Product design software is a crucial tool that companies use to create 3D/2D renders and mockups. Product design software can help ensure that finished products are free from defects (fixing errors after production can cost you up to 100X more) and meet customer expectations around fit and functionality. If you need 3D/2D rendering software for product designs, you need to get one that will meet your company’s needs.
Up to 94% of your user or customer’s first impressions of your product are design-related. Getting product design right will require modern tools and solutions to support everything from planning to prototyping, to testing. This list is packed with some of the best product design software solutions to support your efforts.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the 10 best product design software for 3D/2D rendering to help you represent your products with greater accuracy.
The Best Product Design Software List
Here’s the list of the best product design platform that I’ll cover in this article
What do I look for when I select the best product design software solution? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Product designers or managers may use different devices during the design process. I’m looking for something compatible with various devices, such as 3D printers, digital drawing boards, smartphones, etc.
- Usability: I’m looking for product design software that is easy to teach and learn, perhaps with online tutorials, dedicated training, self-help resources, and a robust customer support service.
- Integrations: I’m looking for a tool that will work with other essential programs and apps that most designers use like product development tools, diagramming tools, and roadmapping tools.
- Value for $: I’m looking for a software with a wide array of tools but won’t hurt most people’s budgets. Pricing should be scalable, fair for the features offered, and transparent.
Product Design Tools: Key Features
- Component library: The software should have a wide range of embedded crucial components, like buttons and accordions, to make design easier.
- Collaboration: The software should have collaboration tools for teams to work in concert during the design process.
- Asset management/document management: The software should be able to store, track, and share product assets and documents.
- Modeling Versatility: Software that works well with different 3D modeling methods like direct modeling or parametric modeling.
Overviews of The 10 Best Product Design Software
Here’s a brief description of each product design solution to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the interface.
1. Adobe Creative Cloud – Best mobile version
Adobe Creative Cloud is a collection of more than 20 design and production apps you can use to create and edit prototypes. You can use Adobe Creative Cloud to edit films and videos for advertisements, design wireframes, and build 3D product demos. Adobe Creative Cloud includes 100GB of cloud storage you can use for saving and sharing files with other designers.
Adobe Creative Cloud is best for designers who need a program they can use on the go because it has a mobile version compatible with Android and iOS devices. It comes with 2GB of complimentary cloud storage, so you can access your files and designs on any device as long as you have an internet connection. Adobe Creative Cloud provides versatility since you can shoot pictures and videos using your mobile device and edit them immediately.
Adobe Creative Cloud pricing starts at $19.99/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial.
2. Figma – Best for product design collaboration
Figma is a cloud-based collaborative design software you can use to wireframe websites, design mobile app interfaces, create social media posts, and create prototype designs. Figma allows you to use plugins that can help streamline workflow by automating repetitive tasks. You can use Figma to design, present, and collaborate anywhere you are because all your designs are in cloud storage that you can access anytime and anywhere you have an internet connection.
Figma is best for handling projects with team members in different locations because users can build a channel to coordinate and collaborate with other members during the design process. Team members can co-design and critique each other in real-time to see how their design is evolving. Figma’s “observation mode” allows you to shadow every move of the presenter, so you know how a design changes and how to replicate the said changes if needed.
Figma pricing starts at $12/user/month and they have a free-forever plan for 1-team projects.
3. Blender – Best free open-source 3D creation suite
Blender is a free and open-source product design platform that supports modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing, and 2D animation pipelines. It is used by studios and individual artists, professionals and hobbyists, scientists and students, VFX experts, and animators.
Being no-cost and open-source, Blender users need a DIY attitude when it comes to learning, training, and implementation. If you can handle the learning curve and more technical aspects of the software, it’s worth its weight in gold. IT experts have full access to the source code so customizations and integrations are virtually endless. Newbies to product design beware, though—this tool is not for the faint of heart.
Blender is free to download and use on Mac, Windows, or Linux.
3. Onshape – Best for workflow automation
Onshape is a product development platform you can use to accelerate the release of new products by shortening the design process. It has data management capabilities ensuring that design teams are using the latest design data at all times. Its collaboration tools ensure that designers can work together with other team members and view changes in real-time.
Onshape is best for companies that want to increase productivity and minimize production errors through workflow automation. Onshape allows the approval and revision process automation to help promote accountability and ensure the management of all requests. You can use Onshape to set up trigger points for notifications and emails, ensuring that you attend to critical concerns immediately.
Onshape Professional pricing starts at $2,100/user/year, and they offer a 14-day free trial.
5. Inkybay – Best web-to-print solution
Inkybay is a product design software with personalization and design tools you can use to bring your customers’ visions to life. It has embedded multiple designer themes making it ideal for use in whatever line of business you specialize in.
