For most people, the design software will not be significant enough to influence the brand of cutting machine that they buy. However, if you’re struggling to choose between Cricut and Silhouette then it’s worth comparing their software as well as the machines themselves – check out these reviews of the Silhouette Cameo and Curio, Cricut Maker and Explore Air 2 and the best models from both brands.
Cricut Design Space
Cricut’s design software is Design Space. Design Space is a web-based software, but you don’t need to be connected to the internet to use it as it is also possible to design and cut projects while offline. This is very useful if you do not have a stable internet connection at home.
Design Space stands out for being very user-friendly. The software is intuitive and easy to learn, even if you have limited technical or design experience.
There are Android and iOS versions of Design Space, so you can use it no matter the type of device you have.
The previous version of the program, Design Space 2 had some running issues, mostly because it relied on Flash. However, the current version, Design Space 3 is far superior and doesn’t seem to have any running issues.
Design Space 3 is also run on large-capacity cloud storage, so you don’t need to worry about it being slow when there are a lot of people online at the same time. It occasionally goes down for scheduled maintenance but has very few outages otherwise. Cricut notifies users of upcoming scheduled maintenance on their Facebook page.
You can import any image into Design Space. As long as it is in .jpg format, it is simple to convert the image to .svg in order to cut or draw the design on your Cricut machine.
This means that you can purchase or create designs, fonts, or images on virtually any program and turn them into amazing craft projects.
You can purchase a Cricut Access subscription for a modest monthly fee, and access thousands of designs and fonts. Alternatively, you can purchase the designs individually if you don’t want to commit to an on-going subscription.
You can always use your own fonts and designs for free by creating them on Design Space or uploading them. It’s also easy to find a large number of compatible designs online for free on sites like Font Bundles,The Hungry JPEG and Love SVG.
Silhouette’s own design software is Silhouette Studio, a downloadable program that works offline. This is ideal if your home internet connection is unreliable, or you like to take your machine with you to craft on the go.
Keep in mind that you’ll still need to connect to the internet to download the software’s periodic updates.
Silhouette Studio has a wide range of graphic design features that allow you to create your own designs. There is a free version of Silhouette Studio that allows you to work with Silhouette’s unique .studio files.
However, you’ll need the premium version to save or upload any other file types, including .svg files, the most common format for free online designs. Access to the premium Silhouette Studio requires a reasonably affordable one-off payment.
You can buy individual fonts and designs on Silhouette Studio’s online store, or sign up for a monthly subscription for access to discounted files. You can also take fonts that you have on your computer and upload them to Silhouette Studio. From there, you can draw or cut the design on your Silhouette cutting machine.
Design Space vs Studio: Which software is better?
Cricut Design Space is the more user-friendly of the two, being easy to use for straight-forward opening files and cutting designs.
Silhouette Studio is more technical and therefore a little more challenging to use. However, being more technical, it also has more features and allows more freedom in creating your own designs.
Silhouette Studio is undoubtedly a superior design program. It has several features that Cricut’s Design Space lacks, including shadow layer and offset.
This makes it better for those that want to create their own images, fonts, and designs.
- The two programs have different models for buying designs: Cricut is a subscription-only model, whereas Silhouette offers monthly subscriptions along with outright purchase on designs. You’ll only be able to cut or draw the designs in Cricut Access for as long as you have Access membership. On the other hand, you’ll be able to keep the designs you bought through Silhouette Studio’s online store even after your subscription ends.
- Another key difference between the two design suites is that Silhouette Studio is downloadable, while Cricut Design Space is online-based. However, Cricut Design Space can now be accessed offline, so you can use either program even without a reliable internet connection.
Both programs run well, with only limited issues from time to time, as you’ll find with any software. Generally, any problems you have will likely be related to issues with your computer or a slow internet connection. Given that both programs can now be accessed offline, this should eliminate problems caused by low connectivity.
Silhouette Studio is a good choice for anyone who likes to create their own designs and particularly more complex designs. Being most user-friendly, Cricut Design Space is a better option if you are not very tech-savvy and want to be able to easily upload and use designs, including designs you buy or find online for free.
Although there are a few differences between Silhouette Studio and Cricut Design Space, for most people this will not be a deciding factor when choosing which machine to buy.
However, if you are looking to create complex designs regularly, this may be important enough for you to choose a Silhouette machine for the extra design features.
On the other hand, people who really struggle with technology will appreciate Design Space’s user-friendly interface and may choose a Cricut machine accordingly.
Wrapping it up
Cricut and Silhouette both offer reliable, high-quality cutting machines. Likewise, both of their design programs, Design Space and Studio, are competent software that you can use to create or upload designs for your cutting machine.
Both also offer a range of designs, images, and fonts for purchase through their online stores.
Crafters who want to be able to create intricate designs will prefer Silhouette Studio, whereas Cricut Design Space makes it easier to upload and cut designs no matter your technical competency.