Product design is demanding work, requiring teams to turn raw ideas into polished products that sell. This is usually challenging enough in a shared space, but the stakes rise even higher when your team is distributed across cities, time zones, and even continents.
Enter the world of product design software, providing solutions that make this intricate process more manageable. These tools, including platforms like ClickUp, foster smooth collaboration, allowing teams to efficiently iterate and refine designs, no matter what their zip code happens to be.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 of the best product design software options on the market today. That way, you can find a tool that’ll complement your design team and allow them to create the awe-inspiring designs they’re capable of.
What is Product Design Software?
Product design software refers to computer programs or applications that are specifically designed to assist with the creation and development of new products. These software tools provide designers, engineers, and other stakeholders with the necessary tools and features to conceptualize, model, simulate, and refine product designs.
What Should You Look for in Product Design Software?
The right piece of product design software can be a game changer for your team. Not only will it help you design better products, but it should also boost team efficiency, creativity, and overall productivity.
However, finding the right software for your needs takes a little effort. When comparing different products, make sure to be on the lookout for these key features:
- Intuitive UI: The software should be simple to navigate, regardless of a team member’s technical proficiency
- Comprehensive Design Tools: Look for advanced 2D and 3D design tools that allow for detailed product designs, including sketching, modeling, and editing features
- Collaborative Capabilities: The software should support teamwork and cross-functional teams with features like multi-user editing, version control, and sharing options
- Integration Potential: Find specialized tools that seamlessly merge with other systems in your tech stack for a more streamlined design-to-production process
- Adaptability: The software should grow with your team, handling more complex designs and custom workflows as your needs evolve—potentially even CAD software or 3D modeling tools
- Data Management: Look for robust data management capabilities for secure storage, easy retrieval, and strong version control
- Cloud-Based Functionality: Modern product design software should enable your team to work from anywhere, boosting efficiency in remote collaboration
- Price: Price isn’t everything, and we’re not advocating for you to solely use free product design software, but it is a consideration when you pick advanced tools for your product designers
10 Best Product Design Software Tools to Use in 2024
ClickUp is a productivity platform designed for teams seeking to streamline their product development process. Its robust suite of features allows teams to brainstorm, assign tasks, and stay up-to-date on where each current project is in the design process.
While the idea of organizing may not be the most fun topic, it’s an essential aspect of every design team and development process. ClickUp offers teams an easy way to organize everything from their workflows to the internal docs and asset libraries.
Pair ClickUp with a design software of your choice, and you have a potent team ready to take on the world with next-level design thinking.
ClickUp best features:
- ClickUp’s platform is highly customizable, empowering design teams of any size to adapt it to their specific needs, whether they’re working in-house or remotely
- Promotes both asynchronous and real-time collaboration, so teams can brainstorm new designs with our interactive whiteboards and then store them with ClickUp Docs
- With integrated ClickUp Chat View and email capabilities, users can manage all communications without needing to switch platforms, streamlining work processes
- ClickUp includes a huge number of free templates that’ll make everything from planning designs to competitor analysis a breeze
- Automatic notifications for task updates eliminate the need for manual follow-ups, while the feature to assign action items within tasks ensures accountability within product designers and helps to track progress on new design briefs
- ClickUp AI to generate product descriptions, aid in brainstorming, and more
- Centralizing your workflows on ClickUp can take a little time to set up
- Not all views are available on mobile which might be a deal-breaker for product designers on the go
- Free Forever
- Unlimited: $5/month per user
- Business: $12/month per user
- Business Plus: $19/month per user
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing
ClickUp ratings and reviews:
- G2: 4.7/5 (2,000+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2,000+ reviews)
Inkybay is a fantastic product design software solution for anyone that sells customized products. From clothes to business cards, it allows you to transform your customers’ creative visions into tangible products they’re sure to love.
However, Inkybay is a little niche, so we can’t expect it to be right for everyone’s product development process. However, if you think it fits your business, make sure to check out its 14-day free trial before committing.
Inkybay best features:
- Pre-designed templates make offering your customers several customized product options as easy as possible
- Multiple designer themes mean that various industries and businesses can use Inkybay
- The visual product designer editing tool allows customers to select design elements and print colors for personalized products
- Focused primarily on customizable consumer goods
- Prices can quickly get pretty expensive for a smaller business looking for design software
- Starter: $19.99/month
- Advance: $49.99/month
- Professional: $99.99/month
- Unlimited: $249.99/month
Inkybay ratings and reviews:
- G2: 5/5 (1 review)
- Capterra: No reviews
Nuxeo is an excellent product design software for businesses seeking a sophisticated digital asset creation and management platform.
