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Design & Prototyping

How to successfully pitch & present ideas using design prototypes

Posted 1 month ago by Nahla Davies
How to successfully pitch & present ideas using design prototypes

In a world filled with problems that need solving and with SAAS applications making the design more accessible, creating something new to solve these problems is an opportunity open to more people than before. This can make it difficult to stand out and gain attention from investors and consumers alike. Fortunately, this is where creating a prototype can help; prototyping allows you to present ideas in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand.

Prototypes are also great for early-stage user testing products or ideas, enabling you to collect crucial data to test the user experience (UX) by analysing how users are using your product. Testing provides you with the opportunity to optimise it for the user’s individual experience, before proceeding to the more costly development stage.

Countless brilliant ideas have failed because they couldn’t cut through the noise. Engaging and selling an idea creatively is paramount for survival. Here’s how to make a successful, unique pitch that stands out from the crowd and strikes gold with investors and future clientele.

Gather data from your prototype

Creating a prototype can be daunting, time-consuming, and stressful. Compare this to the process of building a house; architects and designers will spend months developing their designs and bringing their ideas to life before a single brick is laid. It should be the same for any type of product as well, investing time into developing a prototype will always save time, energy, and money in the long run.

Prototypes also offer valuable insight into how the product works, allow innovators to dive deep into their ideas, identify any usability issues or design flaws before it’s too late, and helps the creator make informed designs moving forward.

A working prototype can also be used to compare multiple versions of the same product to gain insight into which one is more popular and preferred amongst users. User testing encompasses various ways of data collection that can later be used to direct marketing campaigns, create ads, and generate leads. Collecting this data is vitally important, as 89% of professionals agree that improved data collection skills will likewise help to improve the success of their products.

There are many ways to make the process easier and cheaper. In the case of digital goods, the prototype build is more simple to make than the final product. Much of the complex coding that will go into an app, for example, is simply not present at this stage. The same goes for physical items, because thanks to 3D printing, the process is now far more streamlined.

Finally, usability testing lets you see how the product is being used. Usability testing is key in defining the final UX and can uncover a majority of usability problems. Getting the product right is just as important as getting the investors on board.

Understand your audience

A pitch meeting is your chance to showcase your prototype to investors. You have to be clear, innovative, confident, and knowledgeable about your work. A bad or insufficiently prepared presentation can put the entire endeavour at risk of failing.

Understanding the audience you are pitching to and preparing accordingly is a major part of the battle. By figuring out what their struggles, goals, and pet peeves are, you can select the right way to deliver your idea. Targeted language and the right attitude are some of your strongest weapons.

Learning how to persuade your audience is perhaps the most invaluable skill to learn here. Studying rhetoric strategies and mastering the art of persuasive speaking will help keep your audience compelled, make them feel understood, and make it clear to them that they need your idea or product to solve the pain point that you’re focusing on.

But learning how to persuade is only the first step. Every day, investors and producers are exposed to numerous ideas and startups that are fighting for their attention and funding. Case in point, trading app Robinhood quickly wooed early investors in the crowded stock brokerage space by pitching a simple, millennial-friendly design.

Standing out and cutting through the noise is the only way you will be heard and remembered. A good mission statement is a way to get noticed but to truly garner interest, your vision must come to life in front of them using visuals.

Use visual aids to show rather than tell

Visually presenting the idea is a sure way to make your pitch as memorable as possible. Visual imagery such as videos, presentations, sketching, and graphic design have immense power to bring a story to life. Using visual stories can trigger emotions and it’s these feelings that compel us to take action, whether that’s purchasing a product or investing in an idea.

One level up from visual aids is having a working prototype. It’s tempting not to invest your own time, money, and energy into building and designing a prototype when pitching. But the truth is that patiently waiting to have an actual prototype before you pitch to investors or an audience could pay dividends because it would naturally be easier to persuade with a working product.

Set up a website to showcase your prototype

Many innovators and creators will present their pitches and prototypes online, with the hope of attracting potential investors, collaborators, and buyers that they otherwise couldn’t if pitching in-person. You would be wise to invest in creating a website specially tailored to your new product so you can showcase its prototype to visitors.

When designing a website or a portfolio for your ideas and products, it’s useful to remember that the site will serve as the online ‘face’ of your creation. This is why having a background of knowledge in regards to web design theory is an important step in building a new website to create a professional online portfolio that entices potential investors into believing in the development of your idea.

But even if you’re not very knowledgeable about web design, the good news is that building a new website to pitch your product today is easier than it ever has been, and may not even require you to hire the services of a professional. Reputable website builders such as Wix or Squarespace come with hundreds of modern templates that you can choose from to have your online portfolio of products and prototypes up in mere minutes.


Everything you create can be considered a prototype. Ideas that you bring to life will present a constant stream of development opportunities and highlight many usability issues that you may not have identified if you didn’t create the prototype in the first place.

Being open to constant testing and improvement is essential in perfecting a prototype and can dramatically increase your chances of achieving financial success when pitching and presenting your ideas and products.

Further reading:

Design and prototyping for everyone

Design and prototyping for everyone

Thousands of individuals and teams use Marvel to design and prototype ideas.

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Software developer and tech writer. Previously a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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