, , , , , , , ,

Best Design Software for Architects, Engineers & Designers


This will be one of a six part series. This article (series #1) will give readers an idea of the current software used by the industry and also its pros and cons. The other articles will go in-depth with each software. NOTE! Clients of design projects should pay attention to this series of articles, as it will empower them with information and can aid them in selecting the best professional based on the software they use.

Rating system out of 10

  1. Productivity & Efficiency
  2. Learning curve
  3. Learning resources
  4. Industrial acceptance
  5. Clientele requests ( higher number means best option for clients)
  6. Documentation & End product
  7. Collaboration
  8. Hardware Resources (higher number means you need a high end workstation)
  9. Presentation & Resources
  1. Autodesk Revit(BIM)


According to Autodesk “Revit® software* is specifically built for Building Information Modeling (BIM), empowering design and construction professionals to bring ideas from concept to construction with a coordinated and consistent model-based approach. Revit is a single application that includes features for architectural design, MEP and structural engineering, and construction.”

Based on research this is currently the best of the best, internationally all MAJOR architectural engineering and construction firms utilizes this software to their benefits, simply because it’s efficient, productive and collaborative. The well-informed clientele request their project coordinated with Revit. For more on visit


2. Graphisoft ArchiCAD(BIM)


According the Graphisoft ”ArchiCAD contains significant enhancements and additions that simplify the modeling and documentation of buildings even when the model contains an unprecedented level of detail. ArchiCAD’s end-to-end BIM workflow allows the model to stay live till the very end of the project.”

The software is the closest (but still far) competition to Revit, But as Designers more competition means better tools, and also as clients means higher end-product. Some European firms mainly utilize ArchiCAD. Thus, this is a Great alternative for Designers. For more


  1. Productivity & Efficiency 8/10
  2. Learning curve 7/10
  3. Learning resources 6/10
  4. Industrial acceptance 7/10
  5. Clientele requests 6/10
  6. Documentation & End product 10/10
  7. Collaboration 7/10
  8. Hardware Resources 6/10
  9. Presentation & Visualizations 9/10

3. Autodesk AutoCAD(CAD)


According to Autodesk “Design and shape the world with the powerful, connected design tools in AutoCAD® software for Windows and Mac OS X. Create stunning 3D CAD designs and speed documentation with the reliability of TrustedDWG technology. Connect in the cloud to collaborate on designs and access them from your mobile device.”

One of the most popular and respected design software in the world. The design capabilities are un-parallel compared to the top two (which is mostly for buildings). In regards to efficiency and productivity is not as good as the others are, hence are the why most major firms replaced it as their main software platform. For more


  1. Productivity & Efficiency 5/10
  2. Learning curve 5/10
  3. Learning resources 8/10
  4. Industrial acceptance 10/10
  5. Clientele requests 8/10
  6. Documentation & End product 8/10
  7. Collaboration 9/10
  8. Hardware Resources 7/10
  9. Presentation & Visualizations 7/10

4. Google SketchUp


According to Google Sketchup “Hundreds of thousands of professionals in (take a deep breath) architecture, construction, engineering, commercial interiors, light construction, landscape architecture, kitchen & bath design, urban planning, game design, film & stage, woodworking, and plenty of other fields use SketchUp Pro all the time, every day. It’s the all-purpose antidote to complicated, expensive CAD software.”

Wonderful program, fun easy to use and simple. The learning curve of this software is the best of the lot. Very popular but a much-underrated program, Sketchup can be used to design ANYTHING and there is no need for major hardware resources. For more


  1. Productivity & Efficiency 9/10
  2. Learning curve 10/10
  3. Learning resources 10/10
  4. Industrial acceptance 5/10
  5. Clientele requests 5/10
  6. Documentation & End product 6/10
  7. Collaboration 6/10
  8. Hardware Resources 9/10
  9. Presentation & Visualizations 8/10

5. Autodesk 3DS Max Design


According to Autodesk “3ds Max® Design software provides a comprehensive 3D modeling, animation, and rendering solution used by architects, designers, civil engineers, and visualization specialists. Validate and sell designs before they are built, and get rapid iteration of designs, accurate daylight analysis, and high-impact visuals and animations.”

Great program, if you can use it. The learning curve is steep but once you have gotten the hang of it, the end product is wonderful. Primarily top designers choice for presentation & visuals, recently it was armed with good simulation tools for lighting (in buildings) pedestrian flow and even traffic. For more


  1. Productivity & Efficiency 6/10
  2. Learning curve 6/10
  3. Learning resources 8/10
  4. Industrial acceptance 5/10
  5. Clientele requests 5/10
  6. Documentation & End product 5/10
  7. Collaboration 6/10
  8. Hardware Resources 5/10
  9. Presentation & Visualizations 10/10