It’s particularly useful for companies that frequently need to create new iterations of old designs. This is because their easily searchable digital asset library and drag-and-drop system allow for quick and easy mockups between product designers.
However, Nuxeo’s complexity and potential high pricing may not suit everyone, particularly smaller businesses with simpler needs.
Nuxeo best features:
- All of your Nuxeo information is in the cloud, so it can be accessed by your team wherever they are
- An intuitive search filtering system allows products to be sorted based on various parameters like materials, colors, availability, and pricing
- The digital materials library makes designing new prototypes a breeze, as designers can find old assets and drag and drop them into new designs
- Nuxeo can be complicated compared to other product design software and takes time to learn
- Add-ons can quickly make Nuxeo fairly pricey for this specialized software
Nuxeo is open source. However, if you are interested in their services and tools, pricing will vary based on levels of customer support and your system requirements.
Nuxeo ratings and reviews:
- G2: 4/5 (76 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.2/5 (33 reviews)
Onshape is the perfect tool for companies needing to get new designs out quickly. This specialized tool provides CAD software for 3D modeling, which makes it a great resource when creating digital models for clients—especially for industrial design projects.
In fact, this digital sculpting tool can create digital models in real-time with multi-user CAD software and an advanced product data management system that does away with pesky files altogether.
All of this means your team’s progress is roadblock free, so they can focus on getting products across the finish line as quickly and error-free as possible.
Onshape best features:
- Their Cloud Native CAD software ensures centralized, secure, and always accessible data, eliminating the hassle of lost files and enabling you to manage designs from any web-connected device
- Onshape’s built-in Product Data Management system allows for the simultaneous editing of designs with real-time updates, eliminating the need for check-in and check-out procedures
- FeatureScript helps you create custom CAD features, which can really reduce annoying repetitive tasks
- Users with unreliable internet connections could find it frustrating to use
- Doesn’t have all the tools that a dedicated CAD system should
- This specialized software is one of the more expensive design tools on this list
- Standard: $1500 per user/year
- Professional: $2500 per user/year
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing
Onshape ratings and reviews:
- G2: 4.7/5 (500+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (300+ reviews)
SolidWorks is an advanced design software platform for industrial designers involved in intricate concept modeling and 3D sculpting.
Its full-featured suite promotes seamless collaboration, reduces design time, and provides flexible access to project data, making it an excellent fit for businesses that need a more powerful CAD option. However, smaller companies or people designing simpler products may find this suite overkill.
SolidWorks best features:
- Integration with the 3DBestExperience platform makes collaboration more effective, as team members can access design information 24/7 from any digital device
- The Body Compare feature allows users to compare two groups of bodies located within the same part or assembly. This can be especially beneficial in reverse engineering or in quality checks of manufactured parts by comparing scans to the source CAD mode
- SolidWorks’ product data management system is designed to improve browsing responsiveness and make folder navigation faster, especially for folders with a large number of files
- Requires a high level of expertise for those using computer-aided design software
- Computing requirements are high, which could be difficult for people on slow connections or with older, underpowered machines
Contact SolidWorks sales to understand what pricing would be like for the licenses your company might need.
Solidworks ratings and reviews:
- G2: 4.4/5 (500+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (600+ reviews)
6. Fusion 360
Fusion 360 is designed for businesses that need a single tool that’ll take a product from concept and design to the manufacturing process with advanced 3D-modeling features.
By combining design, engineering, and manufacturing into a single platform, Fusion360 enables teams to quickly iterate on design concepts, validate their designs, and rapidly transition from prototype to production.
Fusion 360 best features:
- Offers a powerful suite of 3D modeling sketch tools, dimensions, and constraints that improve the design process
- Simplified CNC programming makes it simple to implement high-efficiency roughing, adaptive clearing, and tool orientation
- Ready-to-use PCB library content and component wizards allow designers to remain focused on their designs rather than creating parts from scratch
Fusion 360 limitations:
- A steep learning curve for this specialized software
- Can slow down significantly with larger files or slower internet connections
- No free version
Fusion 360 pricing:
- Fusion 360 License: $545/ year
Fusion 360 ratings and reviews:
- G2: 4.5/5 (400+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (200+ reviews)
When it comes to developing automated research, validation, and production test systems, LabView stands as a highly-regarded solution among mechanical engineers worldwide. Its graphical programming environment is purpose-built for seamless integration with compatible hardware and software programs such as PXI, CompactDAQ, and CompactRIO systems and even supports third-party instruments.
