Close this search box.
Designing the Future: Unveiling the Power of Computer-Aided Design in Interior and Fashion

Designing the Future: Unveiling the Power of Computer-Aided Design in Interior and Fashion

What is computer-aided design? Perhaps better known by its acronym “CAD,” computer-aided design places the design process in virtual space to offer innumerable benefits to professionals such as architects, engineers, drafters, planners and the designers of everything from products to cities. As defined by the CAD software developer PTC, computer-aided design “is a way to digitally create 2D drawings and 3D models of real-world products before they’re ever manufactured,” allowing designers to “share, review, simulate, and modify designs easily.”

In short, CAD ranks as one of the most transformative digital design tools since the birth of the drafting table. Read on for an investigation of the ways in which CAD technology and techniques can benefit interior designers and fashion designers specifically.

The Rise of CAD in Design

Before examining the use of CAD in the worlds of interior and fashion design, it may be helpful to gain a general understanding of the technology and just how revolutionary it has been as a practical design tool.

The Historical Context

Before the birth of CAD technology and other digital drafting platforms, engineers had to use specialized equipment such as T-squares to draw in pencil on large sheets of paper set on drafting desks or drawing boards. Among its other disadvantages, this type of paper-based design made making changes to drawn designs difficult if not impossible. In fact, designers often had to scrap existing sketches entirely and begin new ones again from scratch multiple times.

The Technological Leap

Design changed forever in 1957 when General Electric computer scientist Dr. Patrick Hanratty developed the first numerical control system under the name PRONTO (Program for Numerical Tooling). This early CAD prototype soon gave birth to MTD (Machine Tool Director) an incredibly innovative software program for machine tools. Dr. Hanratty could have never imagined that he would earn the moniker the “Father of CAD” for giving birth to a technological industry that has taken work in engineering, architecture, manufacturing and many other specialized professional fields to a whole new level of excellence.

CAD in Interior Design

Like technology in many other industries and fields, interior design technology took a massive step forward with the advent of CAD. Interior designers widely employ CAD platforms to create traditional 2D floor plans as well as hyper-realistic 3D models. They can use these plans and models to complete projects and build portfolios.

Transforming Spaces Digitally

In the real world, you cannot take fresh paint off a wall in your home to try another look. But in the digital realm, you can cycle through any number of paint colors and textures, watching them appear and disappear on your walls with the click of a mouse. Thanks to interior design simulation and space planning software, you can experiment with ease and show clients multiple options to choose among.

Before and After CAD

From digital sketching tools to construction scheduling aids, CAD technology can do wonders when it comes to developing an aesthetic vision and managing a design project workflow. Considering its overwhelming impact on the art and science of interior design, the history of the field can be divided into “before CAD” and “after CAD” eras.

CAD in Fashion Design

The birth of CAD technology had a similarly monumental impact as a fashion design innovation. Computer-aided fashion design offers incredible functionality when it comes to developing layouts and blueprints for a fashion collection.

Revolutionizing the Runway

The clothing industry consultancy Lefty Production Co. champions digital fashion design as a transformative force for a variety of reasons. “From mass market fashion to haute couture, CAD can come in handy in various fields in the fashion design industry,” Lefty officials note. “Using CAD, designers can create designs faster and more precisely. CAD can also help adapt one design to various versions, aiding designers to create new pieces more easily.” Particularly useful when it comes to incorporating intricate details into clothing and accessories, CAD fashion design software can ensure that embossed stitching, rows of sequins and other embellishments look good before you take the painstaking time to finish them. Pattern-making software is also amazingly adept at drafting repeating motifs for fabric and other materials.

Designer Spotlight

Fashion designer Martha Robinson provides some great examples of what CAD technology can do for professionals in her chosen field. Beyond using CAD tools to achieve the perfect digital sketch, she points to the technology’s ability to change details in those sketches instantly, share those changes with collaborators and catch potentially costly design mistakes prior to production.