Inkybay is best for businesses that offer web-to-print solutions because it allows you to receive production-ready files to print files sent by customers or other product designers readily. It has a live editing tool that customers can use to choose design elements and print colors they want for product personalization.
You can use Inkybay to customize a wide variety of products, including caps, apparel, shoes, business cards, phone cases, and other items.
Inkybay Pro has a one-time license fee of $2,499 and they offer a 14-day free trial.
6. CATIA – Best for automotive designs
Catia is a design and styling software you can use to create 3D designs or 2D sketches from scratch. It has defect detection capabilities allowing you to immediately improve your design before moving into production. It has a color and trim designer function so you can create product elements around colors, materials, finishes, and grains.
Catia is best for automotive designers because it allows users to evaluate human posture to create safe and comfortable vehicle designs. Its modeling tool lets you create computer-aided designs useful in technical reviews by mechanical engineers. It has a style modeler feature you can use to create, edit, and analyze ergonomic shapes so you can come up with Class-A surface quality on your products.
Catia pricing is available upon request.
7. SOLIDWORKS – Best for 3D sculpting
SOLIDWORKS is a 3D CAD software you can use to create, review, and evaluate 3D designs. It allows you to create custom dashboards so other design members can review and share crucial data. SOLIDWORKS is a cloud-based platform allowing users to access, annotate, manage, and share designs wherever they are.
SOLIDWORKS is best for 3D sculpting because it makes the design process easier through intuitive push-pull interaction. It allows industrial and mechanical engineers to collaborate on the same product model to speed up the design process. This modeling tool also helps eliminate errors by immediately updating your 3D Sculptor files as you work so other team members are aware of design changes.
SOLIDWORKS pricing is available upon request.
8. Nuxeo – Best for consumer packaged goods companies
Nuxeo is a digital asset creation and management program you can use to curate 3D and 360° assets to ensure effective supply chain management. It allows you to automate simple administrative tasks so your creative team can focus on designing products for your company. Nuxeo has an audit trail that allows the review, annotation, and approval of designs wherever you are.
Nuxeo is best for consumer packaged goods because it allows designers to quickly implement product design changes to avoid delays of product launches. Nuxeo has an intuitive search filtering system to sort products according to materials, colors, availability, and price. Nuxeo allows users to create workspaces where creative teams can collaborate, communicate and share files with other team members.
Nuxeo’s pricing is available upon request.
9. Autodesk Suite – Best for industrial design
Autodesk’s Product Design and Manufacturing collection provide users with extended capabilities to AutoCAD and Inventor to run simulations and production layouts to ensure the functionality of a manufacturing system. It connects to Fusion 360, so you can produce high-quality renderings of 3D models. Autodesk allows virtual prototyping so you can review designs without using up local resources.
Autodesk is best for designing complex products, equipment, and systems because it has a tolerance analysis feature to help ensure that systems can handle operational stress. It allows industrial designers to create manufacturing documentation, ensuring that systems comply with the quality standards. Autodesk provides users with a central storage system to view all data in the product development process ensuring collaboration between different departments.
Autodesk pricing costs $2,855/year/license and offers a free trial for 30 days.
10. KRFTWRK – Best for app & website design
KRFTWRK is a product design and digital marketing agency specializing in prototyping web and mobile applications. Aside from building websites, KRFTWRK also helps companies build their brand to establish a foothold in their niche market. It has a product management feature that helps ensure your creative team meets their deadline while staying within budget.
KRFTWRK is best for app and website design because it has a drag-and-drop UI functionality that allows users to update their app or website even if they don’t have web development experience. KRFTWRK has a generous selection of page template builds you can choose from that makes creating a website from scratch easy. It also allows you to incorporate search engine optimization in your website to ensure that your site appears on top of search results.
KRFTWRK pricing is available upon request.
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Other Product Design Tools
Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list:
- Affinity Designer – Vector and raster design tools for concept art, UI, and mockups optimized for Mac, Windows and iPad.
- Balsamique – UI wireframing tool for website and app creation.
- ZBrush – Digital sculpting tool that combines 3D modeling, painting, and texturing in one program.
- Rhinoceros – Rhino is a free-form 3D modeling tool to create illustrations, renders, NURBS, and animations.
- OpenSCAD – Free product design software with a bit of a learning curve for new users. Good for constructive solid geometry & extrusion of 2D outlines.
Build Your Vision with Product Design Software
Product design software is without a doubt a great tool in the creation and visualization process because it allows teams to observe how products look and feel before mass production. The right design tool can shorten the product build lifecycle and help prevent costly errors from reaching the production stage.
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