In recent years fibre reinforced plastics play a constantly improving role in a growing field of applications. From the chemical industry through sports equipments up to aircraft production - composites can be used in all these industrial areas. Although materials like glass fibre reinforced or carbon fibre reinforced plastics have a lot of applications in structural parts the knowledge about dimensioning and processing techniques is not exploited for the design of composite structures. If the parts and structures are not built for high performance applications such as in aircrafts, often principles and theories based on metal design are used to design the parts. In this article the basics of structural mechanics for composite materials are presented. An overview about how to work with anisotropic material in design as well as in processing is given and the most important CAE tools for composite design are shortly presented.