Keeping the Fun Factor in Design

British designer Jonty Sherwill, of Sherwill Design, uses Ashlar-Vellum™ Xenon™ CAD and 3D modeling software to conceptualize new products, packaging and interiors. In a career spanning thirty years in consumer and capital goods, transport interiors and yacht styling, finding an advanced CAD design package that offered as much fun as freehand sketching seemed an impossible dream. But Ashlar-Vellum delivered what was needed: an affordable 2D and 3D development tool with the ability to generate stunning visuals quickly.

As Sherwill puts it, “There are plenty of 3D design and engineering packages around, but for the product designer the creative end of the project is where the key decisions are made. Xenon allows me to conceptualize on screen and transform a sketch idea into something tangible in minutes. I frequently work in parallel with development engineers and the production facility. Inspiring them with smart visuals while simultaneously delivering useable data for mold or machine shop development is extremely valuable.”

He particularly enjoys the combination of easy conceptual sketching with the underlying precision modeling. “You can create something which you know is accurate and you can generate virtual sketches with this product and also hang your hat on it since you know it’s the right size and it’s going to work, even if you haven’t put a huge amount of hours into early work.”

I think one of the great attractions of this type of interface in this sort of software is that you’re not having to make dimensional commitments early on. You can pull and push and play around with the thing which makes it a more creative process. Because design has got to be a creative thing, and the minute you’re constrained it gets boring and then you lose your spark.

Sherwill likes the intuitive interface found in all Ashlar-Vellum precision CAD and 3D modeling products. “Navigating around a 3D workspace can be confusing in some programs, but with the subtle prompts built into Xenon you always know where you are, and what to do next. The trimetric view soon becomes your best friend. If you don’t use the software for days or even weeks, the intuitive interface means there is no warming up period, you just get straight back into highly productive work.”

A key factor in Sherwill’s choice of Xenon was the Mac/Windows cross-platform capabilities of Ashlar-Vellum products. The decision was clinched by a free pre-purchase demo that was an ideal route for exploring the product and gaining confidence before buying. Says Sherwill, “Some developers charge a lot for their products and hide them behind slick demonstrations and sales pitches. Ashlar-Vellum has a more open and supportive approach to evaluation.”

Learn More

See more designs by Jonty among those in these Galleries:

See more of Jonty’s work on his website.