What is prototype design?

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Turning a new, exciting idea into a tangible product that’s ready for manufacture is no mean feat. The process is a long one, especially with more complex concepts. Not only do you need to see if it’s possible to make it, you need to find out if the manufacturing process is financially viable with existing technologies and components.

The trial and error process of trying out different approaches to making your product is often called prototype design. Here, we look at that process, to see how it can help turn your dream into a reality.

Prototyping defined

Prototype design, otherwise known as prototyping, is the process of experimenting with different technologies and processes, with the aim of turning a concept into a functional end product.

How this works in practice depends on the product. However, in all cases, the product will go through multiple stages of testing, in order to refine the design so that you end up with a perfect product. This will involve quality controls and testing, on specifics such as safety and compliance. 

It can also potentially involve testing out the product with focus groups, to see if your target audience has anything to say on potential improvements.

Why should you prototype?

There are multiple reasons why you should conduct prototyping, from avoiding future issues to developing a clear vision that you can show to stakeholders and potential investors.

It saves money in the long run

Working out as many issues as possible during the prototyping phase is incredibly important, as it ends up being many times cheaper than discovering those issues once the product has already gone to market. Having to recall products that have been sold faulty is costly, both directly and in the damage done to your brand.

Have a solid vision to show investors

While some investors will be happy to fund nothing more than a well-thought-out idea, for most others, you’ll need to show that your product is feasible. Prototyping is a great way of developing material that you can show to both existing stakeholders and potential investors, to help develop further confidence that your concept is practically applicable and has a good chance of being financially viable.

Market research

Prototyping allows you to conduct far more accurate market research than just sending out polls on your idea. You can identify your target audience and then show them the prototype, taking their feedback to identify areas where the product can be developed further. This takes the development process out of a creative vacuum, and allows your idea to come into contact with the real world.

Outsourcing prototyping

Often, the most effective and efficient way of prototyping your design will be to outsource to a manufacturing specialist such as BitBox. They have the expertise from having conducted the prototyping process thousands of times before, as well as the industrial technology to identify if a specific prototype can actually be mass manufactured. 

Both these elements – expertise and manufacturing capabilities – are essential when it comes to prototyping. As a result, it’s highly advisable to outsource your prototyping process.

Interesting Related Article: “How to Go from Idea to Prototype