Over the past couple of years, we as designers have seen an increase in the use ofmockupsWe use them to present work in a realistic context, making our concepts more tangible while also giving viewers an idea of how a final product will appear. Moreover, mockups help a designer understand how their flat designs and brand collateral work together, and are useful in figuring out what designs will work when applied in real-life, as opposed to only viewing the designs while they are flatThis context allows fellow designers to provide accurate constructive criticism, ultimately improving upon your work. 

The expanding library of mockup themes online coupled with the ease of use gives us the flexibility to showcase mockups of almost any product or space, across endless industriesThis tool also gives us the freedom to design without the inflated costs – showing a client how a billboard or storefront signage will look with out actually purchasing the billboard and/or signage is a great money and time saver.

We can say with out a doubt that there will always be a need for mockups. However, the increasingly high quality of mockups has unfortunately led designers to become lazy, stale, and uncreative. All too often, we have seen poor designs hidden behind the veil of a good mockup, with a logo slapped on everything and labeled as “branding.” It seems thatdesigners are so focused on the quality of the mockup, that they do not realize their creativity or the design itself is suffering. This is not more apparent than when a designer constantly recycles the same set of mockups for multiple projects. The end result becomes a template in which shoddy work is plugged in, and this is something no designer or client should settle for.

In an effort to dispel these negative side effects, we’ve come up with a few recommendations. First, if you are using downloadable mockups, try customizing them to help showcase the brand, while presenting your work in a unique way. A way to achieve this is by changing the background image, eliminating items in the foreground, adding in new visuals and changing the lighting. Customizing mockups will make your work standout in the vast pool of overused and mundane design presentations. 

Second, we also recommend creating your very own mock up template in Photoshop. This is an excellent way to further your design skills while also crafting something fresh and newYou can do this by choosing a few objects that relate to the brand you are working with, and photographing them with adequate lighting equipment. Once you get the hang of it, you can jump on the bandwagon of selling your design assets online. Make a little cash on the side and live like a baller. After all, there is nothing wrong with a little side hustle. 

At the end of the day, nothing compares to quality and authenticity. Don’t sacrifice these things for quantity, or a quick turnover time. During the tediousness of what we know as the ‘creative process,’ don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the work. Sure, it can be time-consuming and frustrating, but the end result will be a superior product. And remember, don’t limit yourself – begin experimenting by creating your own mockups, and you will soon realize your capabilities are endless.