Prototypes can sound scary, but they don’t have to be. Prototyping allows you to experiment, explain creative concepts, and get feedback (either from yourself, a focus group, your client, or colleagues) allowing you to nail that tricky brief, iterate on your creative ideas, and sell in a creative idea. In 2019, our New Blood London Shifters visited creative agency forpeople for an introduction to prototyping across multiple disciplines and a mood board workshop, here’s what we learnt.
Graphics and digital
When it comes to graphics, think about how your creative idea and prototype will work digitally and physically. For example, if you are designing a logo: how will it manifest across different materials? Does a logo for a car company look as good on their website, as it does on the car itself?
If you’re designing packaging then rendering imagery is really helpful, but it’s never the same as holding it in your hand. A prototype for packaging can be simple and rough. Print it out, stick it on existing packaging and see how it works in real life.
There are many tools available to build and prototype your designs such as Sketch (build) and Invision (test). It’s all about the on-screen experience here so make sure you test on desktop, mobile, tablet. Top tip: Use your friends to test your creative idea and get immediate user feedback.
Wireframes are another great way to look at the hierarchy of content and make sure the story you are telling makes sense. You can wireframe a website by sketching it out, but there are also tools online that can help.
3D and spatial
Making a physical prototype always helps support your creative idea and it can be a great tool for a client presentation to walk your client through an experience. Hand sketching your creative ideas is great to express form or detailing. You can then refine this in a digital programme like Sketchup or Photoshop. Don’t be afraid to mix the mediums, you can sketch on top of a digital image and vice versa to refine the idea.
Making a mood board to explain your creative idea helps visualise the concept and sell your creative idea. Don’t be constrained by your typical idea of a mood board, it can be a large physical board, a video, or a collection of mediums working together. All of these forms can be considered a prototype.
forpeople’s ten top tips for creating mood boards as part of a creative brief
- Start broad: Think openly and experiment
- Move offline: avoid looking on Pinterest and googling images straightaway
- Create original content: if you can’t find what you’re looking for, why not create it yourself?
- Choose your platform: whether it’s digital or physical, a PDF, keynote or video etc
- Vary your content: Consider the mix of static and videos, especially as digital is such a primary touchpoint today
- Curate your content - don’t dump your images, think about the way you introduce imagery
- Disrupt the grid: Whatever form your prototype is taking, think about the flow of information, the hierarchy of the content you are sharing
- Achieve balance: Make sure it isn’t all crazy videos where you can’t focus
- Capture your thoughts: annotate your images, use words that help translate exactly what you mean
- Choose your moment: If you are presenting your prototype as part of a bigger presentation or answering a creative brief then it’s important to think about which point you introduce the content
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