Prototyping is almost a dark art to some and an amazing journey for others. It’s when your product really takes shape, begins to be seen how it will be seen when the product will be made for real. The prototype phase can take a long time when you really don’t know what you’re doing. We don’t mean to insult anyone, but good ideas can fail in the hands of bad business people. It’s kind of difficult to explain to someone that their idea could work if it wasn’t for how they are conceptualizing it. This is why prototyping is a skill all in itself.
Never skip the pen to the paper stage of the prototype phase. Many companies do not want to outsource this part and they just rely on their own sketches and proportions. But a design company has great artists that can imagine and draw your product in many different ways. They can also render their drawings in the software of the industry, allowing your product to be shaped by hand (hand-drawn) and then converted to a 3D object in a computer. We cannot stress how important this is, so you can merge art and practicality as one and then go onto finer detailing.
Parts and building
Then comes the physical building of your prototype. If your product is going to be made out of metal, then use a company like universalengraving.com that can engrave your product as you wish. Maybe you want your logo lasered onto the metal so it can stand out and perhaps act as the party piece of the design. This is something many smartphone manufacturers and case brands are turning to. It saves the extra work of having to mold and shape metal, instead you can just engrave it into the metal of your choice. Getting all your parts made in a specific way is going to mean you are communicating with a lot of clients who can do things like this, so it’s a good idea to write up a list of potential partnerships in this endeavor.
Manufacturing and on-site first-look
Locating the right kind of manufacturing company is vital. They must know how to work with all kinds of materials, and be efficient. Why be efficient? Well, you want them to not waste raw materials. They might get it wrong a few times and if they burn through materials, you will have fewer examples to take back to your office. Rein in the costs by making sure that you are on-site at the manufacturing plant so you can make adjustments to the product. You should have a list of things you want to try out while on the floor. So consider sending a research and development manager or director to the manufacturer when they are building your product for the first time.
A prototype is the first very real sign that your product is about to take shape. But be careful, you should not skip the small stages like professional sketches and 3D rendering.