Why mockups are useful for designers?

Clients are always right (more or less)

As graphic designers we have to present, sooner or later, our projects to our clients: we work for them, after all. Sometimes the presentation is easier, sometimes not so much. Anyway, we always have to convince them that our proposal really fits their needs. All requirements are satisfied, the proposal includes everything they asked us in their brief, so they can give us their approval.

Sometimes – well, in most cases – the client is not an expert in graphic design or in communication design. In such cases we have to avoid they start asking us to make changes based on what they like, or don’t like.

a lot of designers usually present their project as “flat design”

Talking about graphic design, a lot of designers usually present their project as “flat design”: a pdf, a jpg, whatever. But they don’t usually put their design into context. Is this the best way to present our proposals to the client? We don’t think so.

As they say, “customer is always right”. Even if we don’t agree with that, we must admit that the final decision is up to the client, anyway.

Sometimes, when we present a proposal, the way we present is more important than what we present. If we prepare and use a good mockup, even a poor design seems nicer than it really is.

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Crazy? Not that much. Obviously, we don’t say that we can design and present projects based on poor ideas, but mockups can really help us to succeed in our presentation to the clients.

Using a mockup our proposal can be more impressive and – most important – our client can better understand the final result.

Using a mockup our proposal can be more impressive

This is exactly why we’d better use mockups when we present our ideas to the client.

Mockups, What’s that?

In manufacturing and design, a mockup, or mock-up, is a scale or full-size model of a design or device, used for teaching, demonstration, design evaluation, promotion, and other purposes. -Definition by Wikipedia.

When we are working on graphic design projects we could need a mockup on different occasions. Think about a web project, for instance: how can we show our client the way the website UI works on different devices and screens? We can show the project on our Mac/pc using the web browser at different widths. Or we can use different devices, for sure. And this is the way to go when we need interaction. But we can show our project using mockups too: they are not interactive tools, but they let the client see how the final UI will be into real context. And – after all – we can use that mockups to show the project in our portfolio too: way better than just showing flat jpg images.

Or think about a packaging project. It’s really difficult to print the project on paper to build a 3d mockup. It’s completely unfeasible is we are talking about glass bottles or something like that.

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Or – just to make a final example – think about printing design projects: we can’t print everything, for sure, just to show the proposal to the client. We can’t print in offset, or digital-offset, but it’s not so easy to print everything with our office inkjet printer too. And what about a 50 x 70 cm poster? Or a magazine? Or a billboard?

In these cases we can use flat design proposals – PDF, for instance – to show the global project, but using mockups can add some advantages since the client better understands the final result.

Why mockups are useful for designers?

Presenting a digital mockup is really the way to go, since in these cases using only a flat design wouldn’t be enough. It’s too much difficult for the client to understand the final result simply looking at a flat graphic file, completely out of context.

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Professional or Nothing.

Some final words. If we want to use a mockup to show our project to the client, we can basically choose between two ways: we can try to design the mockup by ourself, or we can use professional solutions. Trying to design a mockup from scratch is really time consuming. The mockup should add some value to our presentation, not the contrary, so we need time to achieve a professional result and we can’t use shortcuts.

It’s easier – then – if we go with already existing mockups. And we have to choose well designed and professional ones: they will really help with our presentations, adding values and – really important aspect – simplifying and speeding up our work.

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