Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Designing using a computer rather than by hand was a daunting prospect back in the 1990’s. Putting my sketch pads, pens and pencils away and replacing them with a screen and mouse was a baptism of fire, given deadlines still needed to be met!
I could see the advantages, I had no idea of the changes in approach to design that would come as a result.
The first thing to impress me was the flatness of colour. Formally illustrations were coloured by Pantone pens, which always looked coloured in, rather than realistic.
I was designing sportswear, swimwear and knitwear at the time, I was able to scale down badges and placement prints and apply them to garments, something that had been impossible in the past.
Learning to use shading, transparency and textures added a realistic element enabling companies to sell ranges from illustrations where as in the past everything needed to be sampled.
CAD work is hugely faster than working by hand and has enormous flexibility. Changes to artwork can happen quickly and be sent electronically for approval.
Particularly when designing all over prints for swimwear, colourways could easily be produced by simply saving the original, making a copy then systematically replacing each colour with another. It seems so normal now, but then it was revolutionary! Designs could be refined and improved upon.
I still like to hand draw a scaled outline of the actual garment I am working on, then scan it into the computer to use as my starting point. By doing this I can accurately work with in the proportions of the finished dress.
I am so grateful to have learned to use CAD, it has been invaluable in my career and now in my own business now not only for clothing but for graphics, and pretty much anything that needs to be illustrated.