The importance of prototyping


Prototyping has become a very broad term. Prototypes come in a wide variety of forms, serve a wide variety of purposes, and can be made in a wide variety of ways. In our world, it doesn’t make sense to restrict ourselves to simply thinking about how we’d interact with a product. Whether it’s physical, digital, or experience-based, we define a prototype simply as an early model built to test a concept. At various stages throughout the design process, it’s vital to produce a model representation to learn from and create a more informed end product.

Long before production commitment, prototypes provide the opportunity to interact with a product to ensure optimal user experience and well-executed design detail. Examining preliminary design details in a more real-life form allows weaknesses to be identified, increases project efficiency, and helps deliver better end results.

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Physical Prototypes

Proof-of-Concept

Often in the form of hand-shaped foam or 3D printed components, a proof of concept is usually the earliest form of prototype and serves to help us test ergonomics and mechanical concepts. Proofs-of-concept can be quite crude and may look nothing like the envisioned product but they’re usually the most informative of all prototypes.

Appearance Prototypes

Appearance prototypes look as good as what you’ll get from a full production run. While you might want to keep proofs-of-concept away from your marketing team, our appearance prototypes will wow them. These prototypes are ideal for early consumer testing and marketing campaign development. Many of our startup clients also use them to help secure investor buy-in and launch crowdfunding campaigns. Our appearance prototyping process uses technologies like CNC machining, plastic and metal 3D printing, thermoforms and SLA.

Functional prototypes

Functional prototypes are the closest you can get to a production product without going into production. They allow for design validation and to point out any areas for improvement before factories move forward with tooling. Like appearance prototypes, functional units are often hand-made and refined and can be very difficult to execute properly. Our combination of in-house prototyping capabilities and long term partnerships help us deliver beautifully made functional prototypes time after time.

Proof-of-Concept

Often in the form of hand-shaped foam or 3D printed components, a proof of concept is usually the earliest form of prototype and serves to help us test ergonomics and mechanical concepts. Proofs-of-concept can be quite crude and may look nothing like the envisioned product but they’re usually the most informative of all prototypes.

Appearance Prototypes

Appearance prototypes look as good as what you’ll get from a full production run. While you might want to keep proofs-of-concept away from your marketing team, our appearance prototypes will wow them. These prototypes are ideal for early consumer testing and marketing campaign development. Many of our startup clients also use them to help secure investor buy-in and launch crowdfunding campaigns. Our appearance prototyping process uses technologies like CNC machining, plastic and metal 3D printing, thermoforms and SLA.

white breadblox faraday prototype

Functional prototypes

Functional prototypes are the closest you can get to a production product without going into production. They allow for design validation and to point out any areas for improvement before factories move forward with tooling. Like appearance prototypes, functional units are often hand-made and refined and can be very difficult to execute properly. Our combination of in-house prototyping capabilities and long term partnerships help us deliver beautifully made functional prototypes time after time.

Low Volume Production


Rather than going from prototype to mass production, many brands are now using low volume production as a means of getting dozens to hundreds of units prior to full-scale tooling and production. Often, these low volume production units help support influencer marketing campaigns or consumer testing. To keep costs down while ending up with a result that’s as close to mass production as possible, we often use limited-lifespan silicone or aluminum tools.

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