However, it is a specialized tool that may not be suited for a lot of product teams. If testing and validation are something your team needs help with, then LabView is a product design software option you need in your tech stack.
LabView best features:
- Graphical programming for intuitive and efficient product development processes
- The ability to integrate code written in other languages with 3D modeling
- Multiple editions tailored to different application needs
- A niche product not everyone will need.
- A steep learning curve for people unfamiliar with this kind of software.
- Base: $580/year
- Full: $1,830/year
- Professional: $3,050/year
LabView ratings and reviews:
- G2: 4.3/5 (100+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (14 reviews)
CATIA is an advanced design and styling software that helps your team work on sophisticated 3D designs or detailed 2D sketches. Although CATIA could be used for all kinds of products, it specializes in more complex machinery like those in the aerospace or automotive industries.
One standout feature of CATIA is its integration with the 3DExperience platform. This platform creates a social design environment where your team works on a single product in real-time. This unique combination of cutting-edge technology and collaboration boosts every user’s effectiveness. This product designing software helps users produce superior design results with motion-tracking and analysis capabilities.
CATIA best features:
- Defect Detection identifies defects in your designs, enabling improvements before moving into the production phase
- The Color and Trim Designer allows designers to create product elements focusing on colors, materials, finishes, and grains, adding depth and precision to the design process—which is helpful when dealing with complex shapes
- The Human Posture Evaluation is particularly useful for automotive designers as your team can evaluate how human posture impacts their designs with organic shapes in its user interface
- More complex than perhaps anything else on this list
- Truly only designed for fairly unique industries and products
Contact sales to get a quote for your company.
CATIA ratings and reviews:
- G2: 4.2/5 (200+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (200+ reviews)
9. Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Inventor is a professional-grade 3D CAD software known for its mechanical design, documentation, and product simulation tools. It stands out from other CAD offerings with its integrated system, which combines full parametric modeling, direct, freeform, and rules-based design capabilities. This makes it ideal for businesses seeking a multifaceted and robust design tool.
Whether you’re creating industrial design documentation to ensure product quality standards or enabling design automation, Autodesk Inventor provides a versatile platform for all your design needs.
Autodesk best features:
- Specialized Industry Tool Sets allow for efficient design processes tailored to whichever industry you work in
- Design Automation makes it possible to automate routine tasks and standard parts configurations, improving productivity and reducing the time to market
- DWG Compatibility means your designs can be easily shared and opened with any other software that supports the DWG format
- Can experience crashes, which will frustrate users
- Lacks an intuitive UI that you’d expect in a premier product like this
- Inventor: $300/month
Autodesk ratings and reviews:
- G2: 4.4/5 (400+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (200+ reviews)
10. Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud provides a comprehensive set of design and production tools with over 20 applications to build and fine-tune your creative projects. Whether you are working on wireframing or 3D product demos, Adobe Creative Cloud has the tools you need.
In addition to its tool versatility, Creative Cloud also offers a generous 100GB of cloud storage capacity. Pair this with their Android and iOS mobile apps, and you’ve got a potent combo for a team on the go.
Adobe Creative Cloud best features:
- Well-known product that many designers should already be familiar with
- Adobe Stock offers users a collection of ready-made 3D models
- Combination of strong browser and mobile applications allows for people to work where they want to
Adobe Creative Cloud limitations:
- Not suited for technical design needs
- Can be costly, especially if you really only need one or two of Adobe’s products
Adobe Creative Cloud pricing:
- Individuals: $54.99/month
- Students and Teachers: $19.99/month
- Teams: $84.99/month
Adobe Creative Cloud ratings and reviews:
- G2: 4.6/5 (35,000+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (7,000+ reviews)
Take Control of the Product Design Process With ClickUp
ClickUp is an essential tool for your product design journey. It’s not merely a helpful instrument; it’s the linchpin that holds your distributed product team together, perfectly orchestrating workflows and ensuring the delivery of a flawless product launch every single time.
Whether your team is dispersed across different time zones or collaborating in a single space, ClickUp is your gateway to fostering collaboration, increasing productivity, and driving success.
It’s time to leave the challenges of product design behind and welcome a new era of streamlined collaboration tools and efficient project execution.
Sign up for ClickUp today for free and let your product design journey begin.