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Design for Prototyping

Prototyping design for a grey backpack

Our Design for Prototyping service seamlessly blends innovation with precision. Our team, renowned for their technical expertise and approachable manner, is dedicated to transforming your vision into a tangible prototype, carefully considering every aspect of the project and user experience.

Our Process

Conceptualisation and Virtual Modelling

The prototype design journey at D2M begins with a deep dive into the evolution of your concept. Recognising that your idea may have transformed based on feedback from market insights or proof of principle prototypes, our initial step involves collating all this input. This ensures that the design for the prototype is fully informed and incorporates every piece of valuable feedback. In close collaboration with you, our team adeptly transforms your refined concept into a detailed virtual model or technical drawing, laying the groundwork for the prototyping process.

For hard goods, our approach involves cutting-edge CAD software, enabling us to create an intricate 3D representation of your product. This process is adept at handling various materials, including metals, plastics, and wood, ensuring versatility and precision in our modelling.

On the textile front, our focus shifts to detailed material research and sourcing, often procuring fabric samples to confirm your satisfaction with the chosen materials. We then employ advanced technical drawing techniques to plan the construction in 2D before bringing it to life in 3D.

For intricate textile products such as advanced hiking bags, the design for the prototype stage serves as a critical checkpoint. Here, we assess overall construction, material selection, and dimensions to avoid costly mistakes, such as selecting expensive fabrics or creating a product that doesn’t fit the user as intended. We leverage anthropometric data to ensure ergonomic design for the target user, detailing each panel to evaluate features like pockets and the most efficient assembly order. Our goal drives this conscientious planning to create prototypes that are high in quality and mindful of scalability and manufacturing costs.

By the conclusion of this phase, we ensure that your prototype design not only visually aligns with your concept but also intricately embodies all functional and aesthetic nuances. This thorough preparation sets a solid and informed foundation for the following prototyping stages.

Moving beyond the initial digital design, we enter the pivotal refinement and client collaboration phase. This stage is crucial in tailoring the prototype to align precisely with your needs. We engage in an exhaustive review process, working closely with you to incorporate your insightful feedback directly into the evolving design.

During this phase, we evaluate and refine various design aspects, including ergonomics, material selections, and aesthetic nuances. For textile products, if a fabric sample requires more elasticity, we diligently seek an alternative that better suits the needs. Sometimes, we even create paper templates of bags to check their scale against the human body or test the efficacy of sourced components, such as ensuring magnetic fastenings can support the intended weight. Our commitment is to striking the perfect balance between a product’s visual appeal and its practical functionality, always keeping an eye on both innovative design and manufacturing feasibility.

This step is instrumental in honing the prototype design, guaranteeing that it resonates with your vision and is primed for functionality and manufacturability. Our collaborative and iterative process ensures that every prototype emerges as a refined embodiment of the client’s vision and practical design excellence.

In this final stage of our process, we focus on the methods and materials that will be used for making your prototype. We might need to reinforce certain areas due to the inherently weaker rapid prototyping materials. Equally this phase might involve reviewing soft tooling options and stimulant material to replicate what’s possible in injection moulding. This is one of the reason that we only employ senior, highly experienced product designers on our team. Years of prototyping experience will be levered to find the most economic way of producing a functional and/or aesthetic prototype that fits with your overall development budget.

Precision and Accuracy

At D2M, our Design for Prototyping service is synonymous with exceptional precision and accuracy, crucial for turning groundbreaking ideas into market-ready products. By leveraging advanced CAD and digital design technologies, we create CAD models and technical drawings that capture every nuance of your product with exact detail. This approach goes beyond mere visual replication; it encompasses your product’s functional and structural aspects, enabling us to identify and resolve potential design challenges preemptively.

For example, in the WHI Safeguard safety light project, this precision played a crucial role in determining the sizes of electronic components and ensuring the product’s ergonomic viability for practical scenarios like light dissipation from the lens. The precision of these virtual models is vital in facilitating a smooth and efficient transition to physical prototyping, thereby minimising the risk of costly modifications later in the process. Ultimately, our commitment to precision and accuracy ensures that the final product meets and exceeds your expectations, aligning seamlessly with aesthetic and functional goals.

Prototype design modifications for Cozy Glow Lights

Enhanced Design Collaboration

Collaboration sits at the heart of our prototyping process at D2M. The most compelling designs are born from a harmonious blend of our technical expertise and your unique vision. Throughout the development journey but particularly within this stage, we prioritise open and continuous communication with you, integrating your feedback and ideas into every design stage. This collaborative approach allows us to tailor the prototype to your specific requirements and aspirations, culminating in a product that embodies your vision.

Our team combines vast experience with innovative thinking, often leading to groundbreaking solutions and design enhancements that arise from this collaborative dynamic. This cooperative methodology ensures that the final prototype validates your concept and enriches it. By fostering a creative and synergistic environment, D2M nurtures innovation, resulting in prototypes that meet and often surpass client expectations and requirements. Our prototypes are thus bespoke creations, thoughtfully conceived and crafted to navigate your product’s unique challenges and opportunities.

Designing for prototyping CAD drawings

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Cost-Effective and Efficient Development

Opting for D2M’s Design for Prototyping service brings substantial cost advantages and enhances efficiency in the product development lifecycle. Our strategic use of virtual prototyping allows us to proactively pinpoint and address potential design and manufacturing challenges, avoiding costly later-stage alterations. We can anticipate issues related to structure, fit, and assembly sequence through meticulous planning, such as using digital design for textile construction. This proactive approach significantly reduces unnecessary expenditure and accelerates the product’s journey to market readiness.

