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. A mockup is a prototype if it provides at least part of the functionality of a system and enables testing of a design.
Mock-ups are used by designers mainly to acquire feedback from users. Mock-ups address the idea captured in a popular engineering one-liner: You can fix it now on the drafting board with an eraser or you can fix it later on the construction site with a sledge hammer.
Mockups are used as design tools virtually everywhere a new product is designed.
Mockups are used in the automotive device industry as part of the product development process, where dimensions, overall impression, and shapes are tested in a wind tunnel experiment. They can also be used to test consumer reaction.
Mockups are used in the consumer goods industry as part of the product development process, where dimensions, human factors, overall impression, and commercial art are tested in marketing research.
Mockups are commonly required by designers, architects, and end users for custom furniture and cabinetry.
The intention is often to produce a full-sized replica, using inexpensive materials in order to verify a design. Mockups are often used to determine the proportions of the piece, relating to various dimensions of the piece itself, or to fit the piece into a specific space or room.
The ability to see how the design of the piece relates to the rest of the space is also an important factor in determining size and design.
When designing a functional piece of furniture, such as a desk or table, mockups can be used to test whether they suit typical human shapes and sizes. Designs that fail to consider these issues may not be practical to use.
Mockups can also be used to test color, finish, and design details which cannot be visualized from the initial drawings and sketches. Mockups used for this purpose can be on a reduced scale.
At the beginning of a project's construction, architects will often direct contractors to provide material mockups for review. These allow the design team to review material and color selections, and make modifications before product orders are placed.
Architectural mockups can also be used for performance testing (such as water penetration at window installations, for example) and help inform the subcontractors how details are to be installed.