Design and analysis of an optical system is often a multidisciplinary task, and can involve the use of specialized software packages for imaging, mechanics, and illumination. This paper will present a case study on the design and analysis of a basic heads-up display (HUD) for automotive use. The emphasis will be on the special requirements of a HUD visual system and on the tools and techniques needed to accomplish the design. The first section of this paper will present an overview of the imaging design using commercially available imaging design software. Topics addressed in this section include modeling the windshield, visualizing the imaging performance, using constraints and freeform surfaces to improve the system, and meeting specific visual performance specifications with design/analysis methods. The second section will address the use of a CAD program to design a basic mechanical structure to support and protect the optics. This section will also discuss some of the issues and limitations involved in translating data between a CAD program and a lens design or illumination program. Typical issues that arise include the precision of optical surface prescriptions, surface and material properties, and the management of large data files. In the final section, the combined optical and mechanical package will be considered, using an illumination design program for stray light analysis. The stray light analysis will be directed primarily toward finding, visualizing, and quantifying unexpected ray paths. Techniques for sorting optical ray paths by path length, power, and elements or materials encountered will be discussed, along with methods for estimating the impact of stray light on the optical system performance.