During the 1960s, organizations such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began developing the first computer-aided design software for internal use. Within a decade, CAD programs entered the mainstream, as IBM and other technology giants installed this software onto solid-state computers that were available to rent for thousands per month. The rise of desktop computers made CAD software more accessible, leading a large number of architecture and design firms to adopt the technology in the 1980s. Then, in 1982, a lowly software provider named Autodesk debuted what would become the preeminent computer program for architectural and industrial design: AutoCAD. The program offered inventive layer-based drafting tools and a vast hatch-mark library, giving firms the power to quickly create detailed yet easy-to-understand renderings for countless objects, The New York Times reported.
In the years since, AutoCAD has grown into an industry staple. Autodesk now boasts more than 200 million customers worldwide, many of which utilize AutoCAD. The company continues to take its premier solution to new places in 2018, adding functionality to support numerous new design tasks, including the production of biological materials, according to The Times.
Even so, AutoCAD remains the go-to solution for construction, design and architectural firms. Why? The solution offers a number of indisputable benefits.
1) Increased speed and productivity
Instead of repeating design tasks like creating doorways or generating individual floor tiles, architects and designers develop batch features, saving them considerable time. AutoCAD also comes equipped with robust process management and presentation features, including a module that supports animated, 3-D disassemblies, according to Bright Hub Engineering.
2) Improved design quality
Traditional drafting methods make it difficult to address every facet of a given structure with complete accuracy. A lot gets lost in the shuffling of papers and pens, or use of less-than-ideal CAD software outside of the Autodesk product suite. AutoCAD facilitates optimal design quality, giving users the power to easily configure countless variables without losing holistic continuity.
3) Enhanced design documentation support
Documentation is an essential part of the design process. Drafters must maintain meticulous records of their progress to ease the reiteration process and establish records for structural maintenance duties that might require the referencing of blueprints. More antiquated design creation workflows can complicate this key task, as architects or designers may find it difficult to organize physical assets like building plans.
AutoCAD mitigates this issue by offering users the opportunity to track and save every phase of the drafting process, making it easy to find central structural attributes such as material composition readings or feature geometries in the event that they are needed post-construction.
4) Easy personalization
No two designers maintain the same workflows. Every professional produces work in disparate fashions, using different tools arranged in varying ways. This is where traditional, physical illustration-based processes would theoretically have a leg up on CAD software and other digital design solutions, as material workspaces might seem more customizable than web-based ones. However, in reality, digital production zones are just as configurable as their flesh-and-blood counterparts – thanks to AutoCAD. The solution comes with a personalization-ready interface that allows users to replicate their real-world work areas online.
5) Simple collaboration
Few firms craft designs and prototypes in isolation, as numerous external stakeholders – from government officials to manufacturing leaders – are required to transform a blueprint into a useable asset. With this in mind, architecture and design firms have long lugged cumbersome tubes containing their designs to meetings and public forums so as to give all of the individuals involved in their respective projects insight into the structure to come. While largely effective, this method presents some risks. Most notably, stakeholders outside of the industry may have trouble understanding the materials before them. On top of that, essential feedback could easily be lost, as guidance given during meeting goes unrecorded.
AutoCAD reduces these risks to non-issues via multifaceted collaboration components simplify sharing. Users can easily publish their work in secure formats that are easy to access during presentations or share with trusted partners, both inside and outside the business.
Together, these advantages make AutoCAD an essential tool that all designers should take use in some capacity. The benefits and sustained stability of the product make it simply too valuable to pass up in 2018 and beyond.