If you are a home crafter and have been using Cricut, you would know how amazing the Cricut Design Space App is. For those of you who don’t, Cricut is a manufacturer of state-of-the-art computer-controlled cutting plotters that make designing and crafting easy for anyone. Cricut machines look and work like printers. The only difference is that the die can house cutting tools as well as drawing tools like markers. Computers actuate this die to make precise cuts and intricate designs on materials such as paper, felt, vinyl, fabric, leather, and even wood. Cricut Design Space is the official companion application that acts as an interface between the user and the Explore and Maker range of Cricut machines. Design Space also offers a wide range of functions in design and cutting parameters in the form of several hundreds of thousands of design templates and ready-to-work projects.
Whether you use Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS, Cricut Design Space offers the best design, editing, and creating functions. There’s also a nearly unlimited library of premade projects that can be customized. Here is a little bit about the tools you will find on Design Space:
Every new project that you start opens up a design space where you can create designs from scratch or modify templates using all of the seven functions that you see below:
As the name would suggest, this is a library for templates. However, these are not templates for designs, but for products. Imagine you are working on iron-on stickers for a T-Shirt, you will find virtual templates of T-shirts that you could place on a virtual design mat in order to work out the dimensions and design of your sticker. Basically, it eliminates the physical process of working with a physical T-shirt on a physical design mat.
If you are looking for fast results by minimizing the time you have to put into designing or working out specifics of materials or cutting and drawing parameters. This section contains several projects that are predesigned along with detailed instructions about the creation parameters and materials. These projects can also be customized according to your preferences.
In this function, you will find an extensive collection of images that you can choose to work with. These can be modified to fit your liking.
Some designs are not complete without the right kind of text. This option lets you choose from a vast collection of text fonts that you can use in your projects
It is always easier to create designs from shapes than drawing them up afresh. This function offers you a large collection of shapes for you to work with.
If you cannot find what you need on the app, the upload function can be used to upload images from your device or collection. These images can then be edited with the other tools available within the app to create your project.
7. Make it:
Once your design work is complete, this is the option for you to transfer your work onto the material of your choice. This is where you can set your cutting or drawing parameters and execute the final step in the process.
Cricut Access is the online store system that has been incorporated into Cricut Design Space. While the app is free on its own, Cricut access contains features, designs, and projects that are free or paid. Cricut Access is available to users on a subscription model, with three plans featuring a wide variety of extra content. It is available on a free plan, a standard plan which costs $ 9.99 per month or $ 95.88 annually, or a Premium plan for $119.88 annually. While all content from Cricut Access comes with an unlimited license for usage, the amount of content available is different by a large number. The free plan allows only over ten thousand images, fifteen fonts and two hundred and fifty projects to be used; the premium and standard plans offer over two hundred thousand images, more than seven hundred fonts, and projects north of a thousand for subscribers to work with. Subscribers of the standard and premium plans can also avail of discounts of 10 and 20% respectively on purchases from Cricut.
Although the app provides the best tools that are compatible with the latest models of Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker, there is more than one reason why you might need an alternative or alternatives:
Pricing may be the biggest reason several users cite to opt a third-party software for their work. The content available for free users of Cricut Access is limited and it might be difficult for many users to allocate additional funds to subscribe to Cricut Access or purchase content to work on. There are other applications that you can use to get the same work done for free.
Although it offers a wide variety of tools to make your work easy, the functionality of these tools could be limited when compared to advanced design applications. If you are an advanced designer, the inbuilt tools might not be enough for you to create original designs.
Lack of originality
The originality of designs created on Design Space comes at the cost of their quality. If you want your designs to stand out both in terms of originality as well as quality, you might need an alternative to Design Space.
Cricut has been actively involved in discouraging the use of third-party software on their machines and has successfully made previously prominent third-party apps such as Make-the-Cut (MTC) and Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL) incompatible with their machines. Currently, Design Space is the only way to operate Cricut machines, however, Cricut access is optional everything related to design and customization can be achieved using third-party applications and the images could be uploaded into Design Space for cutting or drawing.
Top Five Alternative Applications:
1. Adobe Illustrator:
Adobe Illustrator is a prominent name among designers and illustrators. Adobe Illustrator boasts the most advanced graphics creation tools available in the market today for vector artwork. The ability of this app to export full-resolution files even on its free version is the reason why this application is preferred by people working in the design field. Missing fonts will not hinder your work on Adobe illustrator, this app can automatically find missing fonts from Adobe Fonts and activate them. The 3D effects for vectors featured on Adobe Illustrator are unparalleled. This application also features integration with other Adobe products to further enhance your designs. The only drawback is that this app is only available for Windows, MacOS, and iPadOS.
This is a versatile tool preferred by designers of varying skill levels. It is a multifunctional software for graphic design operations. The inbuilt tools allow users to create fairly complex designs. The application also features amazing vectorization. The latest version of CorelDraw which is CorelDraw 2021 is an upgrade to the previous version which was released in 2018 and features many new tools that make it ideal for vector designing. CorelDraw 2021 features an extensive collection of tools for illustration such as the Corel Font Manager to explore new fonts and store them. The app also offers a large array of royalty-free templates and designs to make your work easy. CorelDraw is currently available only on Windows, MacOS, and iPadOS.
3. Adobe Photoshop:
Even in 2021, Photoshop made by Adobe is a household name among digital artists and illustrators. Adobe Photoshop has been around since 1990. The app contains professional tools for creating vector graphics along with its unlimited layers, masks, and filters. Photoshop is basically an image editing software with editing and retouching features that have stood the trial of time, this allows the creation of vector files from scratch, or images can be converted into vectors. The drawbacks of this app are that it is not as advanced as many of the apps available today and it is only available on Windows and MacOS.
Inkscape is open-source design software. It is ideal for beginners with its wide array of tools and its compatibility with a wide variety of fonts. It also boasts a powerful tool for text editing. The app can perform excellently in the areas of object creation, object manipulation, text support, and rendering. The fact that this software is open source is what makes it a favorite among many designers and illustrators. Currently, this app is available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
5. Gravit Designer:
This is a cross-platform design application with a modern UI and friendly keyboard shortcuts. The UI and shortcuts make it very user-friendly and are preferred by so many novice designers. Users can create powerful graphic elements on this app. The app supports real-time collaboration, touchscreen vector design and is an ideal tool for creating files with applications in laser cutting or etching. This app is relatively new and therefore has a relatively limited capability when it comes to designing.
Is Cricut Design Space absolutely necessary?
Yes, Cricut Design Space is the only way to operate the Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker range of machines.
How can I cut down on the costs involved in using Design Space?
Cricut Design Space is free, however, Cricut Access is the feature that costs you money. You can use a third-party app for designing in order to cut costs.