Design team at Bricsys

Inside Bricsys: Designing BricsCAD Shape

BricsCAD Shape makes modeling fun. This is how we designed it.

Design team at Bricsys

Sander Scheiris, VP Marketing

Shape was built to make your schematic design workflow more intuitive, without sacrificing accuracy. We wanted that CAD accuracy to fit in a clean and simple user interface. BricsCAD Shape isn’t just a stripped-down version of full-on BricsCAD. We have redesigned the user interface from scratch.

You could argue that Shape is a marketing tool. Of course, it brings the BricsCAD brand to a larger group of architects and engineers. But believe me, we are really in love with this product. We’ve wanted to build this kind of interface for years.

Shape proves that 3D CAD can live behind a simple interface. We’ve learned a lot during this design and development project. Soon you will see these kind of user interface improvements in BricsCAD as well. I simply can’t wait to see what our users will build with Shape.

Design team at Bricsys

Ann Van Haeken, Graphic Designer

Stripping the Shape user experience down to its core was challenging. We asked ourselves “What does the user really need when he or she is ‘Shaping’?”. Eliminating complex settings and tool options was a big part of the process.

I believe that User Interfaces should be as invisible as possible and that is where we are heading with BricsCAD Shape. I am a big believer in quality over quantity.

Adding the famous architect silhouettes to Shape was fun. I love character design. We didn’t want to add generic figures. We think it’s more fun for the user, and it helps them relate to the product. It’s paying a small tribute to the “iconic” architects of today and the past.

As an in-house designer, I have the ability to see the product from concept to delivery. You live with the design as the product evolves, to make sure that it works the way it should. It requires long term thinking. Watching it grow and helping out where I’m needed is very rewarding. Shape is still evolving, and will get better as we grow.

Design team at Bricsys

Hannes Ledoux, Graphic Designer

Instead of using old-fashioned dialogs with tons of options, we chose to work with a multi-purpose sidebar. The sidebar offers quick access to the tools and components you need most. When you want to focus on modeling, you can simply collapse it to regain your screen real estate.

Our next big challenge will be to transfer this simple UI design philosophy to BricsCAD BIM.

Shape was a fun project to work on, because we had the chance to “start from scratch” and design what we always had in mind. I’m really proud of the intuitive interface of BricsCAD Shape.

Stop sketching. Start shaping.

Get your free copy of BricsCAD Shape. If you love it, tell your peers to download it, too. We’re pretty proud of the clean and simple learning materials for the product – check out “30 minutes to Shape”. All for free.

Sander Scheiris

As VP Marketing at Bricsys, I'm in charge of the marketing team, the corporate identity and the user interface of our products. I love photography, electronic music and I'm a petrol head.


  • To all,

    Just watched the new SHAPE videos, am impressed,…… far…… as a CAD & SketchUP-Pro-2018 user for architecture. This looks more bespoke for Building & Architecture from the get go, however whats the catch, it can’t be…..really free can it ?

    Over & out,

    • Hello Clayton,

      Yes, it’s free. No catch, either. We built BricsCAD Shape to be the first step in our BIM workflow. The idea is that your concept model moves to BIM intact, ready for automatic classification in BricsCAD BIM. We’d love to hear more about your thoughts about Shape. Thanks!

      • Hi Don,

        Do you think BC-SHAPE will evolve in the future with further functionality like SU-LAYOUT ? I guess what I’m inferring, is a more stand alone product for 2D plans extraction from the BC-SHAPE model. I figure this may not happen, as I do realise BC’s goal is for potential customers to be paying ones for either BricsCAD 2D/3D or BricsCAD BIM.

        As a non BC-user (until BC-SHAPE) I confess to being a little confused with the two BC-products. BricsCAD 2D/3D & BricsCAD BIM, what would a typical architectural user (new) purchase, both or one over the other & why ? The end goal is to produce 2D extracted plans from the model, BIM or not.

        Over & out,

        • Hi Clayton,

          Shape was designed as the front-end to the design process. It will likely never have dimensions or layouts.
          BricsCAD BIM is based on BricsCAD Platinum, and our BRX development environment. In the OtherCAD world, you might call BIM a “third-party app”. That would be an understatement, though, as BricsCAD BIM has spawned its own API extensions in BricsCAD Platinum – a truly symbiotic relationship.

          Our goal is to compress the workflow from schematic design through construction documentation.
          BricsCAD BIM would be our choice for a practice looking to create 2D plans, simply because it would give you the flexibility to work the way you wish: fully 2D, hybrid 3D/2D, or BIM.

          Thanks for checking out BricsCAD Shape!

      • Now that BricsCAD V18 OS X is available, you need to know that the Mac version of BricsCAD Shape isn’t far behind.

  • Very nice work with this software!
    There’s only one thing missing that don’t make me change software 🙁
    1 – not capable of taking out 2D from sections is the main reason, for sure!

    • Hi Pedro, thank you for your kind comments. Remember that BricsCAD Shape writes .dwg files, so you can simply open your model in BricsCAD BIM and cut a section. -Don

Try BricsCAD 30 days for free

Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to receive the monthly newsletter in your inbox with the top content on the Bricsys Blog?