manufacturing. These drawings can be easily shared with manufacturers, ensuring that the product is produced accurately and efficiently.
  • Collaboration and version control: CAD software helps designers collaborate with team members, engineers, and clients. Designs can be shared electronically, allowing for real-time feedback, comments, and suggestions. CAD systems also provide version control, ensuring that design changes are tracked and managed effectively.

Overall, CAD plays a crucial role in product design by improving efficiency, accuracy, visualization, communication, and collaboration. It helps designers bring their ideas to life, explore design possibilities, and create high-quality products.

What is the best Autodesk software for product design?

Autodesk offers several software options for product design, each with its own strengths and capabilities. The choice of the best Autodesk software for product design depends on various factors, including the specific requirements of the project and the preferences of the designer. Here are some popular Autodesk software options for product design:

  • Autodesk Inventor: Inventor is a powerful 3D CAD software product created for mechanical design, simulation, and documentation. It offers a comprehensive set of tools for creating and editing 3D models, performing simulations, and generating technical drawings. Inventor is highly configurable to meet your corporate standards, and with Autodesk Vault aids collaboration across your enterprise.
  • Autodesk Fusion 360: Fusion 360 is cloud-based 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE software that provides a holistic approach to product design. It combines design, engineering, and manufacturing capabilities in a single platform. Fusion 360 offers features such as parametric modeling, simulation, rendering, collaboration tools, and integrated 3D printing and CAM functionality.
  • Autodesk AutoCAD: AutoCAD is a widely used CAD software product that offers a range of tools for 2D drafting and 3D modeling. AutoCAD is used for 2D layouts, rapid iteration on 2D conceptual designs, and as an interface between CAD and CAM or CAD and graphic design software.
  • Autodesk Alias: Alias is specialized software for industrial design and surface modeling. It is commonly used in automotive and consumer product design industries. Alias provides best in class toolsets for creating complex, organic shapes and surfaces, as well as visualization and rendering capabilities.
  • Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection: The collection includes Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Vault, ReCap, and Navisworks. Including add-ons for Inventor such as Inventor tolerance analysis, Inventor CAM, and Inventor Nastran, it provides a comprehensive set of tools for product design, simulation, visualization, and manufacturing. The collection is suitable for design and engineering teams who require a wide range of capabilities.

The best Autodesk software for product design depends on the needs and preferences of the designer and the organization, as well as the complexity of the product and the production chain. Evaluate the features, capabilities, and compatibility of each software option to determine the most suitable choice.

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