A Journey to the Center of CAD


TL;DR Desktop & Mobile Apps; Licensing; File Browsers; Design Language; Pattern Library


The Journey Begins

When I accepted the mission to join Graebert’s team as their sole Visual Designer, I knew that thanks to their wide product offering, I would need to be very mindful of which challenges to tackle first.

The fact that I am not an engineer pushed me to take some less orthodox approaches on the needfinding phase, such as:

  • Reading hundreds of documentation pages
  • Watching Youtube of people giving tips on how to use best use CAD softwares
  • Sitting next to the QA pros and watching them going through test cases

The learnings from the investigations and the immediate business needs led me to the definition of some key areas of improvement:


File Management

Visual Language

Act I

Revamping the Licensing System

Although their apps were available for a multitude of operational systems, they all shared one thing in common: the need for a license.

For a company that have been around for 40 years, it’s only natural that they cover an extensive variety use cases, nevertheless, we wanted to discover which ones of them were still relevant.

Map It Out

On the course of several workshops, we validated strategically the most common use cases and also iterated on all of them wirevised all of them on the , on a later stage, worked on a way to simplify all of them.

Design It Out

Instead of static registration flows bound to app releases, we opted for the introduction of whitespaces within the apps. On the long run, those spaces would give us the flexibility to dynamically distribute content and communicate contextual offers.

Act II

Files On-the-Go

Architects and Engineers are often on the field and, most of the time, they need not only their equipment with them but also their files.

With that in mind, we developed a file management hub compatible with the most popular cloud services so they could always have access to their files on-the-go.

Fluorine, Graebert's File Manager

Trinity Design Language

When it comes to interface design for CAD softwares, due to the delicate nature of the work that it’s performed on the app, one would rather stay on the safe side of the things instead of going crazy and reinvent the wheel.

The Trinity Design Language was born from the need to establish a consistent visual language that would spread across the family of apps. It was grounded mostly on productivity and accessibility aspects of the experience.

Trinity Design Language
Sample of the collection of patterns used to build from simple dialogs to complex menus and panels