By  on September 22, 1994

NEW YORK -- The recent CAD Expo gave potential users of computers in design a chance to get a taste for a variety of systems, but it was a panel of CAD users that offered up some of the most helpful information.

"Potential CAD users often hear only the sales pitch from vendor sales reps," commented panel moderator/CAD consultant Alison Grudier. "What we wanted to do here was let you know what people out in the field think."

Panelists included Holly Henderson, designer, Federated Department Stores; Katy Chapman, CAD system supervisor at Springs Industries; Richard Malachowski, director of research and engineering at Cranston Print Works Co.; and Peter Appleyard, vice-president at the Bibb Co.

Malachowski, who must take designs produced on CAD systems and print them on fabric, said designers must be conscious of the processes by which their designs become fabrics. He said an understanding of printing and engraving will give designers the ammunition to speed their designs through the production process along with a better feel for how their designs will look when they are finally printed.

"CAD is well accepted at and integrated into design studios," he said. "With CAD, designers can develop much cleaner artwork that is ready to go to the manufacturer. Designers must have an understanding of the final product and all the steps it takes to get to that product -- that includes an understanding of the engraving process.

Malachowski said designers must pay special attention to the resolution of their designs. That way they can ensure that engraving proceeds smoothly. "Consider the resolution you are going to develop your design in so it moves along quickly once it gets to the engraver, and keep in mind that the design will look different when it is produced than it looks on screen."

He added that designers must also understand "exactly what the printer or the weaver had to do to produce their design.

"Front-end CAD and digitizing influence the look of the final product and the speed at which it is produced."

Federated's Holly Henderson also spoke directly from her area of expertise: knitwear design -- a topic she said is often overlooked in discussions of CAD.

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