Whether you’re choosing a design package to create some logos, deliver a fully realized brand new magazine as a PDF for internet distribution on a subscription model, or you’re choosing which PCB design software to use, it’s never an easy selection.

There are several key considerations. Let’s look at them now.

What Is Your Main Computing Device?

How will you access the design software? On a Windows PC, a Mac or a Linux machine? Or perhaps you want to be able to draw on a Wacom tablet with a stylus or one of the huge iPad Pro tablets with their stylus that you must purchase separately with hundreds of points of sensitivity? Whatever your device, it affects many factors like availability and pricing.

Do you want to create designs on one platform and be able to move over to another platform when traveling or at home? Do you feel you can make use of a mobile app to design when out of the office and require a cross-platform design app? Will this narrow the field too much though?

Then there’s web apps which are accessible from any recent web browser. Using the broad availability provided by web apps, it opens up multiple devices to access a design SaaS from anywhere in the world.

Do You Learn Fast or Slow?

Whether you’re a fast learner with new software tools or you tend to drag behind other designers with picking up new ideas and concepts, it should be factored into a design software buying decision. Studying tutorials is all well and good, but the more features a software package has, the longer it will take to learn, practice and later master.

Often times, every new version gets progressively more complicated without necessarily adding important features to a new release. Buying an overly complicated package may not be the best options for your design team or yourself.

Rapid Development or Slow as Molasses?

In areas like PCB design, it’s often necessary to try different design options and to test them out before moving into the next possible layout that satisfies the requirements of the board design. Moving slowly is anathema to getting through various design choices to find the one that will work best either internally or for a client.

Outdated software often comes with an interface that is difficult to work with. A software tool that slows down designers doesn’t allow the free flow of ideas because the designer is constantly being stopped in their tracks by the software’s limitations. This is a strong indicator that new PCB design software is needed, and any training time required to get the entire team up to speed on the new software tool is worth the cost.

Choosing a design software package is a difficult decision because it affects everyone who’ll have to use it for several years to come. When picking poorly, a design team is held back using a tool that’s inadequate for the tasks they’re being assigned which can cause dissatisfaction, affect morale and ultimately staff retention rates.  As such, you should not decide on a software design package arbitrarily and should take it out for a spin – ideally with a few members of your team to gauge their initial reaction – before making a solid commitment.

How to Choose Good Design Software

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