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Mock design suggestions

Using a mock design can help communications projects run efficiently because everyone can literally see where the project is heading.

Of course, its value depends on the project details so here are some examples of when a mock design is useful:

  • my client AvSuper is going to use new software to produce their annual member statements so I produced a mock statement to show the software developers how we want the final statement to look. This means the software people don’t have to think of a design and I know how content is divided up so can write the content and have it technically and legally checked while the software is being developed.
  • when having an interactive table prepared for another client, I used a mock design to plan the necessary fields with the client and then gave the refined mock to the tech team so they could easily see what was required and give a look consistent with my client’s style
  • my designer prepared a mock window design to show the look and feel her client was after so that the sign writing team had a model to work from. They adjusted the design a little, using their expertise and knowledge of window design, but produced a shop front the clients were happy with without the need for lengthy discussions or costly errors
  • I went to a meeting with a client to discuss updating their website. I took some mock designs with me (based on my knowledge of their style and general communications website concepts) which made it much easier to discuss possible improvements with the client who had limited website knowledge. For instance, one mock showed drop down menus to two levels so I didn’t have to explain that terminology but could show it in their colours.

Has a design mock helped in any specific projects you’ve done? Or maybe now you wish you’d had a design mock for a project? Share your stories and help make projects easier to manage.

Using mocks in projects

banner layouts

Having a mock design can make it much easier to plan content and other elements of a project

Getting a designer to prepare a visual mock early in a communications project will cost money of course, but it can often be well worth the expense. I am lucky in working with a  designer who quickly grasps my intentions so can produce lovely mocks relatively easily. The mocks then form a basis for developing the main project, which often does not even involve my designer. From recent projects, having a mock prepared early in the process has meant:

  • you can put various ideas in one place so details aren’t forgotten or overlooked
  • everyone involved can see what is being discussed. Otherwise, everyone assumes they are imagining the same thing but could actually have some very different ideas of what is being developed.
  • when giving the brief to a supplier, it is easy to ensure they understand how the final version should look and to specify key details. This obviously doesn’t apply to a design-based project but is very helpful for software or construction projects
  • for non-designer suppliers, you can get a much better result if you show them what it is to look like – they can copy the design and save time
  • you can be working on the content and other refinements while the underlying structure is being developed. For example, while the technical people are building the software, I can be working on the content of the user screens as I know where text will go (e.g. a heading and two short sections or one long section)

Before you start a new project and rely on written descriptions and your own rough sketches, think about the potential value of having a mock designed for your planning and briefing processes. Are you a visual person? If so, having a mock to work from is probably much easier for you. If you’re not quite so visual, don’t underestimate how powerful a visual can be for many people and how it can aid communication. Can you remember times when a mock made a project flow better than expected?


* Images courtesy of 123RF