An appearance prototype, or appearance model, is a physical representation of an invention or other object that closely simulates the look of a production product. An appearance prototype typically does not function the way a production product would. Instead, moving parts don’t actually move, and production materials are simulated with wood, foam, clay or other prototyping materials.
Appearance prototypes can be relatively simple, consisting of solid chunks of foam finished and painted to look like the real thing, or they can be more sophisticated, simulating weight, balance, and material properties. Usually, appearance prototypes are ‘for show’ and are not handled excessively. They are often paired with proof-of-concept prototypes early in product development programs.
Product QuickStart often provides our clients with appearance prototypes for use in trade shows, focus groups, and internal reviews. These prototypes are often critical components in the design decision-making process.