Mockups, much more than mere sketches
Article for online trends magazine TheTrendNet
At this stage you all probably know what a mockup is. The aim of this post, then, is to highlight some of the best available resources for making prototypes that allow you to present your ideas in the best possible light, as though they were the real thing. A mockup is something similar to an empty slate on which the designer can precisely simulate the way in which their design would appear when applied to an object, be it a card, paper, posters, bottles, a website, a mobile device, and an infinite etcetera.
Above all, mockups are useful for testing designs and their functionality, for finding better ways of distributing individual tasks, and, of course, as a means of not leaving the visual aspects of the proposal to the customer’s imagination. We are all aware that this may work against us.
We may also use mockups as a means of confining to our portfolio those projects that were never completed and remain confined to a few files, or to improve on projects that simply didn’t turn out the way we had hoped.
It is true that here are an infinite number of resources on the web, some of which are free, such as SDMD, the design package produced in Vietnam. We recommend, however, that you take a look at the Behance website, and other resources mentioned in the PSDDD site.
While the giant Graphic River company offers some very recommendable resources for a fee, we would highlight those offered by Live Surface, a company founded in 2006 by designer Joshua Distler, who was previously employed by Apple to create packaging and is currently focused on the launch of Context, a step forward in static mockups that allows the user to work in 3D with all the customising options that this medium provides.
Of course, the fact that you are reading this article means that you are aware of other applications that may serve to make our lives easier and, as always, we would love you to share them with us. As Wikipedia says, mockups are a reflection of the popular saying in engineering circles that says, to paraphrase, if you can use a rubber during the design phase to fix something in a sketch, it’s better than having to fix it later with a hammer during the construction. We all know what this means when applied to the design world, right?