I purchased my cricut design studio last year at a scrapbook convention. Its supposed to allow you to mix your cartridges and weld letters/images together and instruct the cricut to cut it all out as one piece.
I have heard that others use it to cut out all the elements of one die cut at once by arranging the different papers on the mat. This last I think would be a time saver since you wouldn't have to reload the machine each time and you would get all the pieces in the colors you want in one shot.
One can also make those intricate cardstock pages that look like lace-flowers, borders with text welded together etc...I don't have the expression so my size would be limited but I think would still work as borders and backgrounds.
Sadly I have not had a chance to try these fun techniques out yet! Part of the reason why I think is because its done with the aid of your computer. Some days when I get home from work I want nothing to do with the computer and stay far away from it. Others my husband takes over the laptop and I never get a chance to use it.
I've been feeling a creative bug nipping away at me recently and I think I will take a stab at playing with the design studio. I am limited in the type of cartridges I have but it should be fine.
There are other cutting programs that are compatable with the cricut that allow you to cut images/text without the need of a cartridge--I may try my hands on that in the future. For now I am sticking with my design studio.
Happy Scrapping :)