Our proficiency extends to optimising the prototype for manufacturability. Striking a balance between captivating design and practical production considerations is vital for producing a product that is as commercially viable as it is aesthetically appealing. By addressing these factors early on, we ensure a streamlined path from prototype to production, diminishing the likelihood of costly delays and delivering a product that is as marketable as it is feasible to manufacture.

Prototyping design for a grey backpack


What is a prototype in design?

A prototype in design is a preliminary product model that allows designers and stakeholders to visualise, interact with, and test the product’s features and functionality. It’s an essential step in the design process to experiment with ideas and identify potential improvements before final production.

Design for prototype in product development refers to the design stage, which draws up all the updated design, considering its features, scale and material palette before making it in 3D. It can include, on the hard goods side, creating a working model of a product in CAD to evaluate its design, functionality, and feasibility. It is a critical phase where concepts are transformed into tangible forms for further refinement and validation.

Design for prototype is vital for product success. It enables designers to test and refine the product’s functionalities, identify and fix design flaws, gather your feedback, and ensure the product’s design meets its intended purpose in 2D/virtually before progressing to make it in 3D. Doing this stage first helps reduce the risk of prototype failure. It enhances the progress and development achieved in the next round of prototyping, contributing to a more efficient project overall.

Design for prototype aids in cost estimation by providing a realistic view of the product, allowing for evaluating materials, manufacturing processes, and complexities involved. The CAD models created on the hard goods side can be used to source estimates and quotes for the prototyping stage. Therefore, it helps identify potential cost-saving opportunities, streamline production processes, and minimise the need for expensive changes during later stages of product development.

Design for prototype aids in cost estimation by providing a realistic view of the product, allowing for evaluating materials, manufacturing processes, and complexities involved. The CAD models created on the hard goods side can be used to source estimates and quotes for the prototyping stage. Therefore, it helps identify potential cost-saving opportunities, streamline production processes, and minimise the need for expensive changes during later stages of product development.

Overview of Design for Prototyping

At D2M, our Design for Prototyping service is intricately designed to develop your innovative ideas into commercially viable products and this stage specifically transforms the concept into a detailed design ready for prototyping. This service considers the entirety of the product, from its diverse material composition to its overall functionality. We consider each aspect of your product’s construction using the precision of CAD modelling and detailed research. This careful planning significantly reduces risk, ensuring that when your concept materialises into a 3D prototype for the first time, it encapsulates your vision and adeptly meets the essential criteria for practical manufacturing and market applicability. The detailed document and accompanying CAD files serve as the definitive guide for the designer in creating the prototype whilst also giving you the opportunity to confirm all the poignant details before we start physical prototyping.

For hard goods products, our method involves the creation of detailed virtual models using state-of-the-art CAD software. This crucial phase is fundamental in perfecting hard goods designs, enabling us to hone the prototype through rigorous in-house testing and your feedback and input before physical prototyping. Our work on a versatile safety light, ingeniously designed to attach to various structures and traffic cones, is an example to this thorough approach. In this project we used this stage to consider details such as: secure battery compartment design; waterproofing through off the shelf seals; secure attachment to a variety of structures and robust design details for a long life product.

In textile prototyping, our expertise at D2M is showcased through the proficient use of Adobe software to create detailed technical drawings and accurately scaled dimensions given our knowledge of material performance and production techniques. This crucial phase is pivotal as it lays the groundwork for constructing each component and strategising the assembly sequence of the prototype. We delve deep into material research and sourcing, selecting fabrics and components that align with your prototype’s requirements. This precision in selection is paramount to avoid the time-consuming and potentially fabric-damaging process of unpicking and reassembling, which can compromise the quality of the finished prototype. Therefore, this phase is instrumental in mitigating risks, ensuring the assembly process is streamlined and efficient, and avoiding any last-minute issues that could result in the need to prototype elements again unnecessarily.

Our commitment to quality is unwavering as we endeavour to elevate each prototype to the highest standard of craftsmanship appropriate to the project’ current development stage. This attention to detail is critical, as each prototype serves a multifaceted role in demonstrations, investor pitches, and market research.

At D2M, our prototyping service extends far beyond creating a 3D model. We engage in a comprehensive journey with your product, guiding it from conception to market debut. Our team of experts is dedicated to ensuring that each prototype is not just a representation of your idea but a viable, manufacturable product that harmonises with your brand’s ethos and meets the rigorous demands of the market. This thoughtful approach to design and prototyping allows us to collaborate closely with you, crafting a design that encapsulates your vision.

We take a minimum viable product approach and we also strongly adhere to “form follows function”.

The embodiment of our service’s efficacy is illustrated in our collaboration with WHI Safeguard, where we developed an adaptable safety light (we mentioned this earlier). Leveraging professional-grade CAD software, we constructed a virtual model that allowed for comprehensive examination and adjustment of the product. This intricate process included critical considerations such as the size of electronic components, ease of use and compliance to standards.

A vital aspect of this project was the phase of client collaboration. Presenting the virtual model for client feedback was a crucial step that led to substantive enhancements, including enlarging operational buttons for ease of use by gloved hands and reinforcing the stability with additional bolt attachments. These improvements, which are more feasible and economical at this juncture, significantly augmented the product’s practicality and user experience.

As we progressed to the physical prototyping stage, the safety light had already benefited from extensive virtual refinement. This efficient progression from virtual to physical prototyping ensured that the client’s investment yielded a well-conceived and iteratively refined product, reflecting both practical considerations and client input.

This case study exemplifies our unwavering dedication to detail, collaborative development, and innovative solutions in prototype design. Each project at D2M is a journey towards optimisation, from virtual modelling to the tangible reality of physical prototypes.

From idea

to successful


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