I’ve obviously not been paying close enough attention. I’ve heard vague mentions of this from around the internet, but never actually seen it myself until now: the LEGO Digital Designer. It’s a computer aided design tool for building LEGO kits. You can assemble virtual kits, or using a palette of over 700 different types of brick, create your own. And then (this is the best part), the program will take your parts list and let you order a custom kit online so you can actually make your design with real LEGOs. They’ve just upgraded to version 2.0, and it’s free, for Windows and Macs.