Benefits of CAD

Read on for just a few of the advantages that come with entering the virtual world to design on a CAD platform. From Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to Koledo and Optitex, different platform brands come with different pros and cons. Therefore, it is vital to do a comprehensive CAD software comparison before committing to a final choice. Here are just a few specific benefits that CAD offers:

Precision and Efficiency

One of the greatest advantages of CAD software is its ability to ensure full, detailed accuracy in every design element. In the fields of interior design and fashion design, this emphasis on precision not only drives the quality of aesthetic results but can have important functional and safety implications as well. Even more remarkably, CAD can achieve incredibly high levels of accuracy with a speed that designers working with pencil and paper can only dream of. In the words of the industrial training organization G2G Innovation Training, “CAD allows for quick and seamless modification of designs, facilitating efficient iteration and exploration of various concepts. This agility significantly speeds up the design process.”

Creativity Unleashed

From its single-click interactivity to its task automation capabilities, CAD technology takes care of massive amounts of formerly time-consuming “busy work.” This leaves designers free to concentrate on more important matters that require the spark of human creativity. Furthermore, CAD facilitates easy collaboration among design teams to drive group brainstorming, improve idea sharing, and maximize experimentalism.

“It takes care of the technical aspects of designing so that artists can focus more on the creative aspects,” writes Lefty Production Co. “Streamlining the whole design process, CAD can help designers try out various combinations without as much trial-and-error and with time-efficiency.”

Overcoming Challenges With CAD

Although it is certainly the single most important design innovation technology developed in the past century, CAD also comes with noteworthy downsides. Here are just a couple of major obstacles that might stand in the way of using CAD effectively:

The Learning Curve

If you’ve done any research on the topic or spoken to just a handful of people who have trained in CAD, you have probably heard that the learning curve in digital design can be a bit steep to say the least. But CAD – like bike riding, piano playing, and countless other activities that can seem impossible at first – gradually becomes second nature after you have mastered certain fundamentals. Just remember the adage “practice makes perfect,” and don’t let frustration get the best of you.

“At first glance, learning AutoCAD appears to be a daunting task,” admits the New York design and coding school Noble Desktop. “But experts and average users agree that anyone can learn AutoCAD; it just takes time and practice.”

Depending on an individual’s existing tech abilities, educational resources, chosen software and level of commitment, training in CAD can vary considerably. While model students might learn the essentials in a month, others might struggle for a year or more before they can use CAD software effectively.

Keeping up With Technology

While the basic CAD design operations and functions are relatively universal and stable, individual CAD platforms are always evolving as the engineers constantly refine specifications, add features and make improvements. This means that digital designers cannot simply master CAD and then say goodbye to training. In fact, they must remain committed to lifelong learning. Because CAD software evolves in pace with the computer hardware and systems that support it, digital designers must remain up to date with all there is to know about the rapidly changing tech world.

The Future of Design With CAD

So, what do digital design experts see when they look to the future of CAD? Continue reading to learn about the ways in which specific technologies and sustainability efforts are shaping the CAD of tomorrow.

Emerging Technological Trends

You don’t have to be a tech enthusiast to know that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are transforming the way professionals do things in countless sectors and fields. So, it should come as little surprise that smart CAD systems can not only automate mindless routine tasks but make key decisions to optimize projects. The CAD software developer Neural Concept lists generating design variations and conducting model simulations among the many benefits of incorporating AI and ML into CAD. Neural Concept also discusses the promise that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) hold for CAD. “This integration will enable designers and engineers to visualize and interact with their designs in real time, making it easier to identify and resolve issues before the physical production of products.”

Sustainability and CAD

Beyond its continual technological evolution, CAD is placing a greater emphasis on environmental sustainability. CAD’s eco-friendly capabilities should be evident to anyone who has created anything in the digital realm. Unlike real materials like wallpaper and fabric, the digital facsimiles of these materials create no waste when they are made, used and thrown away. CAD can also reduce or eliminate waste through precision measurements and managed resource consumption.

To Learn More

Ready to explore the full implications of CAD in the worlds of interior design and fashion design? Then consider college training at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD), where you can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Design or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Interior Design on our beautiful campus in Lakewood, Colorado. We also offer online Fashion Design BFA and online Interior Design BFA programs.


We're accepting applications for our next session. No fee, Apply Today!

Classes Starting Soon!

Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design Campus

No Application fee